Is a sugar glider harness dangerous? Depending on who you ask, you’ll get wildly contrasting answers.
Some glider parents will say they are safe to a degree. Some will give you a look of disdain and ask why you would need to do that to a pet so cute? Honestly, it’s a divisive issue.
What is the truth about getting a glider leash, though? I went looking for answers, and here is what I found.
What Is a Glider Harness?
A harness for a glider is a type of leash or rope you attach to your glider for when you take them out for a walk. The harness goes over the neck and torso to enable you to control them like you would a dog.
Most of these harnesses are made from a cheap rope which most vendors claim is glider safe.
When you buy a glider, you need to know that it’s impossible to grasp all the aspects of glider ownership.
So I understand if most people don’t know about a harness and whether it is safe for a glider.
CHECK: Sugar Glider Starter Kit
Are Harnesses Dangerous for gliders?
Most harnesses you can find will be labeled as glider safe. That could mean you don’t have to worry about glider safety when you use them.
Is that the case, though? Unfortunately not.
Although there is no documented evidence of the effects of harnesses on gliders, many owners online say harnesses are dangerous.
This term paper  is the closest evidence I got that harnesses could be dangerous. In the term paper posted on a popular glider community forum, the writer says leashes and harnesses can cause different glider injuries.
Although no respected glider vet has spoken of the effects of sugar glider leashes, most owners vehemently oppose their use online.
Check this video where an owner says harnesses aren’t a good idea for a glider.
She talks about the leash at 14:39. No type of leash could be safe to use for a glider.
There are many safe products for gliders, but harnesses aren’t one of them. Why is that, though?
What Happens When You Use a Harness?
It would be best never to use a leash or harness on your glider because you risk injuring them.
Since gliders are pretty small, you’ll need a tight leash. Granted, most leashes have a considerable adjustable neck circumference. But then the glider’s body is too small to have the leash hold loosely (2).
Insisting on using a harness could result in a neck injury or patagium damage. The animal leash will injure the fragile skin membrane that extends from the hind to the front legs of a glider.
Dr. Robert Ness of the Ness Exotic Wellness center says gliders need ample space to be happy. With a lease, the little ample space and restrictions will stress them.
If they can’t fully extend their patagia, they will try to get out of the leash, hurting themselves. Patagia( singular patagium) are special skin membranes that critters use for mobility (3).
Repair of patagium will set you back a good amount in veterinary visits(4). Add to that the horror from seeing your Shuggie on an operation table, something most sugar glider owners wouldn’t want to experience.
It isn’t only the risk of patagium injuries that should worry you, though. Leashes are also a significant threat to the critter’s spinal health too. The glider’s neck will also suffer if you use a harness.
The constant pressure on the neck region will hurt the smooth muscles around the neck. There is a better way to care for sugar gliders, and using a harness isn’t one of them.
Check out what this Tiktoker has to say about the harness.
@alexinwonderland24 Reply to @natalie_c02 #sugarglidersoftiktok #sugarglider #sugargliders #fypシ #exoticanimals #sugargliderlove #exoticpets #sugarglidercare ♬ Worship Instrumental – Instrumental – Adrian Jonathan
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do Some glider owners Insist on Using Harnesses?
Such owners feel they need the harnesses to fully domesticate the gliders and avoid them gliding away when they are on a walk. The best way is to have a glider playroom or proof your home for your fur baby.
Are collars okay for use on sugar gliders?
Collars aren’t as bad as harnesses. They help prevent the glider from self-mutilating or exacerbating an injured body part. Self-mutilation is a common behavioral disorder in gliders (5).
Is a sugar glider harness dangerous? Yes, it is. Never use a harness on your glider, no matter the circumstances. If you take them for a walk, use sugar glider pouches rather than a harness.
It wouldn’t feel so good if someone tied you with a rope that restricts your movement, would it? Now think about your cute baby and how a harness would cause problems.
Do you use a harness for your glider? Please share below!
- 1. Sugar Glider Facts. Animals. Published December 14, 2018. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/sugar-glider
- 2. Patagium – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. www.sciencedirect.com. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/veterinary-science-and-veterinary-medicine/patagium
- 3. Sugar gliders (Proceedings). DVM 360. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.dvm360.com/view/sugar-gliders-proceedings
- 4. ID T. Sugar Glider Vet Ohio, Sugar Glider Veterinarian. Exotic Pet Vets. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.exoticpetvets.com/pet-care/pocket-pet-vet/sugar-glider-vet/#:~:text=Sugar%20Gliders%20may%20self%2Dmutilate
- 5. Sugar Gliders – Exotic and Laboratory Animals. MSD Veterinary Manual. https://www.msdvetmanual.com/exotic-and-laboratory-animals/sugar-gliders/sugar-gliders#v11127709
- 6. GliderGossip – College Glider Paper (completed). www.sugarglider.com. Accessed May 24, 2022. http://www.sugarglider.com/glidergossip/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=53710&whichpage=1
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