Setting up a glider cage - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 02-16-2004, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Setting up a glider cage

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Setting up a cage

The environment in which your glider lives in is extremely important and can directly affect health and temperament. In order to have a proper housing setup, cages, toys, food and water areas, and sleeping quarters must be carefully evaluated. Not every cage will be the same, but some standard do’s and don’t’s apply. This section of the video will go over all of these concepts thoroughly.

Cages should be big enough for your gliders to be able to jump and move around freely. Remember that they can glide as well as they prefer to be high off the ground, so taller cages are always better. According to one source, a sugar glider cage for a pair should be at least 15x15x36 inches, but most people set a minimum of 2x2x3 feet for a pair. Cages should also sit off the floor or ground. It will make your gliders feel safer.

Bar spacing is of equal importance when considering the perfect cage for your new pet. This has always been one of the more difficult parts in finding a cage. Most of the taller cages you can find in stores are meant for large birds that can have a wider bar spacing. However, sugar gliders can squeeze into very tight spaces so a big horizontal bar spacing is not always the best option, especially if you are planning on having joeys in the cage at any time. Horizontal bar spacing should be no more than one half inch. One half inch is the preferred vertical bar spacing as well. This is so the glider can have a better grip on the cage to climb. If you decide to buy a typical bird cage with bigger vertical bar spacing, you run the risk of your glider sliding on the bars instead of being able to properly grip them.

Also of importance is the material your sugar glider cage is made of. The two most common are plastic vinyl coated (PVC) or powder coated. These coatings are a protectant to the bare metal wire. Reptariums can also be used to house sugar gliders. Just be sure that your glider does not like to chew, because the screen used in reptariums can be easily ripped when chewed on. One type of cage you should never house a sugar glider or any other small animal in is one made of galvanized wire only. These cages increase the risk of your glider having a urinary tract infection, or UTI. When a glider urinates on galvanized wire, there is a reaction with the metal. This can be passed onto the glider if they happen to rub their cloacael area against the cage. UTI’s are painful to gliders and can also lead to self mutilation. Wood can also be used as long as you avoid pine as long as you avoid pine and cedar and other harmful wood. A shellac coating may be put on to prevent stains and other smells from absorbing into the wood, but it does not always work.

Other things to watch out for include any sharp edges or pieces, doors or other places that are easy to escape from, and cages that are hard to clean. It is a good idea to secure doors and other parts that can open with a lock or zip tie in case you have a glider that is smart enough to figure out how to escape.

Bedding is also something to consider. Pine and cedar shavings are a definite no. The “treatment” used on them can cause respiratory problems in gliders. Never use cat litter for the same reason. Aspen shavings are fine as are puppy pads, fleece scraps, paper towel, and plain newspaper print. If your glider can reach down to the bedding and has a tendency to chew on things, however, puppy pads and aspen might not be the best choice.

Your sugar glider cage should also be kept in a good location. Although it is not recommended to keep your glider in a high traffic area where it can disrupt sleep patterns, you should keep your glider in a place you frequent often. Cages should also be by natural light so that the glider can tell the time of day. Make sure the room is also free of drafts and is not extremely hot or cold. Temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit are best.

food/water dishes

Next you will want to make sure you have good supplies to feed and water your sugar glider. More than one food bowl is suggested; one for drier foods, and one for softer, moister foods. Food bowls do not need to be huge and should not be very deep as gliders are tiny creatures. Water bottles or dishes may be used in the cage. Make sure to always check water bottles for clogging and check water dishes frequently for fecal matter and other debris. Both food and water should be changed daily and bowls and bottles cleaned thoroughly.

Food stations should preferably be placed high up as that is where sugar gliders prefer to stay. However,they may also be placed on the bottom of the cage. Avoid putting them directly below a branch or other type of ledge to decrease the risk of urine and feces dropping into their food or water.

More than one feeding station is suggested if you have more than one glider so they always have access to their food and their own fair share of food when they want it.

Gliders like to play with their food sometimes, so be warned that it will end up in all parts of their cage as well as all parts of your room as well. Hard to clean stains can be prevented by placing a mat on the floor and a sheet of some sort on the walls surrounding the cage. Every morning, be sure to take the dishes out of the cages as well as pick up any food thrown where the glider can reach it again. Their food will spoil after about twelve hours and you will want to remove it all as not to cause illness.


Many of the cage dangers can be applied to toys as well. Knowing what can be harmful to your sugar glider is the first step to finding toys that are safe and enjoyable.

Always check toys for sharp edges or things that can snag easily and catch on your glider’s nails. Toys that are dyed should be checked to ensure the dye won’t come off easily when your gliders chew on them. To do this, place the toy in water for five minutes and then take it out and wipe it with a paper towel to check for any dye that comes off. Toys where dye comes off easily should be avoided.

Toys with small parts that can the glider can choke on or that can injure him/her should only be used under close supervised playtime.

Toys do not have to be expensive or elaborate to catch a glider’s attention. Some of the best toys are the boxes they come in. You can empty out butter tubs, milk jugs, and Kleenex boxes, wrap some ribbon and what ever else from them, put in some blankies and let them have fun.

Look for toys in the most unexpected places. Baby and toddlers toys are always a hit. The little tykes and fisher price toys to hide in they absolutely love. Also the links they have you can link and hang from cages. Barrel of Monkeys is also a toy gliders love. You can hang the monkeys from all over the cage and watch them attack them all night long.

Go to craft stores. Silk vines and other fake plants are an excellent idea to for playtime. You will want to make sure they do not have wire in them, however. Peacock feathers are another great idea. You can use these as your own handmade feather teaser and watch them chase it for hours.

Head on out to pet stores. Some small animal and bird toys also make great toys for sugar gliders. Just be sure to avoid mostly metal toys as they will rust.

The best toy of all however, is a wheel. There are still precautions to take, though. Never use a wheel that doesn’t have a solid or small mesh track. Other wheels can cause injury to a glider if their tail were to become stuck while running. A few good suggestions for wheels are comfort wheels, which can be found at most pet stores, and wodent wheels and rowdy wheels, which can be purchased online.

pouches/sleeping areas

Where your sugar glider sleeps is also of importance. In the wild, gliders spend most of their time in the canopy of the forest. Therefore, they not only like to play and climb high, but sleep high also. Hanging sleeping areas near the top of the cage will make your glider feel at home. As you know, sugar gliders are not only mammals, but marsupials as well, so pouches and nesting boxes make wonderful sleeping areas for sugar gliders.

Pouches give sugar gliders the safe feeling of being in their mother’s pouch. However, there are some precautions. Fabrics used for pouches must be breathable. Secondly, you must also check for loose threads Any loose thread or potential loose thread could be fatal to a glider if they were to have a limb, nail, or other part caught in one and could not get free. It must be added that if your sugar glider is a known “digger,” that is they like to dig into and tear up items in the cage, a pouch might not be the best option. If they dig too much and tear up the lining, they could become stuck in between the lining and outer layer of the pouch. Pouches can be as fancy or as simple as you desire as long as these precautions are taken into close consideration. I have seen some very elaborate in fleece and fur and cotton, even with embroidery. There have also been some who use simply the bag from a Crown Royal bottle.

Nesting boxes can also be used. If it is made of wood, make sure it is not a harmful wood such as pine or cedar. All nest boxes would periodically be checked for sharp or splintered pieces that could cut or injure your sugar glider in some other way. It is also a good idea for wood housing to be coated although this doesn't always help from rotting and smell soaking in.

Chinchilla bath houses will also do as a housing arrangement for your new glider. As with nest boxes, sharp edges and pieces that could injure your glider should periodically be checked for. Also, since chinchilla bath houses are usually slightly translucent, covers can be bought for them to make the sleeping area darker and also double as a way to prevent them for slipping on it when they climb around. One thing to note with nesting boxes and chinchilla bath houses is that some gliders become more protective in them than with pouches.

All sleeping areas should contain fleece blankets or something of the type for them to nestle and keep warm in. Nesting boxes and bath houses may require more blankets than pouches. More than one place for your glider to sleep in is also a plus. Different environments give the glider a variety and change of pace. You may also sometimes find your glider sleeping somewhere that you never expected such as inside a toy or other area. This is also their way of getting a change of scenery. However, it can also be a sign that their normal sleeping area is not warm enough or too warm or something else may be wrong.
Tmarie is offline  
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 05-08-2004, 07:36 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 19
very good post. Thank you for sharing this with us, I know this will be usefulf or a lot of glider owners!
SunnySideUp is offline  

aspen shavings, bird cage, bird toys, food bowl, food bowls, nest box, pet store, pet stores, sugar glider, sugar gliders, urinary tract infection

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