Sugar Glider Care In Temporary Shelters
DIET: Feed a commercial sugar glider or omnivore pelleted diet and a commercial nectar mix.
Nectar can be made of fructose/sucrose/glucose or honey diluted to 10% with water. Alternatively, offer a tablespoon of chicken baby food, cooked chicken, hard-boiled egg, live or dried insects, and a bowl of vegetables and a little fruit daily given in the evening. Offer dry or moistened dog food as a last resort. Do not feed rabbit or rodent pellets, seeds, or dried fruits unless no other food is available. Water must be available at all times in both bottle and bowl, watch for clogging of tube.
HOUSING: Minimum temperature 70 degrees, maximum 85 degrees. Move to indoor climate controlled facility if needed to avoid cold.
Use original cage if possible to decrease stress. Use wire cages with maximum 1/2 bar spacing, aquariums with lids, or plastic totes at least 12 inches tall if there are no holes they can reach to chew and escape. They prefer tall cages with shelves, with food and water dishes high in cage when possible. Use bedding of newspaper, paper towels, or recycled or shredded paper. Do not use wood shavings, corn cob, cat litter, hay or straw as bedding. Provide a cardboard or commercial hiding box high in cage to decrease stress. House bonded pairs or same sex groups together if no fighting is observed. May become depressed and starve or self-mutilate if caged alone.
RESTRAINT: May bite, use soft gloves, will panic if approached from above.
Scoop from underneath, then use one hand over shoulders and one under hindquarters or grasp around the torso and hold the base of the tail. Wrap in a towel like a burrito or place inside a small container like a cup. Never lift or restrain by the tail except holding base with other hand under body.
COMMON MEDICAL PROBLEMS: Overgrown teeth may cause drooling and loss of appetite.
Overgrown nails are common. Wet tail, or diarrhea with staining of the fur near the anus can indicate a life threatening illness. Can result from stress, overcrowding, shipping, diet change, or various diseases. Requires immediate attention from an experienced exotic mammal veterinarian. Never use antibiotics without consulting an experienced veterinarian to avoid toxicity.
OTHER: Chewing on plastic is dangerous, provide cardboard paper towel tubes for chewing.
Fruit tree branches (not sprayed with pesticides) are safe chew and climbing toys. Do not disturb female with babies, and do not place male with them. Flinging and dropping food is normal and not necessarily a sign of dental disease.
Compiled by Julie Burge, DVM, Burge Bird Services and Burge Bird Rescue, August 2016
Immediate Intake Care of Small, Unusual & Exotic Pets by Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary
Exotic Companion Medicine Handbook for Veterinarians by Cathy Johnson-Delaney, DVM, Diplomat ABVP-Avian