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Sugar gliders are small, social, exotic animals that form tight-knit family bonds with members of their colonies and their human counterparts. In some cases, they may also form bonds with other animals in the home. Sugar gliders can get along with other pets in the house; however, caution should be taken to ensure the safety of the sugar glider and the other pet.
Depending on the dog or cat’s temperament, sugar gliders typically can get along with dogs and cats. Still, the initial introduction to an animal species that could be considered a predator by your sugar glider will inevitably cause stress initially as they will likely fear for their life at the first introduction.
In the case of other small exotic pets, sugar gliders may get along with some of the more docile exotic species, such as rabbits. However, it is not ideal to house sugar gliders with other exotic pet species. Instead, sugar gliders should be kept in enclosures with other sugar gliders (groups of two or more) and no other exotic pet species.
Can Cats And Sugar Gliders Get Along?
The first point of concern when it comes to the relationship between cats and sugar gliders is the fact that cats are hunters by instinct, and even if it feels strange to think of your fluffy kitty being a predator, the fact remains that sugar gliders are much lower on the food chain compared to cats.
Sugar gliders are highly energetic – crawling and gliding all over the place, inside and outside their cage. Unfortunately, this movement of the sugar gliders can evoke the hunting instinct of even the most docile cats, and the cat may chase or take a swipe at the sugar glider leading to significant or even fatal injury.
In addition, sugar gliders release a strong odor, making it easy for the cat to find even if your sugar glider is hiding in an inconspicuous spot in the room.
It is, however, possible for cats and sugar gliders to get along in the same household if all the required safety measures are adhered to.
Introducing your sugar glider to your cat should be done slowly and carefully. It is helpful to let the cat close to the cage to gauge the interest your cat has toward the sugar glider and to monitor the reaction of the glider. If either animal exhibits signs of anxiousness or gets spooked, remove the cat from the room and try again at a later stage. This process will cost you lots of time and patience.
You can also carry your sugar glider around the house in your top shirt pocket or bonding pouch to acquaint the sugar glider with the sight and scent of the cat. If the cat is overly interested in the sugar glider, place the sugar glider back in the cage and ensure the cat cannot enter the room where the gliders are kept.
You may have more success in achieving a harmonious relationship between your sugar glider and a cat if you get a kitten and let the kitten grow up in the constant presence of your sugar glider.
As with humans, cats have different personalities and temperaments. Overly energetic cats, which tend to bring “gifts” like dead creatures, may not be compatible with sugar gliders. The sugar gliders can be perceived as prey by your cat, which can have grave consequences.
Constantly monitor that the sugar gliders are safe and comfortable in their cage and that the cat is not engaging in ways that put the sugar gliders at risk.
Can Dogs And Sugar Gliders Get Along?
Dogs are social, loving, and loyal animals. It is not unusual for dogs to be able to live peacefully with other animals in the home, such as cats, birds, and even some exotic pets. In addition, dogs are highly trainable, making it easier for your dog and sugar glider to coexist.
Similar to introducing your sugar glider and cat, a lot of caution and patience is required for the safety and well-being of your sugar glider. It is helpful to have an extra pair of hands when introducing your sugar glider to your dog. One should hold the dog on a leash, and the other person should hold the sugar glider.
If the dog becomes aggressive or too excited, get the dog to move back and take a breather. If the sugar glider or the dog is not doing well, stop the process and try again on a different day.
Introducing your dog to your sugar glider can be easier in an already well-trained, receptive dog or in the case of a young puppy that grows up around the sugar glider.
It is also valuable to consider the breed of your dog. Some dog breeds are used for herding and guarding livestock; therefore, they may have a gentler temperament toward other animals in the home and be protective of them. Other dog breeds used for hunting may not be suitable to live with other animals in the house.
Generally, toy breeds and dogs from the non-sporting group will be a better bet to get along with sugar gliders. Dogs such as bulldogs, Pomeranians, Pyrenees, and Maltese are all breeds that are known to have a low prey drive. Even if your dog falls into this category by breed, I would still carefully consider whether your dog does indeed follow the breed guidelines. Not all dogs read the breed guidelines; the same goes for mixed breeds.
Can Sugar Gliders Share Their Cage With Other Exotic Pets?
Generally speaking, if your hamster, bunny, or rat gets along with its kind, it will probably get along with an animal of a different species. Other exotic pets and sugar gliders might get along very well.
It is important to note that although the different species might get along well during a play session, putting them in the same cage to live together is not a good idea. You may, however, have them living in different cages in the same room.
Mice are very social and tend to be happier when living with other companions, whereas hamsters are more solitary. Some breeds, such as the Syrian hamster, readily fight to the death when kept in the same cage. Rats are very territorial and can be highly aggressive to other exotic species and even each other. Therefore, keeping rats and sugar gliders together is a big no.
Although bunnies and sugar gliders are socially compatible, a bunny can accidentally injure or kill a sugar glider with a misplaced, powerful kick.
Essential Considerations Before Introducing Your Sugar Glider To Other Species
Do you have a suitable cage and room for your sugar glider?
It is a must to have a cage for your sugar gliders that is large enough and secure. There should be no question whether your other pets or small children can open it easily and gain entry. It is also imperative to have a designated room for your sugar gliders that no other animal can enter at free will.
Pet Vet Tip: Thinking of getting a sugar glider for your kid? Read this article before you do!
Do you have the time and patience for the introductory process between your sugar gliders and other pets?
Introducing pets to one another can be a challenging and time-consuming process. You will also need to have a basic knowledge of the general behavior of the species of pets you are dealing with.
More often than not, getting two animals to get along will need multiple, repeated, small steps that usually take many days and weeks to accomplish.
Can you sustainably keep various pets, considering all their housing, social, nutritional, and veterinary needs?
Pets are a source of immeasurable joy in our lives. Unfortunately, pets are expensive and can take up a lot of space. Before acquiring more pets, you need to be sure that you have sufficient space, time, and financial resources to meet your pets’ needs.
In summary, a sugar glider can get along with other pets in the home. However, introducing pets to one another is complex and requires time and patience to get right. Always err on caution and supervise all interactions between different species. If you cannot keep an eye on your pets during playtime, it is better to them away for the time being and resume play when you can be present.
It is also advisable to consult with a veterinarian before adding another pet to the home for advice on safely introducing the animals and creating a healthy, enriching environment for all the animals involved.
- Banks RE, Sharp JM, Doss SD, Vanderford DA. Exotic Small Mammal Care and Husbandry. Durham, NC: Wiley-Blackwell; 2010.
- Dierenfeld, E., 2009. Feeding Behavior and Nutrition of the Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps). Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice, 12(2), pp.209-215.
- Exotic Nutrition. 2022. Housing Your Sugar Gliders with Other Pets.