Introducing sugar gliders can be extremely simple
in some cases, but it can also be a long, slow, and stressful process.
There are a few important things to consider when introducing new sugar
- Intact males that are mature will usually not get along. Males are
territorial, and will fight for dominance of their “territory”. Often
times brothers, or males that have been introduced during adolescence
will be able to be housed together. Sugar gliders use scent to mark
their territory, intact males living together will attempt to out scent
the other male, resulting in an musky odors no matter how much cage
cleaning you do. It is not a 100% guarantee that intact males introduced
at a young age will continue to get a long after sexual maturity.
Neutering one or both males may be necessary, and should be prepared
- Introducing young gliders is easier than introducing older sugar
gliders. Older sugar gliders generally have accepted their “colony”
situation, even if they have been housed alone.
- Never introduce an adult male to an adolescent female. Adult males may
attempt to breed her if she is ready or not. This can result in severe
injury of the female or even kill her.
- Sugar gliders of the same age and same size are the most successful
introductions. Female to female pairings are good, and male to female
pairings are best. If you do not want joeys, neuter the male.
- If you are intending to breed, be weary of trio or colony situation.
Often times these result in baby stealing, cannibalization, rejected
babies, and injuries. Sometimes they will work out, other times they
don’t. Breeding is best done in pairs to avoid unnecessary stress and
- Avoid introducing a new glider to a breeding pair or colony. Colonies
are sensitive structures. Introducing a new glider to an established
pair is dangerous for all sugar gliders and joeys involved.
- Avoid introducing a female with joeys in pouch to a new male. The new
male will be able to sense they are not his in most cases, and destroy
- If you are placing a new male with a female that has been with a
different male, put the female in a cage by herself for at least a week.
Be sure the cage is clean, toys, and pouches are clean. This will allow
the other male's scent diminish off of her.
- New sugar gliders should always be quarantined before beginning
introductions to your current sugar gliders. Sugar gliders are prone to
stress. Even if the sugar glider was healthy when it left the previous
owner/breeder, stress lowers their immune system and can make them more
susceptible to illness.
How to introduce sugar gliders:
Introduce sugar gliders in a neutral territory where you have
control. A bathroom that has been glider proofed or small tent works
great. Be prepared to break up a fight if necessary by having a towel or
small blanket on hand. Should a fight incur, toss the blanket on them
and gently remove one of the sugar gliders from the situation. If a
fight broke out, this means you will have to take the introduction
slower.Place the sugar gliders cages where they can see and hear each other.
Be sure they are not too close that one sugar glider can grab the tail
of the other glider. Often times it is recommended to have at least 1
food of clearance between the cages.
Sugar gliders are scent oriented. Trade pouches, toys, and even cages
with the gliders you are trying to introduce. Placing peppermint or
vanilla on the sugar gliders to give them the same scent before
introducing them may be beneficial. After about a week or so, try again
to reintroduce them on neutral territory.
Don’t overwhelm the cages with toys. You want the sugar gliders to be
curious about the “guy next door”.
If introductions fail the first time around, try again. Each sugar
glider is different, and may take a bit longer to accept it’s new
friend. In extreme, and rare cases it may take a full month or more to
get the sugar gliders to accept each other.
Tips for newly introduced sugar gliders:
Place the sugar gliders in the same cage for the first time in the
morning. This way you will be awake and alert to break-up any possible
- Don’t overwhelm the cage with toys. You want to watch them interact
with each other. Add toys as time goes on, and you are sure they have
accepted each other.
- Tiny spats are normal in the beginning. This is how sugar glider
decide their “place” within to colony. However, should the sugar gliders
“ball-up” one must be removed and slower introductions must be
- Be sure to offer more than one sleeping place the first few weeks.
- Offer more than one feeding station at least 2-3 days, or until you
are sure they are letting each other eat.