Sugar gliders, the cute tiny marsupials from Australia and Indonesia, are an up-and-coming exotic pet in much of the world. If their big adorable eyes and gliding abilities piqued your interest, you must research their specialized care before adopting one. You might wonder whether or not your new pet can be left alone and, if so, for how long they can be alone. Sugar gliders are highly social creatures, so it’s best if you don’t leave your sugar glider alone for longer than a day.
Keep reading to learn more about sugar gliders and why they shouldn’t be left alone for too long.
What Are Sugar Gliders?
Sugar gliders are curious and energetic animals that have recently gained traction as pets. These small, omnivorous tree-dwellers can make fantastic pets as they can bond closely with their humans if given the proper socialization, care, and enrichment.
Sugar gliders are illegal to own in three U.S. states, Alaska, California, and Hawaii. They may be legal in other states, but it’s important to check with your city laws to ensure they’re allowed in your municipality. Depending on where you live, you may also need to acquire a permit to keep a sugar glider. For example, owning one in Minnesota is legal, but you cannot have one within St. Paul. Likewise, you can have sugar gliders in Georgia, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, but you need a permit to own one legally.
How Long Can You Leave a Sugar Glider Alone?
If you’ve bonded with your pet the way you should have, it will want to be around you as often as possible. It would be best if you didn’t leave it alone for long periods as it’ll be afraid and lonely. Not to mention, anything can happen when you’re not home. Even if yours is housed with another sugar glider, you shouldn’t leave them without supervision for longer than a day.
If you need to go away for a weekend or longer, we highly recommend finding a pet sitter to care for your animal while you’re away. Better yet, ask a friend or family member with whom your pet may already be familiar to come by to keep it company every day while you’re gone. Even better than that, pack up your sugar glider’s accessories and take it to your friend’s house instead of asking them to go out of their way to come to your house to check on your pet. This way, you’ll know for sure that your sugar glider is getting the attention and care it needs.
If possible, take your pet with you while you’re away. A small collapsible dog kennel can act as a great travel cage. Of course, it’s not always feasible to travel with your pet, but we highly recommend considering it if it’s an option.
When traveling with your sugar glider, you’ll need to take with you several key items, such as your pet’s water bottle, food bowl, toys, fruits, heat rock, and blankets. Thankfully, most of these items won’t take up much space.
Can Sugar Gliders Live Alone?
The answer to this question relies on the amount of interaction you’re willing to give your pet and its personality.
In the wild, these marsupials are highly social. They live in colonies of up to seven adults and the current seasons’ babies. Sugar gliders live and hunt in the trees but are always aware of nearby predators. They bond with their colony and establish a group identity for themselves through social grooming.
Single sugar gliders can live happily in solitary, provided it’s getting the proper amount of socialization from its owner. You should expect to give your pet anywhere between one to two hours of one-on-one socialization every day, especially if you keep just one. A sugar glider that’s been raised alone will likely not miss the interaction with others it would have in the wild.
What Happens If You Leave a Sugar Glider Alone Too Often?
If you leave your sugar glider alone for too long or too often, they might not get the emotional and environmental stimulation and enrichment they need to thrive. According to PetMD, this can cause your pet to begin self-mutilating behaviors that can cause hair loss, infections, and pain.
Sugar gliders are highly social animals that don’t fare well without daily socialization. Therefore, we don’t recommend leaving your pet alone for longer than a day. If you need to be gone longer than that, hire a pet sitter or, better yet, ask a friend or family member to pet-sit for you. Your sugar glider will be much more comfortable with someone it is at least vaguely familiar with than a stranger.
Featured Image Credit: Praisaeng, Shutterstock