Cages for Sugar Gliders

Setting up a home for your sugar gliders

Sugar Gliders

Maggie Not Margaret / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sugar gliders are active little animals and need lots of room in their cage. Since they need to climb and jump, the amount of vertical space is more important than the actual square footage of the cage.

A good minimum size for a pair of sugar gliders is 24 inches deep by 24 inches wide by 36 inches tall. Larger is always better, keeping in mind that height is important for the gliders. The spacing of the wire should be no more than 1/2 inch by 1 inch. If you use a cage that is not wire mesh, make sure it has horizontal bars with spaces no more than 1/2 inch. Cages that provide a couple of platforms are nice.

Since commercial cages do not often come in the dimensions preferred for sugar gliders, many owners fashion cages of welded wire. Glider Central provides several links to pages with instructions on how to build cages at home. A nice idea is to make a cage that sits inside a tray (plastic or metal) that is a few inches larger than the floor space of the cage to catch any wastes that fall outside of the cage.

The latch on the cage should be secure, as gliders will sometimes learn how to open latches and let themselves out. A layer of shavings (never cedar; aspen or fir is best) in the bottom of the cage will help absorb waste and should be cleaned out once or twice a week (more often if needed, depending on how many you have).

The cage should be placed in an accessible spot in the home, but out of direct sunlight and in an area free from drafts. They do best a temperature slightly higher than room temperature, in the rage of 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nest Boxes

Your sugar gliders need a nest box, which can be bought or homemade. Many people advocate nest boxes made from porous materials, which breathe a bit and absorb moisture. Materials such as wood and unglazed clay pots (with holes in the side) fall under this category. They do have the disadvantage of absorbing urine and other wastes, so they will need to be discarded and replaced occasionally. Nest boxes of plastic are easier to clean and are an acceptable alternative. Placing the nest box against the ceiling of the cage will prevent the gliders from sitting on and defecating on top of the box.

A third option, which is a favorite of many gliders, is a cloth pouch. These can be affixed to the sides of the cage easily, and are washable, so you can have a spare and wash/replace them as necessary. These are also nice as they help with the taming and bonding process as you can remove the pouch, sugar gliders and all, from the cage if you wish to handle them.

Unless a cloth bag is used, some bedding material should be provided as well. A piece of cloth is often easiest and works well, but monitor and remove any loose threads.

Furnishings and Toys

Sugar gliders like to climb and jump, and you should provide lots of branches to allow them to exercise. Fresh branches are appreciated, but make sure they are free from pesticides and fertilizers and are from non-toxic plants. Avoid branches from coniferous trees such as pine and cedar due to the sticky sap produced by these trees. Ropes and ladders can provide additional climbing opportunities.

Wooden toys, such as those made for birds and rodents, make good toys for sugar gliders. Toys placed high in the cage will be most appreciated as gliders like to spend their time high up in the cage. Cloth toys are best avoided or at least regularly checked for loose threads that could entangle the gliders or be ingested.

An exercise wheel, if introduced to young gliders, may be a big hit and allow lots of opportunities for exercise. A larger wheel, with a solid surface, is best so that legs and tails do not get caught. Some people also use the clear plastic globes that you can put your pet in to let them roll around the house.

Food Dishes

Plastic bird dishes that hang on the side of the cage are probably easiest. They should be fairly large, but not so large that the gliders can climb into them and soil them. Water can be provided in a bottle, but if the gliders are not trained to a water bottle, provide another clip on a dish for water until you are sure your gliders are taking water from the bottle consistently.

Purchasing Cages and Supplies Online

  • Martin's Cages: It has quite a few PVC-coated cages to choose from.
  • Wodent Wheels: From Transoniq, information about this safe wheel favored by sugar glider owners, and information on where you can buy the wheel (online and off).