What Should I Feed My Sugar Glider

Healthy dog food brands The diet is often considered the most difficult aspect of owning a sugar glider. Unfortunately not much research exists to tell us exactly what nutrients they need to be happy and healthy. Veterinarians, researchers, nutritionists, and breeders have been working together and using the little amount of information they have to create diets that ensure the overall nutritional and mineral balances of captive gliders.

Sugar gliders are sap suckers and cannot survive on dry pellets such as off-the-shelf food designed for other small animals. Dry, hard foods can cause abscesses in their gums and irritate the roofs of their mouths. As sap suckers, sugar gliders will chew their food to extract the nutrients and spit out the remains. New owners often think that their gliders are not eating until they examine the left over food more closely and find only the empty husks.

The nightly diet of sugar glider should ideally consist of 50% protein, 25% fruits, and 25% vegetables. Gliders also require a Calcium:Phosphorous ratio of 2:1. Fresh water should be provided every day. Sugar gliders can dehydrate very quickly. You should always have more than one water bottle in the cage at once to assure that if one leaks the other is still available.

Sugar Glider Diets

The following are considered "proven" diets as they have been devised by the above mentioned vets, researchers, nutritionists, and breeders. These diets should be followed exactly. The number one cause of death and illness in a captive sugar glider is improper diet and over supplementation. Less serious side effects include stronger smelling urine, stained and unkempt fur, and general lethargy.

Bourbon's Modified Leadbeaters (BML)

High Protein Wombaroo Diet (HPW)

Suncoast Diet

Leadbeater's Formula

Pricsilla Price's Diet a.k.a. The Pet Glider Diet

Choosing Fruits and Vegetables

This is a list of glider safe fruits and vegetables along with their Ca:Ph ratios. Some diets have a very specific set of fruits and vegetables to be used, and others let you pick and choose and require you to do the Ca:Ph calculations yourself. Choose a diet that best suits your needs.

Safe Fruits

Safe Vegetables

Toxic Foods


Insects are an important part of a sugar glider's diet. Live insects provide enrichment and are a good source of protein. However, some types of insects should be fed sparingly as they are high in fat.

A list of Nutritional Information of Insects from GrubCo

Crickets Meal worms Wax Worms Super Worms Fly Larvae
Moisture, % 69.07 62.44 61.73 59.37 68.18
Fat, % 6.01 12.72 22.19 17.89 7.81
Protein, % 21.32 20.27 15.50 17.41 15.58
Fiber, % 3.2 1.73 7.69 6.80 3.46
Ash 2.17 1.57 1.02 1.20 1.40
Ca, ppm 345 133 283 124 874
P, ppm 4238 3345 2161 2320 2405
CA/P ratio % 0.081 0.040 0.131 0.053 0.363

Source: http://www.grubco.com/Nutritional_Information.cfm

Never feed wild caught insects to your sugar gliders. They could have been exposed to pesticides, or carry parasites or diseases.

When feeding insects, it is important to consider the dangers of aflatoxin poisoning. Aflatoxin is from a mold that grows on corn/corncob bedding, which insects like crickets and mealworms then ingest. Gliders who suffer from aflatoxin poisoning rarely survive because of the damage caused to the liver. When shopping for an insect provider, make sure they do not use corn based materials as bedding. This significantly reduces the chances of aflatoxins being present.

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