This will give you some tips on where NOT to purchase your suggie as well as how to tell if the suggie you're interested in is too young to leave it's parents yet.
Basically, these are all 'beware' points. If someone is doing something listed below or telling you something listed below, reconsider the sale. If a joey exhibits any of the signs below, also.. reconsider the sale! Sick/premature joeys often need 24 hour care, hourly feeding, constant observation, a consistent temperature.. Even then, they don't all make it. Even if they seem to be 'ok' other than looking a bit young or 'tired' there could be underlying health issues which could easily turn into hundreds of dollars at the vet.
It's always best to buy a fully weaned and healthy glider.Anybody that recommends a heat rock.
If your suggie is fully weaned and ready to leave mom and dad it can regulate it’s temperature on it’s own and does not need a heat rock. Not only that but heat rocks are dangerous and can possibly kill your suggie! (If your home is a bit chilly most will suggest fleece cage covers and/or a room-space heater. Never any type of in-cage heating device.)Any breeder or Broker that claims you have to feed their diet.
Such as a pellet food with an apple and a slice of bread or a bird food diet or just a plain pellet food. Sugar gliders are omnivores and need a wide variety of protein, fruits, and fresh vegetables. Any reputible breeder should have their gliders on one of the approved diets and NOT require you to use it, they will let you decide if you want to keep the suggies on it or not. (Though if you decide to switch please wean them off of it! They need time to adjust to the new diet.) A person that recommends a small bird cage, parakeet cage or any kind of tank for an animal that is arboreal.
That means it spends most of it’s time in the tree tops. The smallest cage should be at least 2 feet wide by 2 feet deep by 3 feet high Or the equivalent by going three feet tall and three feet wide. The tallest cage you can find or build the happier your babies will be in their LARGE home. MANY breeders build custom cages and would be happy to help give you tips on building your own! Someone who tells you sugar gliders are super easy to own and cost next to nothing to take care of.
They are an exotic critter which means a special vet or an extra cost just because they are an exotic and not like a cat or dog. Some gliders require more time to adjust to their new home and new family, also if scared and pushed can draw blood when they bite. They require a lot of socialization from their new human parents as well as a lot of patience so you don’t scare your new baby. These animals also live up to 15 years, it's not like a hamster by ANY means. You also can't just throw some bird food in there or pellets, gliders generally need a specialized diet. A part of that is fresh fruits and veggies! Making this diet and purchasing fresh fruits & veggies on a regular basis can be a bit more expensive than buying some pellets and tossing them in but it's much much better for the suggie's over-all health and has been created to provide them with a lot of what they'd get in the wild! Someone who offers "needs very little vet care" or "no vet care" as a selling point.
It is true that sugar gliders do not need routine shots, like dogs or cats. However, they are an exotic animal, and when something goes wrong, you need to have a vet that you know will treat sugar gliders, and you need to know how to reach that vet at 2 in the morning! Gliders are nocturnal, and often you won't notice illness until after "normal office hours." Because of this, and because they are exotic, you can expect high vet bills when they get sick. Anybody that is in a public place or that brings a group of joeys for you to see that are all lumped together in one cage.
There is no way of telling who is related to who. The person can not tell you about the individual personality of any of the babies such as who may crab, who is a rough groomer, or what their favorite food is, etc. Generally if anyone has this many joeys together they're breeding many pairs, pulling the joeys as soon as they feel like it and tossing them all together so they keep track of how many they have for sale. Generally, a Mill. The tails on the joeys should not be smooth looking, they should have a full fluffy tail.
Any smooth tailed joeys are under four weeks old and WAY too young to be away from their parents. The person should also know when the joey came out of pouch, which is like a second birthday. They should be at least 8-12 weeks old depending on what they looked like when they came out of pouch. A joey that makes a baby-like cry when held or put on a strange surface.
A fully weaned joey will not cry for his/her parents as they can eat, drink, and potty on their own. Another sign of a too young joey is if it rides on another gliders back it is way too young to be away from it’s parents. A weaned suggie will not ride around on another gliders back. Except for mating behavior. A baby glider that walks and looks kind of like a dog that is walking through tall grass and is trying not to get their feet or legs wet after a rain storm.
A baby that is all sprawled out on all fours and that is not steady as it walks or that is not sure footed is definitely to young to leave its parents! Any person that will NOT let you see the sugar glider before you purchase your new family member. A breeder or broker that will not let you handle the suggie and play with it before you buy it.
You need to see if that sugar glider or baby glider will accept you or if it is tame or has been handled by the breeder. I've heard of pet stores refusing to handle joeys before they go home because they will 'bond' with an employee. No such thing. Gliders NEED to be handled from a young age so they are familiar with humans. It IS normal for your newly purchased suggie to crab somewhat and be a little jumpy. They will take time to adjust to their new home and new owner.. but if they are like this even when held by the seller, they are likely not hand-tame at all. Any sales method that is geared toward children.
Suggies can be a family pet but they are not a good starter pet for kids. Gliders are not a good pet for children to have the responsibility of feeding and bonding to an animal that can and will draw blood if scared and also may like to nip or be a groomer. Any person that says a glider will get along with any other pet, such as a cat, dog, or ferret.
Or that they bond easily to other animals or can be housed together. Gliders should not be let loose with any other animal whether it is supervised or not. If you have a cat or dog that chases animals outside in the wild, they will chase a suggie. Any sales person or breeder that says suggies don’t bite hard enough to draw blood or that they won't bite at all.
Any animal that is scared and that is pushed into a corner can and will bite to defend itself. Any critter that has teeth can bite. Expect at the very LEAST nibbles. Gliders like to taste things, they will do this to you! (Usually it's just a very light pinch!) Anybody that says they won’t potty on you.
Or anyone who says they are litterbox trainable, can wear diapers, etc. Gliders generally poo/pee as SOON as they wake up. Let them do this IN their cage before taking them out and handling them and usually you're fine.. though they will go potty on you, they don't know the difference. It's small like mouse poop and usually a small amount of pee so it's easily cleaned up and doesn't stain that I've noticed. Anybody that tells you or shows you how to bond or stop a glider from nipping or biting by physical force.
You have to use common sense in bonding/training your suggie as to not use any physical force that could hurt or kill your baby glider. The ONLY type of verbal or physical discipline technique that CAN be used on a glider is the behavior the moms and dads use toward their babies. It is subtle at first and WILL NOT hurt your glider. You try to mimic the behavior that you observe between male and females and also the way the parents teach the baby gliders what behaviors they will tolerate. You use a loving touch and do not scare the glider into crabbing or lunging and biting your hand. You may get groomed or nipped until they understand your glider talk. I often go 'Tsssst', you'll get the idea when you hear your suggie.. it's usually a Stop that, or That's mine! type of noise that distracts/stops them from what they're doing. Anyone who tells you a single glider will be fine by it's self.
A pair is always better together. A trio is fine too! But either way, gliders are COLONY animals in the wild. There's nothing like it when you see it in person. They're always chittering, chirping, barking. They are very talkative and social animals. Usually they will all sleep in one pouch together! A single glider can often get depressed and even die from self mutilation. It's always best to get at least two suggies! Do not buy:
Any sugar gliders fur that is matted looking or wet looking could be a sign of a parasite or bacterial infection.
Any glider that is lethargic and not awake looking at things that are going on around them. They should be aware of movement in their area. A suggie can freeze when scared but in a few seconds to a minute will take a treat or at least be aware of their surroundings.
A suggie that will not eat it’s favorite treat.
A wet tail or poop that is matted to their rear end or their tail can be a sign of illness. If they are not grooming themselves. It also can mean that they are too young to be a way from the parents as they can help and teach the babies to groom themselves. Not grooming themselves properly can also be a sign of mental illness from being alone for too long.
The eyes that don’t look full of life and are dull looking, blueish color, or that look infected or have a lot of gunk in them.
The ears that constantly stay down and that don’t stand up when sweet talked to, or that look dry or scaley.
Greasy or sticky fur can be a sign of an illness or too many gliders together in dirty conditions.
Their fur should be shiny and very smooth and soft to the touch. Diet can also effect their fur quality.
A skinny sugar glider where the ribs are showing and wobbly as they walk can be a sickly glider or a sign of dehydration.
Any suggie that has loose or watery stools. Any poop or pee that has a very strong or foul odor.
Credit: Krys Kritters
& Kozi Gliders