Can Pet Sugar Gliders Be Kept Outside? 

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Keeping sugar gliders outside may mean they have more space and that their scent and noisy and messy habits will not bother you, but is it safe?

Sugar gliders, although adorably charming, can be rather messy and noisy. Both these problems can easily be solved by keeping sugar gliders in an outdoor enclosure. Sugar gliders do very well in the forest where they originate, but will housing them in an outdoor enclosure benefit them equally?

As one would expect, the answer to the question “can sugar gliders be kept outside” has a short and long version. First, the short version – yes, indeed, they can be kept outside. The extended version involves a follow-up question: Is it better to keep them outside rather than inside? Finally, let’s explore the extended version a bit further.

The Benefits Of Keeping Sugar Gliders Outside

This can be broken down into benefits for you and benefits for your sugar gliders. Let’s explore the details:

The Benefits For Sugar Glider Owners

1. Peace and Quiet During Human Bedtime

Sugar gliders are nocturnal. Having them outside means they will not bother you if they are up and about at all hours of the night, which is their natural behavior.

If you are reading this because you are thinking of getting yourself a sugar glider – note that the sound they make when angry has been described as a “mini chainsaw” (Booth, 2003). Needless to say, not many people choose that as a lullaby. 

2. You Can Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh As A Daisy

Although furry and cute, they are animals. We all know that animals can often be the source of unpleasant scents, and sugar gliders are no exception. Keeping them outside will spare you and your family, or guests, the unpleasantness of an indoor animal that is not potty trained. 

Sugar gliders not only scent mark but sometimes also have a distinctive body odor. In addition, sugar gliders are very messy eaters, and it is common to find food scraps all around the outside of their enclosures. This is partly because sugar gliders enjoy having a meal with a view and will often carry pieces of food to the top of the cage.

The Benefits For Your Sugar Gliders

Outside is arguably the more ‘natural’ way for your pet sugar glider to live. It is beneficial in many ways, including the following: 

1. Possibly A Larger Enclosure

The outdoors has the potential to house sugar gliders in big enclosures, giving them access to ample space that they would not be afforded indoors. 

If you have multiple sugar gliders, this is even more critical as they are territorial creatures and can cause injury to each other if confined to a small space. It is recommended to follow a general rule of at least an 80 x 80 x 80 inches (2 x 2 x 2m) enclosure for up to six animals (Cheek, 2017). 

Pet Vet Tip: Wondering how many sugar gliders to get? Read this helpful article on sugar glider social structure.

2. More Environmental Stimulation

The outdoors is more likely to provide a greater variety and more fluid change in scenery on a day-to-day basis for your sugar glider, especially during a sugar glider’s waking nighttime hours when a human home is usually very quiet.

In addition, a larger enclosure will also mean more space to place toys such as the Wodent Wheel Senior or climbing toys such as this climbing vine or these climbing ropes, and foraging toys such as this foraging pineapple.

3. Reduced Risk For Obesity

By encouraging behavior that is as close to the sugar glider’s normal as possible, you will lessen the likelihood of your pet developing certain diseases of lifestyle that have been noted in recent years.

Sugar gliders are prone to obesity, and housing them in an environment where they can maintain an active lifestyle will help to prevent them from developing this disease. Nutrition is the major factor here; however, exercise certainly has a role to play.  

Pet Vet Tip: To read more about obesity in sugar gliders and for more tips as well as an example feeding plan check out the resources on our website.

The Downsides Of Keeping Your Sugar Gliders Outside

The Cons For Sugar Glider Owners

1. You May Spend Less Time With Your Sugar Glider

If your sugar glider is outside, you may spend less time with it than if it was inside with you. This may mean that you do not bond as wholly with your pet as you may like; therefore, your sugar glider may not seem as tame as you expected it to be.

Keeping your sugar gliders outdoors may mean you must apply more time and effort to bond with them.

The Cons For Your Sugar Glider 

1. Exposure To The Elements

Outside, your sugar glider will be exposed to the elements in all their glory, rain or sunshine. Outside is more than adequate for your sugar glider if you live in a temperate or tropical climate. They are comfortable in ambient temperatures of between 64°F and 75°F (18°C – 24°C) (Cheek, 2017).

It would be difficult to provide a shelter with adequate insulation or heating to keep your pet warm outdoors in colder regions. On the flip side, living in scorching areas will predispose sugar gliders to hyperthermia if kept outdoors. 

Pet Vet Tip: To read more on how to keep your sugar glider warm in winter (aimed at indoor sugar gliders), have a look at this article.

2. Higher Risk For Internal Parasites (Worms)

In Australia, sugar gliders have been shown to be prone to a helminth infection through exposure to as little as six infective larvae of the nematode, Parastrongyloides trichosuri (Nolan et al., 2007).

While this nematode is not prevalent in any other parts of the world besides Australia & New Zealand, Sugar gliders are exotic species in many areas, and so it is not known if they are susceptible to other weird and wonderful parasites that may have their life cycle in an outdoor enclosure. 

For this reason, sugar gliders kept in an outdoor enclosure should be dewormed every three months.

3. Higher Risk Of Predation

When designing your enclosure, you must ensure that your sugar glider cannot become prey to the likes of owls, cats, or anything else that may see it as a mid-day or midnight snack.

Having them in an outdoor enclosure increases their risk of becoming prey compared to keeping them indoors. So, again, it would be recommended to research how to build an adequate enclosure to keep them safe. 

Pet Vet Tip: Have any other pets in your yard? Check out this article to see how they will get along with sugar gliders.

The Final Verdict

In summary, housing sugar gliders outside will offer them more space to express natural behavior without bothering their owners. However, outdoor enclosures will also mean that your sugar gliders will be exposed to the elements, parasites, and predators.

For these reasons, keeping your sugar gliders outside should only be considered if you live in a temperate environment where the temperature rarely ever drops below 50°F (10°C), and if it does, be sure to have a suitable indoor enclosure to house them while the temperatures are low.

In addition, you must have a secure enclosure that will keep your sugar gliders safe from predators and other pets.

You can look up resources on how to construct a suitable enclosure for your pet where all of its needs are met as well as your own. Some guidelines can be found in the following:

  • Sugar Gliders by R. Booth in Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine 2003 Vol. 12 Issue 4 Pages 228-231. 
  • Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician by B. B. a. R. Cheek, Publisher: Blackwell Publishing 2017 Third eds. 
  • SUGAR GLIDERS Living and caring for sugar gliders. Is this the right pet for you? By Peggy Brewer, 2007

Finally, If you would like to read more on how to tell whether your sugar glider is happy and how to calm a stressed sugar glider, have a look at articles linked on each topic. These articles will also help you make an informed decision on the ideal husbandry practices for your sugar gliders.


  • BOOTH, R. 2003. Sugar gliders. Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine, 12, 228.
  • CHEEK, B. B. A. R. 2017. Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician, Blackwell Publishing.
  • NOLAN, T. J., ZHU, X., KETSCHEK, A., COLE, J., GRANT, W., LOK, J. B. & SCHAD, G. A. 2007. The Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps): A Laboratory Host for the Nematode Parastrongyloides trichosuri. The Journal of Parasitology, 93, 1084-1089.

Dr. Annerien de Villiers

Dr. Annerien de Villiers graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Pretoria in 2018. She has since worked full-time in clinical practice tending to all kinds of companion animals in general practice. Serving the human-animal bond with care and compassion and making accurate information accessible to pet owners is at the heart of her driving force as a veterinarian.

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