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How Much Does a Sugar Glider Cost? (Updated in 2021)

Nicole Cosgrove

Sugar Gliders are becoming a popular choice among exotic pet owners, as these small marsupials are friendly, curious, and surprisingly playful little pets. They are native to Australia and some parts of Indonesia and get their name from the thin membrane that extends from their front limbs to their back limbs to help them glide through the trees in their native habitat.

If you are thinking about keeping a Sugar Glider as a pet, it makes sense to plan ahead financially and understand all the costs involved. This will ensure that you can give your pet everything they need to live a happy and healthy life.

In this article, we’ll walk you through all the costs involved in owning a Sugar Glider, from initial purchase prices, food, bedding, and everything in between. Let’s dive in!

divider-dog paw

Bringing Home a New Sugar Glider: One-Time Costs

Sugar Gliders have varying initial purchase costs that largely depend on their age. Infants typically cost more — anywhere between $200-$500 — whereas adults usually go for around $100-$200. It’s important to note that Sugar Gliders are highly social animals, so we highly recommended keeping them in pairs to make sure they are happy. This will also help mitigate most unwanted behavior, as they require a great deal of attention and will act out when bored or lonely.

It’s also important to note that owing a Sugar Glider is illegal in some states, including California and Alaska, and others require a permit, which can also add to the initial costs. Be sure to check the laws and regulations in your area to see if you need a permit before buying.

sugar glider close up
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Free

A Sugar Glider is not an easy pet to care for and is not a good choice for beginners because they require a ton of special care. Many would-be owners go out and purchase a Sugar Glider without being fully aware of the difficulty and commitment involved in owning one of these animals. You may find owners willing to part with their pets for free, as they have realized that they can longer look after them. Check out your local rescue shelters or online groups, as they may have Sugar Gliders needing homes for free or for very little cost.

Breeder

  • $100-$500

Adult Sugar Gliders are usually less expensive than infants. This is because adults are far more difficult to train, and this makes them less desirable as pets. You will usually find that an adult sugar glider costs between $100-$150, whereas infants can go for up to $500 in some cases. We highly recommend purchasing a pair, as Gliders are highly social animals, so your initial purchase cost will double. Some breeders may offer a slightly lower price if you purchase a pair, though.

It is vital to find a reputable breeder when adopting a Sugar Glider due to its legality. Make sure that the breeder has the required permits with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and that it is actually legal to own one in your state. The breeder will usually be able to provide you with information on permits and legal requirements.

Be sure to visit the breeder personally and not just buy directly online. This way, you can check that the parents and housing conditions are all healthy and clean, and the breeder can provide vital information on the Glider’s origins and health history. Breeders can also give you invaluable information on caring, housing, and feeding your Glider.

Supplies

  • $250-$500

First, you’ll need a suitable cage to house your Glider. Remember that these animals love to climb and need a tall cage with a large amount of space. We recommend a cage that’s at least 24 inches wide and 36 inches high for a pair of Gliders, but the bigger, the better. Gliders also love their own private space, so small nesting pouches are a great addition. You’ll also need to invest in climbing ropes, ladders, closed exercise wheels, feeding dishes, food, and bedding. The costs can swiftly add up.

sugar glider in the cage
Image Credit: MARVIK, Shutterstock

List of Sugar Glider Care Supplies and Cost

Bed/Tank/Cage $200-$300
Nesting pouch $10
Toys $20-$50
Food and Water Bowls $10-$20
Bedding $10
Travel Carrier $20-$50
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Annual Expenses

  • $300-$500 per year

Once you have purchased a cage, toys, and accessories for your Glider, the main annual costs are food and bedding. Diets can vary widely, but for a pair of Gliders, a staple diet will typically cost around $150-$200 per year. They’ll also need plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which will cost roughly $20 per month or $250 per year. Bedding needs to be changed regularly and typically costs around $10 a month, or $120 per year.

Health Care

  • $50-$100 per year

Sugar Gliders are fairly healthy animals if properly looked after and do not require any vaccinations. They are prone to a few conditions like obesity and diabetes, but with proper diet and exercise, these can largely be mitigated. If you are planning to keep males and females together, it’s a good idea to get the male neutered or you’ll have a cage full of babies! The procedure is simple and typically costs around $50. Spaying females is highly complicated, and most vets will not perform the surgery.

Check-Ups

  • $50-$100 per year

Although Gliders do not require annual vaccinations and they are healthy animals overall, it’s a good idea to go for annual checkups to make sure your pet is healthy and growing well. A typical checkup with a vet will cost around $50, and they usually do not require any dental cleaning or checkups.

Treatments for Parasites

  • $15-$30 per year

Domesticated Gliders rarely suffer from parasite or tick problems, as they spend the majority of their time indoors. That being said, it may happen, and it’s a good idea to deworm them yearly too. These treatments are usually quick, easy, and inexpensive, and around $15 annually should cover it unless there is an unexpected infestation.

Emergencies

  • $100-$300 per year

Most veterinary clinics have limited services for exotic pets, so the costs of emergency procedures can be very expensive. While these animals are healthy overall, accidents can happen, and older Gliders may require special care as they get into old age. It’s a good idea to put away $200 in case of a medical emergency.

close up sugar glider
Image Credit: Pixabay

Insurance

  • $200-$250 per year

Insurance for exotic pets can be pricey, especially since most Glider owners own a pair of animals. In most cases, you are looking at around $10 each, minimum, so the annual costs for a pair of Gliders will cost you around $200 at least. Since these animals are so healthy generally, it may be a better idea to put away $200 or so for an emergency instead and opt for insurance when they get a bit older.

Food

  • $350-$700 per year

Sugar Gliders are omnivores, and their diet consists of mostly tree sap, occasional fruits, and insects in the wild. Commercial pellets are a convenient option that can provide Gliders with most of their nutritional requirements but should make up no more than a third of their overall diet. You’ll need to supplement these pellets with fresh fruits, vegetables, and insects every day.

While these animals are small and do not eat huge amounts of food, they have a specialized diet that can cost a great deal to maintain. You can expect to spend at least $30 a month on food per Glider.

sugar glider eating
Image Credit: Pixabay

Environment Maintenance

$250-$300 per year

Gliders need frequent bedding changing, which can add up quickly. For a pair, you’ll need to change the bedding even more frequently, and this can easily cost $10-$20 per month. These little animals also love toys to play with, which will need replacing, and for this, you can budget another $5-$10 per month.

Bedding $100-$200/year
Cleaning products $20/year
Dedicated trash can $30
Toys $50-$100/year

Entertainment

$50-$100 per year

Sugar Gliders love to climb, so their cage should be outfitted with plenty of ropes, ladders, bridges, tunnels, and branches to stimulate their natural climbing instincts. They need a wide variety of textures, like wood, ropes, and branches to keep them interested and happy, and these need to be swapped around fairly often to further encourage their natural curiosity.

Gliders are naturally active and highly curious animals, and having a wide variety of shapes, colors, and textures is essential to their mental health.

Total Annual Cost of Owning a Sugar Glider

$500-$1,000 per year

Once you’ve purchased your gliders, a nice roomy cage, and all the required accessories, there are still fairly expensive monthly costs to take into consideration. Food can easily cost you $30-$60 per month, as well as bedding and environmental costs, and these can quickly add up.

Sugar Gliders are a unique pet with unique needs, and it’s vital to research their unique requirements before rushing out and purchasing one of these animals. They are expensive animals to care for, need a specialized diet, and cannot be left alone, making them a uniquely difficult animal to own. Lastly, you should note that these animals are largely nocturnal and are most active at night. They need to be kept in darkness during the day, and their antics may keep you up at night!

Owning a Sugar Glider on a Budget

While it is possible to keep a Glider in a smaller, cheaper cage and take them out regularly, this is not recommended. These animals need a great deal of space to climb, and as they are nocturnal, it can be difficult to entertain them outside of their cages. There is really no way to skimp on costs with exotic animals like Sugar Gliders, and if you do not have the money to look after them as needed, it’s better to consider purchasing a different pet.

The only real area where you could save money is the initial purchases. You may find a Glider that needs a home and the owners are giving it away for free or at a very low cost, or you could find second-hand cages and accessories. But as for yearly maintenance, there is no way to keep them on a budget, and the responsible choice is to provide them with the best possible food and care or avoid purchasing one.

divider-paw

Conclusion

Sugar Gliders are unique animals with unique care and housing requirements. While these animals are small and don’t take up much space, they are an expensive animal to own and are difficult to look after. The one-time costs can easily exceed $1,000, especially considering that it’s best to keep a pair of Gliders, and annually, you can expect to pay between $500-$1,000 just for basic care requirements.

If you are looking at getting a pet Glider, make sure that you do all the necessary research into the special needs of these animals, check that it is legal in your area or that you can obtain the required permits, and get one from a reputable breeder. Buying an exotic animal like a Glider on impulse is a recipe for disaster, and there is no such thing as too much preparation, planning, and research.

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Featured Image Credit: KAMONRAT, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.