A good resourse for preparing to bring your gliders home.
What you need to get started:
The initial expense of your first sugar gliders is something you should be prepared for up front. The price of your new gliders is only a portion of the actual expense. These are exotic animals, and so require specialized supplies and housing. Not to mention their unique diet needs. I have a general guide of some of the items you'll need to purchase in preparation of bringing your sugar gliders home. Please prepare ahead of time and get what you need before your new baby comes home!
Large Cage Having a cage that is secure, safe, easy to clean, and spacious enough for your gliders is a must. The minimum recommended cage size is 24'W x 24'L x 36"H. The bigger the cage, typically the better, but do keep in mind that it will also be important to be able to easily reach all the areas of the cage for cleaning or reaching a glider. We use HQ Brisbane cages, also called HQ Flight Aviary cages here. They have plenty of room for your gliders to roam, they're easy to clean, sturdy and powder coated so they really hold up well and last. There are several online retailers that have these available for very reasonable prices. These cages can also be double stacked if you would like to add more gliders to your household without adding additional space. If you'd like an even larger environment, Double Critter Nation cages are another excellent choice you can also find online. Travel Cage You will need to have a travel cage that can be moved easily. This will be important for traveling with your gliders and especially important to have around for emergencies. It can double as a carrier cage for trips to the vet as well as a quarantine cage. Please remember that it is not safe to drive with your gliders in a pouch on your body should you get into an accident. Keep them safe and secure by having them in a travel cage. Approved Diet Their are many approved diets to choose from and each of these require specific ingredients and may need specific items to prepare them such as a blender, ice cube trays, and freezer or storage containers. Please do your research as diets can be a much debated area of glider care. It is now standard consensus that a pelleted diet alone is not suitable for a captive gliders main diet ingredient. A good glider diet will have a protein component (usually a liquid) along with an assortment of fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables with a calcium:phosphorus ratio of 1.5-2:1. A diet high in phosphorus can lead to hypocalcemia which can cause metabolic bone disease and a host of other health issues. We feed all our gliders here the OHPW diet. To help you choose a diet that works for you, take a look at a list of several diets with recipes here: http://sugarglider.info/staple-diets Bonding Pouch A bonding pouch is used to carry your gliders on yourself securely. Many are zippered and have mesh windows. If you are outside with your glider PLEASE have them in a closed bonding pouch! It is too easy for a startled glider to get away from you and get lost. No matter how bonded to you your gliders may be it will never be worth the risk. Many vendors make these pouches safely and there are lots of styles to choose from. Cage sets Cage sets are typically made from fleece and designed to be comfortable and safe for your glider to play on as well as sleep in. They typically include a pouch (or two), a bridge, vine, and hammocks. They can be found in many different styles and pieces at several online retailers, through Facebook groups and if you're crafty, there are quite a few "no sew" versions you can make, or you can sew your own. Be sure to check sets frequently for damage like holes or loose thread that could injure your glider. You should ideally have at least two of these sets per cage. One can be placed back in the cage while the other is in the wash or being repaired/replaced. Use an unscented hypoallergenic detergent to wash and avoid placing your fleece in the drier, instead lay each piece out flat to dry. Wheel There are several options for glider safe wheels. You will be amazed at the acrobatics these critters can perform on a wheel. I think I get as much enjoyment watching them run as they are obviously getting as well. A few things to keep in mind regarding wheels - Gliders don't just run on a wheel, they hop and leap, they run on the outside as well as the inside! Pet store small animal wheels are not suitable. The Wodent Wheel is not suitable for gliders. There have been serious injuries to gliders in the past caused by these wheels. Your gliders will thank you for investing in a proper wheel up front, I promise! A few of the recommended brands are listed here. The Titan is my personal favorite, they also have treadmills available that the gliders enjoy as well. Each of our cages here includes a wheel and a treadmill for plenty of options.
Glider toys Many things can be used for gliders to play with including some children's toys. Fisher Price toys made for toddlers are great interactive toys as well as some cat and parrot toys. A warning about cat toys: DO NOT purchase anything that has been or could possibly have been in contact with catnip as this is highly toxic for gliders. Please use your best judgement when buying toys for your gliders and when in doubt ask! Many vendors also make glider toys that are guaranteed to be safe. I recommend getting a variety of toys, including foraging toys (you hide treats and food in these), and re-set toys (meant to be destroyed and put back together). The more enrichment you can give them the better and don't forget to swap toys out often for variety! Exotic Vet A vet experienced and knowledgable about sugar gliders is a must. Do not assume your local and wonderful vet that has cared for your dogs for years will suffice. You will more than likely be wrong. Gliders are marsupials and require a veterinarian that is going to be able to correctly diagnose and treat them. Also keep in mind that when emergencies happen it is usually at night when most clinics are closed. For this reason it is important to also be aware of where your closest emergency vet clinic that treats sugar gliders is located. An emergency vet fund is important as exotics can often be costly to treat. Regular vet care for sugar gliders typically includes a yearly wellness exam and twice yearly fecal tests. If you need help locating a suitable veterinarian, please let me know and I'll be happy to help! .Dishes, water bottles, and glider kitchens Glider safe feeding dishes are usually separated with place's for the liquid component and the fruits and veggies. Many people use "glider kitchens" to keep the mess contained. Gliders can be very messy eaters! Kitchens are usually made from the plastic igloo shaped small animal hides or plastic Tupperware containers with a glider sized hole cut out of them. Treats Treats can consist of so many things but some good one's to have on hand include meal-worms (live are an absolute favorite!), pine nuts, yogies (tiny yogurt drops), *baby food, *yogurt, *pure maple syrup, and freeze dried fruit and vegetables just to name a few. * These are "licky" treats. Just dip your finger in them and let your gliders lick them clean. Don't forget to re-load in time! pop-up tent Perfect for playtime the most commonly used brands are the Genji and the Sansbug. These tents pop open in 3 seconds and fold up neatly in just a couple minutes. Tent time allows you to play with your glider in a secured area. Toys can be hung from the top of these tents and others can be placed on the floor. Pop it open, deck it out, and let the fun begin!
The following are other items I highly recommend having on hand:
A gram scale -used to keep track of your gliders weight (essential for a breeders tool-kit). Often times one of the first indicators something may be wrong is an unusual change in weight. It is recommended you weigh your glider weekly at home.
A glider emergency kit -just like we should have first aid kits on hand for ourselves it is also important to have one on stand-by for our suggies. You never can predict an emergency and having a well stocked kit can mean the difference of life and death for your glider. If you do not have a kit please consider putting one together.
A glider e-collar and several size e-jackets -a good thing to have regardless of if you have an emergency kit or not. These can be invaluable at keeping a glider from self mutilating and causing more damage to themselves.
For breeders it is also a good idea to have a joey rejection kit on hand as well. This can happen at any time and it is best to prepare in advance.