When it comes to owning pets, people who live in cities are at a disadvantage. If you’re lucky enough to find a place that allows dogs, it will probably be expensive. Cats can be a cuddly company, but litter boxes tend to stink up a room. How about something a little more exotic, but still apartment-friendly? Why not…let’s say, a sugar glider? What’s that you say? You don’t know what a sugar glider is? Essentially, sugar gliders (also known as sugar bears) are gliding possums originally from Australia. Gliding possums are similar to flying squirrels. They’re extremely tiny creatures with long tails, adorable bug eyes, and wing-like flaps.
Some people are delighted by the thought of coming home, plopping down on the couch, and having a tiny critter glide down from the rafters and rest on their shoulders. They’re not legal in every state; however, for the states that do allow them, sugar gliders are surprisingly becoming very popular. But how well do these pocket-sized marsupials fare outside of their natural habitat? Through no fault of her own, my sister went through TWO sugar gliders in a matter of months. We concluded that these animals belong in the forests of Australia, not within our tiny apartments. Here is a list of the top five reasons why sugar gliders DO NOT make good pets:
They Are Expensive
As with any pet, there is an initial investment that must be made. When it comes to sugar gliders, that investment can range from $200-$700, depending on where you purchase your pet and whether or not you get supplies included. That’s just for the animal itself! Once you factor in the cost of a cage (which should be at least 3 times the size of your glider), food, toys, and vet bills, the price tag starts to look pretty hefty.
They Suffer From A Variety of Medical Issues.
While sugar gliders are relatively hardy animals, they are still susceptible to a variety of health problems. The most common issues include parasites, respiratory infections, and diabetes. Sugar gliders are also prone to developing tumors. Because of their small size, even a minor health problem can quickly become life-threatening.
They Have A Short Lifespan
The average lifespan of a sugar glider is 5-8 years, which is much shorter than other common household pets such as dogs and cats. This means that you will likely experience the death of your pet while you are still relatively young. While the death of any pet is sad, it can be especially difficult for children to deal with the loss of a sugar glider.
They Are Nocturnal
One of the things that make sugar gliders so adorable is their big, bug eyes. Unfortunately, those same eyes make it difficult for them to see during the day. This means that they are most active at night, which can be disruptive if you are trying to sleep! If you have a job that requires you to wake up early in the morning, you may never get to spend any time with your pet during the daytime hours.
They Require A Lot Of Care
Sugar gliders are very high-maintenance pets. They require a special diet of fruits, vegetables, insects, and live prey. They also need to be given ample time to exercise and play. If you are not prepared to commit to taking care of your sugar glider’s every need, then this is not the pet for you.
They Are Not Apartment-Friendly
While sugar gliders are small, they are very active creatures. They need a lot of space to jump, glide and play. A small cage is not sufficient for their needs. In addition, their constant activity means that they make a lot of noise, which can be disruptive for your neighbors. If you live in an apartment or other close quarters, sugar gliders are not the ideal pet.
They Are Very Noisy
If you are looking for a quiet pet, sugar gliders are not for you. They are very vocal animals, and their cries can be quite loud and piercing. In addition, they are known to “bark” when they are excited or scared. This barking can be quite loud and disruptive, especially if you have thin walls or live in close quarters with your neighbors.
They Have a Habit of Drowning In The Toilet
One of the most surprising (and horrifying) things we learned about sugar gliders is that they have a habit of drowning in toilets. This is because they are attracted to the water and will often drink from the toilet bowl. If the toilet is not covered, they can easily fall in and drown. This is a serious hazard for any home with a sugar glider, and one that should be taken into consideration before bringing one of these animals into your home.
Boys can’t even be trusted to put the toilet seat back down, let alone the lid. If you have company over, your sugar glider is probably a goner.
There you have it! The top five reasons why sugar gliders DO NOT make good pets. If you are still considering getting a sugar glider, please do your research and be prepared to commit to taking care of your new pet. Sugar gliders may be small, but they require a lot of time, effort, and money.