Food For Sugar Gliders

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We love our food with sugar gliders, but we don’t always have time to prepare special foods. We have created a blog which focuses on creating healthy meals that meet the nutritional requirements of these amazing animals. We hope you enjoy it!

Food For Sugar Gliders

Sugar gliders are small marsupials that live in Australia and New Guinea. They are also popular exotic pets that are kept around the world. These creatures are known for the thin membrane between their “wrists” and ankles that allows them to jump from heights and glide for up to 100 feet before reaching the round. As tiny, energetic marsupials, we have to ask, what do sugar gliders eat?

Discover the different foods these creatures love to eat while they’re in the wild, how they manage to find foods, and the best ways to keep them properly fed as pets.

What Foods Do Sugar Gliders Eat?

What Do Sugar Gliders Eat
Sugar gliders eat tree sap, insects, fruits, and tree gum in the wild.A-Z-Animals.com

Sugar gliders eat insects, tree sap, pollen, fruits, and small reptiles. They are omnivorous marsupials that stick to different diets at various times throughout the year, depending on what’s available. Sugar gliders get their name partially for their penchant for eating sweet foods, including the sap and gum of certain trees, and for their gliding abilities.

As pets, their foods must be equally diverse, taking into account their specific dietary needs.

Take a look at some of the common foods that sugar gliders consume:

Best Sugar Glider Cages
  • Acacia gum
  • Eucalyptus sap
  • Honeydew
  • Pollen
  • Beetles
  • Spiders
  • Small birds
  • Bird eggs
  • Acacia seeds
  • Nectar
  • Fungi
  • Mealworms
  • Crickets
  • Kiwi
  • Moths
  • Earthworms
  • Cicada

These foods represent the most significant elements of a sugar glider’s diet in the wild. They are nutritious and provide the sugar glider with the energy it needs to be continually active.

The only problem with this diet is that sugar gliders are popular exotic pets, and it’s tough for people to replicate this diet in captivity.

How Do Sugar Gliders Find Food?

Sugar glider on a stump / Petaurus breviceps
Sugar gliders use their night vision, hearing, and gliding to find food.LesPalenik/Shutterstock.com

Sugar gliders are small marsupials, weighing less than half a pound and only about 8 inches in length most as adults. However, their bodies are specialized to help them find food in unique conditions. After all, these creatures are an interesting mix between nocturnal hunters and sap eaters.

The sugar glider’s relatively large eyes facilitate great night vision, claws for climbing, and ears that can move independently of one another to pinpoint the location of food and predators alike.

When sugar gliders hunt for prey, they will use their great night vision and hearing to locate insects or even small vertebrates. They’ll wait for their prey to stop moving to feed or rest. Then, they will leap and glide to them using their gliding membranes to coast and their tail to help direct them. They ambush the prey and quickly consume them.

Although they are very effective predators in this respect, the truth is that sugar gliders find most of their food by climbing trees to eat the sap, pollen, or gum that accumulates on them. They use their amazing climbing abilities to reach high places on trees and safely consume food, and they can also flee from predators by leaping and gliding to another tree.

In the wild, sugar gliders can eat between 10-15% of their body weight each day to keep up with their high-energy lifestyle.  

What Do Pet Sugar Gliders Eat?

sugar glider on a branch
Sugar gliders eat insects, Leadbeater’s mix, and commercial food as pets.apiguide/Shutterstock.com

Pet sugar gliders eat insects, invertebrates, fruit, meat, commercial foods, and vegetables. Sugar gliders are common exotic pets around the world, but their natural diet is hard to replicate since they have access to a different set of food in their native lands of Australia and New Guinea compared to the United States.

Some of the most common foods that sugar gliders eat in captivity include:

  • Specialized commercial foods
  • Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Waxworms
  • Leadbeater’s mix (a specialized commercial or homemade meal)
  • Grapes
  • Food pellets
  • Sweet corn
  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Eggs
  • Grapefruit

Keep in mind that these creatures do not eat a lot of food. Most of it will be a mix between commercial food, Leadbeater’s mix, fruits, and insects. When feeding sugar gliders some insects, it is necessary to “gut-load”, or pre-feed, the insects a nutritionally loaded diet before feeding them to the sugar glider.

When caring for these exotic pets, it’s necessary to consult experienced owners and specialists to gain insight on the insights to caring for them.

It is also important to note that not all places around the world allow people to keep sugar gliders or have certain rules for keeping them, such as requiring two or more of the marsupials to live together.

Feeding a Sugar Glider

Sugar gliders are small nocturnal animals originally from the treetops of Australia and New Guinea. Their diet in the wild includes a combination of sweets from the forest, small animals, and insects. Their typical eating patterns in the wild can be hard to mirror when kept as pets, so as a new sugar glider owner you’ll need to know what to feed your glider, how often to feed it, what foods to avoid, and what to do if you notice your sugar glider has stopped eating.

Sugar Glider Diet

A pet sugar glider’s diet should mirror their diet in the wild as much as possible.

What sugar gliders eat. To replicate a natural diet, a pet sugar glider should mostly eat what’s known to veterinarians as Leadbeater’s mixture. This soft mixture, made from meat, eggs, honey, and supplements, can be made at home and frozen in an ice cube tray for easy storage and portioning. Your sugar glider will also need extra nutrients from sugar glider pellets, which can be found at pet stores. Last, sugar gliders need small amounts of fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. It’s important to note that foods with high levels of calcium and oxalates may lead to urinary stones in small animals, like sugar gliders. Experts recommend feeding them low-calcium and low-oxalate greens such as arugula, bibb lettuce, dill, or radicchio.

How much to feed a sugar glider. Sugar gliders need to eat about 15-20% of their weight every day, which isn’t much since they only weigh between 3-5 ounces. This comes down to about ¼ to ½ of an ice cube of Leadbeater’s, about a teaspoon of nutritional pellets, and 2-3 teaspoons of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. You can also give your sugar glider some mealworms or corn as a treat.

How much water do sugar gliders need? Constant access to fresh, filtered water is important for keeping your sugar glider healthy. Provide your sugar glider water in a bottle that they can drink out of whenever they are thirsty.

What Foods to Avoid Giving Your Sugar Glider

As with many pets, there are several foods humans enjoy that can harm sugar gliders. In addition to foods high in oxalates (including spinach, kale, chard, and collard greens), which can be harmful over a long period of time, some foods can cause more immediate health problems. If you let your sugar glider roam free, make sure these foods are put away and out of reach so your glider doesn’t accidentally get into them. If your glider does get into these foods, consult a veterinarian. These include:

  • Chocolate
  • Dairy
  • Foods treated with pesticides
  • Berries such as raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries
  • Fruits such as pears and figs
  • Vegetables such as carrots and beets

FOOD AND DIET

Sugar gliders require a varied diet that consists of a variety of vegetables, fruits, and basic staple. Here at NH Sugar Gliders we use HPW original (see below for instruction on how to make a batch).

Fruits and veggies should be served nightly and a variety should be given. Good nightly choices include collard greens, green beans, kale and cucumber. Peas and corn are good choices but are best for alternative nights and no more than twice a week as it can give them an upset stomach.

Good fruits include apple, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, mango and papaya, try not to give the same every night, variety is important to get a good balance of nutrients.

Freddie and Sophie

Each sugar glider needs about a tablespoon each of fruits and veggies every night. Fresh is best, but frozen is also good, dried all natural is fine occasionally, but keep in mind gliders get a lot of moisture from their fruits and veggies. Never ever give canned produce.

Meal worms(dried or live), yoggies, fresh eucalytus and dried fruit make great treats.

Sugar Gliders love chicken as an occasional treat and it’s a great source of protein, always boil any chicken in a pan of water until thoroughly cooked, if feeding a knuckle bone always supervise and never feed any small bones and NEVER EVER baked, roasted or otherwise cooked, must be boiled to soften.

HPW Original Instructions

Your suggie will go home with a bag of HPW powder, add honey, bottled water and 3 eggs to make up your first batch.


A single batch is enough for 2 sugar gliders for approximately 6 weeks.

1. Scramble 3 eggs being careful not to overcook them. Do not use oil or seasonings in your egg or any glider food. Put eggs to one side to cool.

2. Heat 2 cups of bottled water in a large jug or mixing bowl until it is warm but not hot, then add your 1.5 cups of honey and stir until completely mixed together.

3. Get your blender and add your 3 scrambled eggs, about a quarter of your honey water and blend on high for about 1 minute so the egg becomes liquified with honey water.

4. Add your pouch of wombaroo supplement powder and another quarter of the honey water and blend on high for another minute to incorporate the powder into the mixture.

5. Finally add the remaining honey water and blend for one more minute.

6. Pour into a large Tupperware container and place in the freezer. The mixture will take about 12-24 hours to freeze and will become the consistency of ice cream.

7. You will serve 1 tablespoon of this mix PER sugar glider every night with their fruits and veggies in a separate dish. Small heavy ceramic dishes work great as they won’t tip over.

Glider Safe Fruits and Vegetables List

Sugar Gliders should be fed a wide variety of fruits and vegetables along with their staple OHPW diet.  Every night serve 1 tablespoon of fruits and 1 tablespoon of vegetables per glider.  Only use fresh or frozen produce and remove in the morning to prevent spoiling.  The highlighted fruits and vegetables are the ones we use frequently here at NH Sugar Gliders and that our gliders are used to being fed. Berries are a favorite fruit and green beans a favorite vegetable.

Fruits

Apples, Apricots, Asian Pear, Advocado, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Carambola, Carissa, Casaba Melon, Cherimoya, Cherries(sweet), Coconut, Crab Apples, Cranberries, Currants, Custard Apples, Dates, Elderberries, Figs, Gooseberries, Grapefruit, Grapes(green seedless), Guava, Honeydew, Jackfruit, Java Plum, Jujube, Kiwi, Kumquat, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin oranges, Mango, Mulberries, Nectarine, Oranges, Papaya, Passion Fruit, Peaches, Pears, Persimmon, Pineapple, Plantain, Plums, Pomegranate, Prickly Pear, Prunes, Pummelo, Quince, Raisins, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangerine, Tomato, Watermelon.

Vegetables

Alfalfa Sprouts, Artichoke, Asparagas, Baby Carrots, Bamboo Shoots, Beet Greens, Beets, Black Eyed Peas, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chicory Greens, Chinese Cabbage, Collard Greens, Corn, Chick Peas, Cucumber(skin on), Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Endive, French Beans, Ginger Root, Green Beans, Green PepperJicama, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Okra, Peas, Potato, Pumpkin, Radish, Red Peppers (sweet), Rutabagas, Snow Peas, Okra, Spinach, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, TurnipTurnip Greens, Watercress, Winter Squash, Yams, Yellow Wax Beans, Zucchini.

Adam eating blackberry

BML Diet for Sugar Gliders

The Bourbon’s Modified Leadbeater’s sugar glider diet (BML) is a version of the original Leadbeater’s Diet, a well-known diet for pet sugar gliders. Even though the BML diet is widely accepted and you can make it easily at home, new research on sugar glider nutrition has shown best outcomes for health in these species with a base diet of insectivore type food, mainly pellet form, supplemented with BML on the side and in moderation.

The BML diet for sugar gliders should not be used in conjunction with other formulated diets, such as Brisky’s Sugar Glider food or Sunseed Sugar Glider Formula. It can be paired with insectivore based foods, though, and is recommended.

After preparing a batch of the BML diet, you will have a real meal time saver on your hands since this recipe will create ready-to-serve cubes of food that you can feed to your sugar glider each day.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Blender
  • 2 ice cube trays

Materials

  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup honey (do not use raw or unfiltered)
  • 1 hard-boiled egg (shell removed)
  • 4 ounces Gerber Yogurt and Juice Blend (Banana or Mixed Fruit, or substitute 2 ounces plain yogurt and 2 ounces mixed fruit juice)
  • 1 teaspoon Rep-Cal Herptivite Vitamin Supplement (blue label)
  • 2 Rep-Cal Calcium Supplement Non-Phosphorous with Vitamin D3 (pink label)
  • 2 jars chicken baby food (5 ounces total)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup Gerber dry baby cereal (mixed or oatmeal, but most sugar gliders prefer the rice with fruit flavors)

Instructions

  1. Mix IngredientsBlend the honey, egg, and apple juice in a blender until it is smooth.
  2. Add More Ingredients and BlendTurn off the blender and add the Gerber juice and the Rep-cal Herptivite Vitamin Supplement. Blend the mixture until it is smooth and then turn off the blender again.
  3. Add More Ingredients and Blend AgainAdd the Rep-cal Calcium Supplement (​buy from Amazon), the chicken baby food, wheat germ, and dry baby cereal. One last time, blend it until it is smooth.https://ce3be07a5435f29d81ade69a65640f70.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
  4. Fill Ice Cube Tray and FreezePour the mixture into regular size ice cube trays, filling each compartment only halfway. Then place the half-filled ice cube trays in the freezer.
  5. Allow to Cube to Melt Before Feeding
    Once the mixture is frozen, simply place one cube of the BML diet in your sugar glider’s food dish a few hours earlier than feeding time (which is typically in the evening) to allow the cube to melt a bit. Remove it the following morning to avoid any food spoilage or attracting any unwanted insects.The BML diet should be fed along with fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables at each meal. If you are using frozen food items then you can place them in the food dish at the same time as the frozen cube of BML diet to allow everything to thaw together. By the time your sugar glider is ready to eat, its food will be soft.

Portion Size and Complete Meals

A full ice cube equals about 2 tablespoons and the BML diet should be served in 1 tablespoon increments, along with 1 tablespoon fresh or frozen fruit and 1 tablespoon fresh or frozen vegetables each evening. This is why you only fill the ice cube tray compartments halfway with the BML diet when you are preparing it. Smaller ice cube trays that can be fully filled are also available if you’d prefer those.

Small snacks, such as mealworms, fresh fruit, or treats may be offered mid-day along with this diet if your sugar glider is extra hungry but the recipe for the BML diet itself should not be altered.

Sugar Glider Dietary Needs

Sugar gliders have very specific dietary requirements that keep them healthy and happy. A diet lacking in calcium and appropriate vitamins, for example, may contribute to your sugar glider developing metabolic bone disease (MBD), like reptiles commonly get, and make their legs more prone to fracturing.1 Diets lacking in honey or sugary nectar (which they eat regularly in the wild and are named after) do not provide enough energy for sugar gliders who need it for all the jumping and gliding that they do. They may not be as active, mentally stimulated, and strong without it.

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