The exotic sugar glider

The cuter, mini-version of a possum

The sugar glider can actually “glide” for reasonably long distances, some of 
which have measured at over 150 feet!

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The sugar glider can actually “glide” for reasonably long distances, some of which have measured at over 150 feet!

Tori Valby, Staff Writer

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After looking through Instagram for a while, a nightly routine, I came across a video of an individual holding what looked like a little ball of fur with a tail. I had never seen anything so small and cute, sleeping in the palm of someone’s hand. Upon reading the caption, I found out that it was a sugar glider. I had always heard about these extremely tiny yet adorable creatures and finally decided to see what it truly was. So, as I am sure you are also very curious, here are few basic things to know about this exotic animal.

Sugar-gliders are small, omnivorous, nocturnal mini-versions of possums. It is commonly referred to as the “sugar glider” due to their diet being primarily made up of sugary foods such as tree sap or nectar and for its ability to glide through the air. They are endemic to parts of Australia and New Guinea. Their physical appearance and behaviors are similar to that of a flying squirrel, but I must say that squirrels just creep me out a little bit. The scientific name for sugar-gliders is Petaurus breviceps, translating back as “short-headed rope-dancer.” They usually range from about 5-6 inches in length and weigh only 4-6 ounces!

And where can you purchase one of these amazing little possums? Well, the answer is not very many places. As these cute little animals are not necessarily from around here, their exoticness still somewhat defines them. PetSmart unfortunately does not carry them and neither does Pet Supermarket. So, in order to obtain one, you would have to purchase it from a private breeder in your area. I’m not sure how that works, or how reliable that may be, but it seems to be the best and only option available right now. While Petco sells sugar glider food, there are no actual sugar gliders for sale. Many websites come up on Google if you search “where to buy a sugar glider,” but the reliability still remains a topic of interest.

As for cost, while your average hamster or gerbil costs anywhere between $4-$13, the sugar glider can cost up to $500! The babies are the most expensive, as they appear much cuter than the average adult sugar glider, which costs about $125. However, the time you must spend with the sugar glider will be your biggest expense. Sugar gliders often require must attention with their owners, as they love being held for hours on end. If you don’t hold them for an extended amount of time each day, they actually begin to experience separation anxiety. While their normal life span is between 12-15 years, if deprived from social interaction for a long enough period of time, they will actually die from depression.

Though they are hard to find, the best things usually are. Their big eyes and soft, furry bodies capture your heart and their loving attachment to you is undeniably heartwarming. If you have ever wanted an extremely tiny pet that glides through the air, try a sugar glider.

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