How to Trim Sugar Glider Nails Safely (Step-by-Step Guide)

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Interested in learning how to trim sugar glider nails?

While it seems daunting at first, it’s actually not that difficult! With a little bit of patience and the right tools, you can easily trim your pet glider’s nails at home.

In this blog post, I share everything you need to know about how to trim sugar glider nails safely, including what supplies you’ll need and step-by-step instructions.

Do Sugar Gliders Need Their Nails Trimmed? 

a sugar glider with white belly

Sugar glider nail trimming is essential for several reasons. For starters, overgrown nails can cause your pet discomfort and make it difficult for them to move around and climb.

Long nails can also get caught on things and rip, which is painful and can lead to infection.

Furthermore, sugar gliders use their nails for self-defense, so keeping them trimmed helps prevent injuries.

Accessories Needed To Trim Your Sugar Glider Nails? 

nail trimming supplies

Before you begin clipping sugar glider nails, you’ll need a few supplies. These will go a long way in making the process as smooth (and painless!) as possible for you and your pet glider. [1]

  • The best sugar glider nail trimming wheel: A trimming wheel is a rotating disc with a hole in the center. It helps to keep your pet sugar glider’s nails short and even.
  • Sugar glider nail trimming perch: This handy tool helps keep pets’ nails filed down with safe sandy material.
  • Styptic powder, flour, or corn starch: These powders will help stop bleeding if you accidentally cut the “quick” (the blood vessel in the nail).
  • Cotton balls: You’ll need a few of these to help clean up any styptic powder on your sugar glider’s fur.
  • Nail trimmers: You’ll need small, sharp nail clippers designed specifically for pets. Do not use a human nail clipper on your pet glider!
  • Sugar glider nail trimming pouch: This provides an easy way to trim your pet glider’s nails by just putting them inside the pouch and trimming the nails that are protruding outside it.

Once you have all of your supplies, you’re ready to start! Below, I show you how to cut sugar glider nails.

Trim Sugar Glider Nails: Step by Step Process

It’s crucial to get your glider used to being handled before you start trimming his nails.

If he’s not used to being touched, he’ll be much more likely to squirm and try to get away from you, resulting in an accidental nail clipping.

Please spend some time each day handling your pet glider so he gets used to being held before attempting to trim his nails. This way, he’s more likely to keep calm during nail trimming.

Here’s a quick and simple video on how to trim your sugar glider’s nails

@sugargliderdiaries You must trim your #sugargliders nails so they don’t get stuck on cage items and injured #sugargliderdiaries ♬ Piano sonata in the style of 18th century classical music … – kenapo

When you and your pet glider are ready, here’s how to trim sugar glider nails in a few simple steps:

1. Wrap the Glider in a Small Towel

towels being hanged in series

Start by wrapping your pet in a small, soft towel like you would a baby. This will help to keep them calm and secure while you trim their nails.

If the glider is squirming a lot, wrap him in a “fleece burrito” by folding a small piece of fleece in half and then rolling them up inside.

This should help to immobilize them so you can trim their nails more easily.

2. Give Your Pet Glider a Treat

sugar glider being offered a treat

A treat will also help keep your pet glider calm while trimming their nails. Try offering them one of their favorite treats, such as a piece of apple or grape, before you begin trimming.

3. Begin Trimming the Nails

Once your glider is wrapped up securely and given a treat, you can begin trimming its nails.

Slowly take one of the glider’s feet and press the paw down at the center to extend the nail tips.

You should only trim the very tips of the nails, taking care not to cut into the “quick” or pink part of the nail. This is where the blood vessels are located.

If you do accidentally cut into the quick, don’t worry!  Dub some styptic powder to the wound to stop the bleeding. Corn starch or flour should do the trick if you don’t have styptic powder.

Note: It’s okay to take breaks between the clippings if you notice your glider is struggling too much.

You’ll also notice that two of the back paws’ toes are fused. These are used for grooming, and you shouldn’t clip them.

4. Aftercare

Once you’ve clipped the glider’s nails successfully, you can keep them smooth and filled down with a sugar glider running wheel

This exercise wheel has tiny grooves, which help keep the nails filed down. Alternatively, you can use a pet file or emery board.

You can also bath your glider afterward to help relax them and clean off any styptic powder.

The video below summarizes the trimming process.

Things To Consider When Trimming Your Sugar Glider Nails

a young woman thinking

If you’ve never attempted to trim your pet glider’s nails, I’d advise you to get someone to help you. This way, one person can hold the glider while the other trims the nails.

According to the Sandiego Zoo(2), ” Sugar gliders are nocturnal, snoozing through the day until night falls.”

Therefore, I’d recommend trimming the glider’s nails during the day because they tend to be calmer and tired from running around in their cage all night.

Also, allow the glider to run around the cage for a few minutes after they’ve woken up and you’ve removed their pouch to give them time to defecate or urinate.

This will ensure they don’t release the mess on you during the trimming process.

And if you’re wondering how often to trim sugar glider nails, the recommended time is once every three to four weeks or as needed. If you notice your glider’s nails are growing faster than this, trim them down.

Also, if you don’t have a store-bought pet glider wheel, don’t shy away from using a  DIY sugar glider wheel and this WHEEL SUPPORT 3. They will make your life much easier.


Do sugar gliders need their teeth trimmed?

Yes. It’s crucial to clip sugar glider nails at least once a week to avoid overgrowth, injuries, and painful tearing.

Do sugar gliders need nail clippers?

Yes. It’s best to use nail clippers designed specifically for small animals to avoid hurting your pet glider.

Can you file a sugar glider’s nails?

Yes. You can use a pet nail file or emery board to file down your pet glider’s nails. However, be careful not to file too much, as this can make the nails weak and prone to breaking.

How often should you trim sugar glider nails?

calendar date being rounded off

You should trim your glider’s nails once every three to four weeks or as needed. If you notice that the nails are getting too long, trim them down.


There you have it, a comprehensive guide on how to trim sugar glider nails. Be sure to follow these steps carefully to avoid hurting your pet glider.

And remember, if you’re not confident you can trim gliders’ nails on your own, seek help. It’s easier and safer to have someone else hold the glider while you cut its nails.

Alternatively, you can leave the nail trimming to the professionals and take your glider to the vet or groomer.

Have you ever trimmed your sugar gliders’ nails? Let us know in the comments below!

sugar glider with long nails

Please share with us how you trimmed your sugar glider’s nails down in the comment section!


  • 1. petMD. Guide to Sugar Gliders as Pets | petMD [Internet]. 2017. Available from:
  • 2. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Sugar Glider | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants [Internet]. 2019. Available from:


Alina Hartley
Alina Hartley

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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