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Are Sugar Gliders difficult to breed?Not at all, mainly because they spend most of their infancy in their mother's pouch. The whole group can be left together during the pregnancy and birthing. The mother seems to lose interest after giving birth, but the male kicks right in and does most of the feeding from then on. Breeding occurs during the winter and spring months, with two young being the normal litter size. Young spend about 70 days in the pouch before being left in the nest. Longevity in the wild is up to 9 years. Like many species, longevity can be longer (up to 12 years) in captivity.
Overview of the birthing processMost Sugar Gliders will begin breeding somewhere between 7 months to a year, with some waiting until they are 13 to 14 months old. They will mate year round, provided they have enough protein. They usually have 2 babies at a time, 4 to 6 babies a year, if weanlings are removed after independent. The gestation period is short -- about 16 days. Once birthed they are carried in the maternal pouch for 2.5 to 3 months. The male may remain with the female throughout the entire birthing process, but it is best to simply leave the mother alone during this period. When they are out of the pouch, covered with fur, have their eyes open and have been eating solid food for 3-4 weeks they are 3/4 grown, independent and ready to ween. At this time, they can be gently handled for short periods of time. Just be sure that they are getting plenty of fruit & protein and are handled gently. Be sure not to remove them from the pouch before this time because once they are removed from the nipple, they cannot reattach themselves. When they are weaned, they should be gently handled frequently and gently, if they are to be pets.
How do I feed the newborns?The newborns should be eating semi-solid foods such as low- fat fruit yogurts and baby foods until they are around 3 months old, when they can start gradually recieving solid foods. See our SUGAR GLIDER FOOD department for suggestions.
When should they be removed from the parents?Usually between 2.5 to 3 months of age is the best time. The change in the colony size affects the babies and the parents, so they maybe stressed for a few days after the break-up. Females usually are aggressive toward female babies after they are older than 3 months, but males are usually ignored.
Do I need a license to breed Sugar Gliders?Last year (2007)the USDA lightened their requirements for USDA licensure. The old rules required that anyone breeding and selling sugar gliders must be licensed. The new rules allow up to three breeding females without licensure. In my opinion this has had a huge impact, not so much in the amount of sugar gliders being sold, but more the amount of sugar gliders being sold by unlicensed and many times inexperienced people that pass along misinformation.
Sugar glider nursing supplies are listed in the NURSING BABY SUPPLIES department (see link on left of this page)
Breeding Sugar gliders is a rewarding and memorable experience. Here is a 'run down' of a few things to think about when considering breeding...
Colony Breeding vs Breeding in Pairs:
There are two ways of breeding Sugar gliders, they can be breed in pairs or trios, or they can be bred in colonies of up to 12 in a communal large aviary type cage. There are advantages and disadvantages of both approaches. Colony breeding will not produce as many babies as would breeding in pairs and trios. Babies tend to not get the protective care when in colonies as they would if in pairs or trios. There is a higher rate of babies disappearing in colonies. You have to assume that they have been eaten. The best way to go about colony breeding is to assemble multiple female sugar gliders (10) and one or two males. One male Sugar glider can impregnate up to 12 females, so extra males are not necessary to take up room in the cage. The issue you may find is that it is difficult to assemble that many females. Breeders are reluctant to part with there baby producing stock, and tend to sell more males than females. One male Sugar glider will tend to become dominant, and do all the breeding, the rest of the males become redundant. You will also have a hard time selling babies that are not related, since most will have the same father. With pair and trio breeding, it is much easier to keep track or the babies, easier to separate breeding lines, and easier to keep track of how much the babies are eating.
Although there is an advantage of housing many Sugar gliders together in a colony (easier to feed & clean when all in one cage). There are more advantages from a breeding prospective using the pair or trio method.
Keep records - It is necessary to record health, litter size, fertility, parenting ability and temperament. This will allow you to determine which gliders are the best to keep in your breeding population.
Colony Housing - Colony cages should be a minimum of 4' x 4' x 7' Here is an example of a colony cage. There should also be multiple feeding and watering stations throughout the cage. Make sure that there are multiple doors, some large and some small, so that you can access the cage without the gliders escaping. Hang multiple nesting pouches throughout the cage, and supply climbing branches and multiple exercise wheels for the gliders.
Dietary requirements for Breeders:
It is strongly suggested that you increase the protein intake of your breeding stock. You can accomplish this by adding live, canned or dried insect to the diet. Insect-Eater Diet is a good addition and contains whole insects to increase the protein content of the diet. The addition of a multi-Vitamin and calcium supplement is also recommended for pregnant or lactating females. Our recommendation is adding Glider Booster to the diet as a multi-vitamin and Glider-Cal as a calcium supplement.
If you wish to breed more than 3 females; write to either:
US Dept. of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Regulatory Enforcement and Animal Care Central Sector P.O. Box 6258 Ft. Worth, TX 76115-6258
US Dept. of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Regulatory Enforcement and Animal Care Sector Supervisor 2568-A Riva Road, Suite 302 Annapolis, MD 21401-7400 and ask for information on how to get licensed to raise and sell exotics.
Allow us to help you with your Sugar glider husbandry issues. The informative pages listed in our department titled 'Educational Articles' contain quality information to guide you in the care and raising of your pet Sugar gliders. Take the time to read through this important information, preferably before you purchase a pet Sugar Glider. Articles on Sugar glider food, Sugar glider cages, and suggested Veterinarians are listed, along with breeding information and purchasing guides. Being informed on the care and breeding of Sugar gliders will benefit both you, and your new pets. It will also help you avoid health issues with your Sugar Gliders in the future.
Fun Tunnel (Small)
Glider Booster (Multivitamin) 2 oz.
Come-A-Long Carrier (Small)
Cozy Cube / CHEETAH
No Mess Feeding Station
Abutilon Cage Plant
Glider-Cal (Calcium Supplement) 3.5 oz.
Mixed Fruit Gumivore-Fare
Pureayre - Odor Eliminator