Lifestyles for Better Living

Sugar Gliders Part 1

In more recent years, people are being drawn to "pocket pets" or small "companion pets" like the sugar glider.

People of all ages are drawn to the charming sugar glider, and yet few people actually know what kind of animal it is. If you want to buy a sugar glider in the near future, you need some basic knowledge about the creature so you can take care of it better. So let's start with this question: what exactly is a sugar glider?

A sugar glider is not a mouse, nor is it any kind of rodent. Many people mistake the sugar glider for a mouse or rat because of its general appearance and size. Actually, the sugar glider is a marsupial and its evolutionary cousins are kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas.

You may be surprised at the evolutionary family from whence this creature came, but a closer inspection reveals that this animal shares many traits with marsupials, such as having a very short gestation period. The gestation period of adult sugar gliders is only fifteen days long. After fifteen days, a very small baby glider is born - ready to be nursed by the waiting mother. Because of the short gestation period, sugar glider babies are born extremely small and don't have developed organs.

At first glance, a sugar glider can easily be mistaken for a mouse or a flying squirrel. Are flying squirrels and sugar gliders related? No. Apart from the gliding membrane (or the extra flap of skin used for gliding), these two animals are not evolutionary cousins. Today's lesson will focus on the basic physical characteristics of sugar gliders.

First, sugar gliders weigh only a few ounces upon entering adulthood. A sugar glider will also only reach a maximum length of seven inches. If someone tells you that they have a thirteen-inch sugar glider to sell you, whatever that animal is, it is not a sugar glider. Sugar gliders are part of the possum family of marsupials and may have some morphological similarities to many possums.

A true sugar glider will most likely have a solid dark gray coat and black stripes that run across its body from the facial area. Males have a hairless spot on their faces - this area has scent glands that are used by males to mark their territories and to communicate with other members of the colony through scenting. To communicate with scenting, sugar gliders engage in what is called "purposeful physical contact."

What about the tail? Adult sugar gliders (the ones that are fit for sale to new owners) will have erect, bushy tails. If the sugar glider that is being sold to you has a somewhat dull and flat tail, that sugar glider may be younger than seven weeks. Ideally, sugar gliders should be sold when they are seven to twelve weeks old.

For more information,continue to Part 2.

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