Do sugar gliders like to be held and how to bond with them? What do they want and need? – Most New Sugar Glider Owners
It’s difficult to think whether our domesticated furry friends like to be held or not because of how they behave.
So, in this guide, I’ll give you the information you need about caring, bonding, and maintaining them!
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Do Sugar Gliders Like to Be Held and Cuddle?
Do sugar gliders like to be held and how to bond with them. Yes, in fact, these creatures are clingy and always want attention, but you must bond with them first.
Individual sugar gliders express their thoughts and emotions differently, even if they’re living in the same habitat.
My beloved glider seeks attention by biting or nipping its cage constantly.
The other glider I own is one of the most curious animals in the world. It usually taps its food bowl or other food dishes inside the cage to let me know that I need to open it.
Signs Your Sugar Glider Wants Attention
Like my gliders, yours too will give you signs when they want your attention. Some of the most common ones are:
- They come closer instead of crabbing or shying away when you approach 
- Nipping or biting you playfully
- Chirping or making cute sounds
“Social interaction is very important for sugar gliders’ mental health and they should not be
kept alone!,” says Amanda Zellar, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). 
Check this video out from Sugar Glider Diaries as she discusses the different ways you can bond with your gliders!
Do They Like to Cuddle?
Sugar gliders are social, clingy, and interactive creatures, and they won’t appreciate it if you ignore their signs when they want you to take them out.
They’re absolutely affectionate animals, so be sure to bond with them whenever they feel like doing so.
My personal routine for this is that when I take them out, I play and bond with them. I let other people in the house they’re comfortable with interact with them, too.
These times are what I consider perfect for removing rust from sugar glider cage bars, as well as spot cleaning all accessories inside the metal cage.
They’re clean animals and ensuring their habitat is clean will get you a long way to winning them over.
How Can You Bond With Your Pet Sugar Gliders? How Long Does It Take?
Bonding with your gliders depends on their age in weeks and months. This means, there are things you can do with an adult male and female sugar gliders that you can’t do with baby sugar gliders.
As sugar glider owners, you need to be well educated when it comes to your furry, loving, relatively low-maintenance pet.
So, here’s a quick rundown of the activities I do (and suggest that you do too) to bond with your captive sugar gliders.
Baby Sugar Glider Bonding
Bonding with baby sugar gliders can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, so be patient. The best time for bonding with baby sugar gliders is when they are 8 to 12 weeks old.
This is the usual time when we purchase them from breeders or from pet stores or pet shops.
If it’s your first time bringing them home, do not try touching them for the first three (3) days. They need to settle into their new home.
I started holding and bonding with mine after a week of it staying inside its cage.
You can talk to them softly from time to time, while they’re trying to familiarize themselves with the new environment. For the first 2 days, your ONLY job is to give them food and water.
Start the process with these tips:
- Study and follow their lead.
- Give them snacks and treats frequently, but do not overdo it.
- Place the cage for sugar gliders inside a room where they won’t be bothered, but accessible enough for them to see you.
- Talk softly, while facing them directly, but don’t touch them – don’t even touch the cage.
I usually leave a new glider inside the cage at night so that it won’t feel like I’m forcing it to bond with me; this is where “allowing them to take the lead” comes into play.
Young Adult Sugar Glider Bonding
After about a month, try holding them while they are inside their habitats.
There are many cages for sugar gliders that have enough room for you to be able to hold and play with them while they’re inside.
Sugar gliders are social animals, and they love to hang out with both their fellow gliders and their human caretakers.
During their young adult period, their familiarity with you should already be above average. You can start holding and touching them for about 10 minutes per day, getting progressively longer.
Furthermore, you can also place your sugar glider in pouch if you want to bond with them without agitating them too much.
These are pouches you can purchase from pet stores and pet shops, as well as online stores dedicated to pets and domestic animals.
Adult Sugar Glider Bonding
When they start to grow older and become adults, then they should already be familiar with you. My pet glider already had its own daytime and nighttime routines when it was just 14 weeks old!
I did my best to get them comfortable with me and with other people inside the house by constantly engaging with them calmly and carefully.
They’re nocturnal animals, so if you catch them sleeping during the day, don’t sacrifice their sleep just so you can bond with them.
When you notice that they’re awake, be gentle and sweet –just like how you please a 5-year-old child.
This is the time when you can use a bonding pouch, twice (2) a day for about ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes and play with them regularly.
Place Them in a Larger Cage With Another Sugar Glider
One thing that can increase the trust your sugar glider has in you is to add other healthy gliders inside the cage.
For this, you’ll need a larger cage than the one you already have (if it’s just for a single glider).
The habitat I used when I increased my gliders to two (2) and then three (3) is a 20” x 20” x 30” metal cage (20 inches deep), and it has since been effective in keeping my furry friends sane.
I was able to recycle an old one, and I maximized some of my used sugar glider cages and reassembled them. Which was a great way to keep costs down.
FUN FACT: Sugar gliders usually like balling up inside a shirt pocket because of their warmth, comfort, and coziness.
3 Tips to Get Your Gliders to Warm Up to You, Bond, and Trust you
While not all sugar gliders bond and interact the same way, here are three (3) helpful foolproof tips I’ve picked up in my years of experience to let your gliders warm up and be comfortable with you.
1. Respect Their Actions
Do they shy and crab away from you when you approach? If they do, respect their actions. Refrain from forcing them to bond with you whenever they do not feel like it.
Wait for them to initiate the cuddling –it shouldn’t take them long anyways!
2. Spend Time Around Them
Even if they don’t want to cuddle, you can make your presence known even while your gliders are inside the metal cage.
Make it a habit to treat them like a friend or a baby. Talk to them softly and be sure that they’re seeing you most hours of the day.
3. Always Offer Treats
Lastly, give them treats to let them know they’re doing a good job! When I’m starting with a new addition, I always offer treats to my gliders when they:
- Don’t shy away when I approach
- Do not bite or nip my finger when I try to interact with them
- Drink and eat their entire portions from their bowls
You can do the same thing or set up a different reward method. Regardless of what it is, make sure that they’re recognizing it as a “reward.”
Nothing Works, My Glider is Still Uncomfortable, What Should I Do?
As I mentioned above, not all sugar gliders are bred and nurtured the same way.
There are those that could just take a few days to be comfortable with their sugar glider owners, while there are gliders that can take weeks –even months.
I was lucky to have playful, sweet, and charming gliders early in our relationship. They sent signs of warmth and comfort during the first two (2) days of living in their new home.
When they do progress, play with them, interact with them, place them inside a bonding pouch and carry them around – treat them like a baby.
Don’t worry, though, taming your sugar glider is a marathon, it’s not a sprint. The slower and more stable you go, the better and healthier your relationship will be.
Lianne McLeod, DVM, said that you need to be wary of your glider for the sounds it produces.
“They’ll usually give audible warnings when they’re angry, agitated, or afraid. However, you should always refrain from waking them up during sleep.” – Editor note: source of this quote is not linked/cited and I can’t find it
Here’s a video from sugarglidervet explaining the best ways of handling sugar gliders.
ALSO READ: Removing Rust From Sugar Glider Cage Bars Tutorial
Need more help with your furry friends? Here are some of the most asked questions about it.
Are Sugar Gliders Clingy?
Yes, they are. In fact, they’re one of the clingiest and neediest creatures I’ve met and they rarely want to be alone.
This is why it’s important to keep them company by adding another glider inside their habitat.
Can You Carry Sugar Gliders Around With You?
Yes, you can do so if you curl them up and put them inside your pocket or if you use a bonding pouch.
Do Sugar Gliders Like to Be Held and How to Bond With Them?
Yes, gliders like to be held after you’ve bonded with them. Start the process slowly by talking to them gently without touching them. Then when they are comfortable increase the contact.
In case you want to know how to bond with them or if you’re looking for an answer to the question “do sugar gliders like to be held,” then this guide was for you. Bonding is the key.
I’ve included all the things you need to know to make sure that you keep your glider healthy, socially responsive, and psychologically engaged.
How do you bond with your glider?
How did you bond with your sugar glider? Let us know in the comment section below!
- Jess, Author Dr. “What Is Sugar Glider Crabbing?” Vet Explains Pets, 6 Oct. 2020, vetexplainspets.com/sugar-glider-crabbing/#:~:text=Crabbing%20is%20just%20a%20big. Accessed 3 Apr. 2022.
- Zellar, Amanda. Sugar Gliders Petaurus Breviceps. pinetreeveterinaryhospital.com
Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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