Food Suggestions and Warnings about potentially harmful foods
We sell NO product, so we don't actually tell you what you should buy or feed your glider. We are only helping to educate so you can make the best decision. Please do your own research and go with what you feel is best. We can offer suggestions based on research and what our members offer their gliders, but we will never tell you that you have to feed a particular diet. (we don't dictate, lol)
Warning ***"glider" forums are NOT the best place to get info*** they often have children, youth, and aggressive bullies that spend way to much time chatting on them and the info is misleading, slamming other websites, and poorly run. If you run across slanderous comments, bullies, and people attacking others it's best to avoid such places for quality respectful websites do not allow postings by such people.
Read the info, do your own research & make your decision based on the best info you can find.
Also they are called "sugar" gliders, but are really "complex carb/protein/fiber" gliders!! Please never feed sugar (esp. refined sugars) or too much high glycemic index foods. Phosphorus should be balanced with calcium to maintain and encourage proper bone density. Avoid excessive fat, preservatives, over processed food, and pesticides. Studies show excessive vitamin C may contribute to "iron overload".
Food – In The Wild
Gliders have a very high metabolism, therefore they need complex carbohydrates with lower glycemic indexes that regulate blood sugar for stability & longer lengths of time, not high glycemic indexed foods that only spike blood sugar levels for a short time. (eg: sugar, honey, etc) In the wild they eat lots of acacia gum which is very high in fiber. Both complex carbohydrates and acacia gum help keep their blood-sugar balanced and aid in having healthy thriving gliders. They are also omnivores that eat a wide variety of manna, saps, tree gums, insects, small mammals, vegetation and fruits in the wild. Keep this in mind when planning to feed your glider - VARIETY, balance, nutritional is the key!! Sugar Gliders are omnivores & insectivores. This means they eat a wide variety of edible foods and a good portion of their diet in the wild includes insects. Insects are good natural protein and when keeping captive gliders a diet with enough protein such as insects (of other protein sources) is just common sense. In the wild they eat insects as the seasons allow, and usually during breeding season, so insects daily are not a requirement, but do offer protein several times a week. The rest of the food sources are plant products like: veggies, fruit, acacia gum, eucalyptus, and various saps. In captivity, cooked protein like eggs and bird (chicken/turkey) are often provided, and some people buy prepared mixes when they have a busy schedule and just want to pre-make batches and access them as needed, but do be careful as some mixtures are high in sugars and will spike blood sugar levels. Some people add on these "named mixtures" to add variety and nutrition (often very contentious and disputatious among the US owners/breeders - just mentioning these diets on forums provoke a heated and often slanderous argument)
** Honey, nectar, etc is NOT the same as acacia gum **
Acacia gum is a very high dietary fiber, has protein, nutrients, is a complex polysaccharide (complex carbohydrate), and is not degraded completely in the intestine. Acacia gum aids in digestion; as well it has an amazing amount of other healthy benefits. Research on Acacia Gum reveals such health benefits as supporting kidney function, increases creatinine clearance, reduces inflammation in the bowels, detoxifies, reduces the glycemic index of foods eaten, and is a prebiotic that enhances digestive health. Gliders require these benefits, so why not get it from the source they do in the wild?
Honey on the other hand is mostly sugars and contains only trace amounts of minerals and vitamins. (made from the nectar of flowers by bees). It's Glycemic index is 55 on average (some go up to 87) meaning it spikes the blood sugar levels more than lower GI foods and increases insulin production. Also Honey sometimes contains endospores of the bacterium clostrdium botulinim (you got it folks - botulism).
Anyone saying Honey is nectar or that either is the same as acacia gum or is "close
enough" does not have the biological, medical, or educational knowledge needed
to know the difference. This is just ignorant and dangerous misinformation. Please exercise caution when reading through information on the WWW.
Nectar is a sugar concentrate and has a HIGH glycemic index. Captive gliders require complex carbohydrates not just fast acting sugars. Think of gliders as "Carb Gliders" NOT "Sugar Gliders"...we don't recommend feeding much foods with high glycemic indexes!!
Just like our kids we want nutrition first and treats after (and not often). If you feed candy
with veggies to kids of course they eat the candy first, fill their caloric requirements for energy, and don't eat their veggies, but then are nutrient deprived, get fat, and their health declines, so when feeding gliders think of nutrition first before offering any sugary high glycemic treats.
(or better yet just offer nutrition - most gliders like fruits as treats anyways)
Foods high in glycemic indexes spike blood sugar, cause abnormal spikes in insulin production, inhibit the release of growth hormones, depresses the immune system, and promote the storage of fat and weight gain that leads to obesity - often resulting in cases of diabetes and seizures. After consumption of high a glycemic load meal, insulin levels are
high, and the end result in a sharp drop in glucose levels. This rapid rise / fall of
blood sugars puts a strain on the pancreas - and can lead to diabetes. Gliders who get this high spike in blood sugar then crash and can suffer from hypoglycemia. (causing such things as seizures, impaired function in the brain, starring, and possibly death)
10-20 years ago we never even heard of these dietary issues that cause such health problems, but now it is becoming more and more prevalent and we find many of the gliders we hear
of that are having these health problems are on weird diets with
high glycemic indexes (high sugar content). Or are also on purely processed diets, devoid of fresh foods and fiber. (just like a McD's & junk food diet can't sustain health, either can a high sugar & processed diet for sugar gliders - it's just common sense!)
In the wild, gliders travel further daily, must spend lots of time and energy foraging, and have more exercise, so nectars and sugary foods don't have as much negative impact when eaten periodically, but when captivity kept as pets they don't forage for hours, travel the same distances, and simply don't have the same amounts of exercise! So providing a diet that has high glycemic indexes daily can lead to things like DIABETIES (and related complications), obesity, and seizures. A common complication associated with diabetes is HYPOGLYCEMIA. Basically, the blood sugar drops so dramatically due to spikes in blood sugar levels that gliders will not get an adequate supply of glucose to the brain and it results in things such as impairment of brain function, SEIZURES (generalized or focal), unconsciousness, shaking, altered behaviour, dilated pupils, abdominal discomfort, DEPRESSION, LETHARGY, STARING (staring off in space - eyes glossed over), acting drunk like, abnormal breathing, coma, and DEATH. Hypoglycemia and excessive insulin production can be caused by high glycemic diets, so please consider your individual gliders health, complete diet, and exercise level when adjusting their dietary needs. Diets offered with variety, and not all liquefied, or added sugar covering all the food, offer your glider what they need when they need it. Forcing them to eat sugar or foods high in glycemic indexes, when they don't feel the need for it, is like piling on sugar in every item they ever eat - you wouldn't do that to your child, so please don't do that to a glider! (eg coating all foods with honey or concentrated OJ)
No one diet suits all gliders, just like no one diet suits all people. If you are told every glider should eat "ABC diet" and ONLY "ABC diet" then they haven't the knowledge or experience needed to educate people on good vs bad diets, how to adjust healthy diets to suit individual gliders, address deficiencies and health issues related to diets! Education isn't telling a person YOU CAN ONLY "feed ABC diet" Education is informing people what foods are healthy, why they are healthy, how to choose items, and what are the consequences of certain diets/items so that NEW OWNERS can provide a healthy, varied, and complete diet. We believe new owners aren't idiots that need to be bossed around, so any breeder or baby provider should be sharing knowledge, providing education, and allowing new owners to become educated themselves and allowed to make up their own minds on what they want to feed their gliders based on research and ALL the information. If you are told only feed "ABC diet" you might want to consider not buying from that type of seller/provider!
Food – As Pets
Containers: hanging bird containers or hamster self feeders are great for dry food, but it is a good idea to have either a wide and flatter ceramic dish, or hanging kabob for fresh fruit and veggies. We recommend organic or grow a garden for your glider in the summer they love the healthy fresh advantage. (who doesn't!!)
Dry food – many owners around the world have some form of non-perishable food available 24/hr a day for added nutrition, variety, and for dental care. We DO NOT recommend pellet only diets, but as an added food source to a varied diet. Soft food can mold and spoil very quickly so most people do suggest having dry non-perishable food available when soft food is removed from the cage. Hard food also helps maintain clean teeth - without hard food sources gliders do not have a way to properly clean teeth and tooth decay becomes an issue. A quality dry pellet formula must be kept frozen for they do not have preservatives. If it can be left out at room temperature then it must have preservatives. We recommend only ones that must be kept frozen. Pellets ensure healthy teeth, healthy digestive systems, and most have dietary fiber added to aid in digestion and healthy bowels. If quality fiber is not included in a dry mix, please generously add acacia gum sprinkled on their fruits and veggies! We all add pure acacia gum to our diets and every member (authorized to provide babies through our community BABIES page) feed acacia gum everyday!!!! Dry pellets can be acquired through the cost sharing program if you get a baby through the recommended providers. Otherwise you will need to find online sources as no pet stores in Edmonton specialize in glider food.(but lots of other supplies are available in the bird, reptile, and small animal sections).
We do not recommend "only soft food", "only concoctions", or "only liquefied soup diets". Gliders do not eat only soft food, concoctions, or liquidized soup diets in the wild, so why limit them to these weird diets as pets?? Common sense should kick in when you consider they are omnivores! Sugar gliders are in fact seasonally adapted omnivores. During particular seasons they can be more exudativors,(eating more gums, saps, manna, lerp, etc), and in other seasons more insectivores (eating more insects), and are carnivorous (eating available lizards, rodents, and small birds). Being adaptive and having a wide variety of diet is natural to them. Gliders also enjoy eating particular seeds (not from fruits - some are poisonous), eggs, pollen, flowers, dried buds, excrement from insects, and fungi. So seriously think about someone's logic (and knowledge) when they only recommend a limited diet made of the same 5 ingredients, contain only certain packaged products, and don't condone other sensible food items. Common sense requires thinking critically and putting effort into thinking about what you see, hear, and read...so don't just regurgitate the bad info out there in the www and THINK & use COMMON SENSE ;)
A dry glider cereal/pellets should contain natural items that gliders would eat in the wild. Mixed dry pellets with dehydrated items should be kept frozen when not being provided. Many contain insects, eucalyptus, bird/poultry meat, various vegetables and fruit that gliders would eat in the wild. Avoid ones that contain cheap over, processed, and unnatural FILLERS - Oatmeal, Wheat, Barley, Rice. While soya has higher protein and a rich source of carbohydrates it should not be labeled as Soya MEAL or the best of the bean is often removed and you are left with the poorest of the bean. It should also be lower in the ingredients not the top. Avoid products that contain -> Fish/Shrimp meal, Kelp, SUGAR, SALT, Algae, ARTIFICIAL colors and flavors, Dextrose, and WHEY.
Protein should make up 50-60% of any dry food offered to a diet variety. Please don't feed ONLY pellets!!! Glider love boild eggs, turkey, etc. Dry food made for Marmosets, Tamarins, or rodents are NOT made for sugar gliders, but might be some good food sources to consider as part of a varied diet. Check the ingredients and make sure it isn't the only food offered. Omnivore pellets that don't have fillers are also an option, but are not to be feed as the only food source. Softening them or leaving them hard is a choice you need to make based on your glider and their dental issues.
Varied healthy diets that our member use and offer as suggestions have various items included: Dehydrated items, vegetables, fruit, insects, animal protein (meats and egg), acacia gum (fiber), bee pollen, omega 3 & 6, glider pellets, various plant mater, calcium (always), and minerals & vitamins to ensure variety and good nutrition. Adding some quality omnivore food pellets are a great option to add variety, assist with dental health, and add more nutrition to a diet for they include quality animal protein (usually meat protein from birds) at better levels than regular glider pellets, or just providing insects.
Most omnivore pellets are usually formed food pellets that look similar to cat food or dog kibble, so new owners often make the mistake of buying and feeding cat food or dog kibble to their sugar gliders - not realizing they are NOT cat food or dog kibble. We have run across a few people who then are recommending cat food or dog kibble to new owners and this is not correct. Omnivore pellets are not cat food!!!!
Supplements - suggested as often as need based on the diet you chose
Many quality dry cereals and omnivore pellets contain vitamins and minerals, but not in sufficient qualities, and they are often extruded (heat treated) depriving the food of those added nutrients. We don't recommend extruded pellets at all. There is a BIG difference in pellet food processing so do your research when deciding on a pellet brand. So we suggest a vitamin/mineral/bee pollen/acacia gum/enzyme supplement as well as calcium supplements. There are great organizations that carry supplements specifically for gliders - not the reptiles ones. Many glider sites, breeders, and owners don't tell new owners there is a difference for they don't know better. Specific glider supplements will contain things like bee pollen, probiotics, and acacia gum. Any responsible breeder SHOULD ensure new owners have access to basic supplies, for any exotic animal, or will offer to provide you with local access. Selling babies without ensuring new owners can care for them is irresponsible.
All baby providers through the community have a cost-sharing program whereby you can opt in
and get basic supplies. Your baby provider will cover this at delivery and online access is through the "Members ONLY" page (passwords can be gotten through your provider)
Only those who become members by adopting a baby can opt in - SORRY NO SALES TO THE PUBLIC
Please ensure you either access the cost-sharing program - if you bought a baby through a recommended baby provider (Edmonton area delivery or shipping is available for Alberta) or find suitable supplies through a pet store or online retailer. Local supplies are often not available in all places so please plan ahead, start off with a starter pack,
and make sure you have continuous supplies before you run out.
Insects and bugs - suggested as often as need based on the diet you chose
We recommend a deeper heavy ceramic dish for insects. Meal worms are a favourite of gliders and if the dish is deep enough they cannot crawl out. (virtually any insect is loved - variety here too is important) You can by live or canned if you don't like bugs and virtually any insect is loved by gliders. Hand feeding meal worms will also help to socialize and hand-tame your new glider. Please don't over feed bugs/worms as they are high in fat and should be balanced with calcium. Powdered calcium should be dusted on most insects/bugs for they are high in phosphorus.
Crickets Wax Worms Super Worms Meal Worms
Protein 20% 15% 16% 20%
Ca/P Ratio 0.079% 0.129% 0.050% 0.039%
Fat 7% 21% 19% 14%
Sugar Gliders raised in captivity are used to these insects and they can be found at almost every pet store. Wild caught sugar gliders or those raised in mass production (in mills for pet stores) are NOT used to these rich sources of insects and it can cause severe diarrhea, so please ensure who from and where they come from!! If a pet store can not tell you who bred them and where they come from don't buy them in the first place.
Treats: limit as most are unhealthy, processed, and contain ingredients that are harmful to gliders.
Dehydrated veggies and fruit are also a favourite of gliders and many retain high vitamin, mineral, and enzyme content. You can buy hanging contraptions (kabobs) so you don't waste the fruit and veggies at the bottom of the cage.**** buy unsulfured, organic, without added sugar**** Planet organic has a large selection of unsulfered fruits!
List of common Fruits and Veggies
(please research to ensure all are good choices for gliders - new info may be available)
All in moderation of course. Don’t feed only one kind each feeding or larger amounts of just 1 kind. VARIETY is KEY.
Underlined = top fruits/vegetables that provide good amino acids
BOLD = higher calcium:phosphorus ratio
Fruits: Apples (remove seeds and peel), Crab apple, Pears, Watermelon (small amounts), Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Mango, Banana (small amounts), Blueberries, Raspberries, Grapes (organic only and small amounts infrequently), Pineapple, Apricots, Papaya, Blackberries, Cherries, Strawberries. Cranberries, Peaches, Plums, Passion fruit, Cranberries, Elderberries, Nectarines, Durian, Acai, Figs, Tangerines
Veggies: Carrots, Sweet potatoes, Endive, Peas, Beans, Beets, Beet greens, Broccoli, Corn, Cauliflower (small amount), Green beans, Asparagus, Beets, Bok choy, Coriander, Cucumber, Kale, Okra, Soya bean, Collard greens, Dandelion greens, Squash (butternut / spaghetti), Turnip greens, Watercress,
We always recommend talking to a qualified veterinarian
Please consider calcium-phosphorous levels when making food choices!
Here is a great link: Calcium & Phosphorus Content
Our Personal Belief:
We don't recommend feeding ONLY BML, ONLY Leadbeater’s, ONLY HPW, ONLY Zupreem, ONLY Mazuri, ONLY pellets, or ONLY Exotic Diet concoctions. Any diet must be varied and tailored to each gliders needs, and must have a variety of proteins, fiber, veggies, and fruit sources. Not weird mixtures as their sole diet!!!! Mixes should only be a supplement added for variety and to boost nutrition for a healthy and nutritious diet, if you so choose.
Please see the health concerns’ page for more info.
- Milk: If you can show us some gliders in the wild who suck on cows we would endorse it - otherwise we don't recommend feeding it to your gliders. Gliders are naturally lactose intolerant (as are most adult animals) so we don't recommend milk. While mother glider's milk does contain lactose it also contains enzymes to break it down, so babies can digest it. No to mention when you feed store bought milk products it is the wrong milk (cow). Gliders can have problems breaking down cow's milk and their pancreas works over time trying to produce enzymes to deal with this foreign substance. Bacterial cultures in some yogurts may breakdown the lactose enough to not cause diarrhea, but most yogurts contain a product called sucralose. Sucralose was discovered while making an insecticide. The info we found while researching claims the process to create it uses various chemicals including chlorine! HERE is an article that is a good read. And some of the alleged symptoms: BLOATING, gas, DIARRHEA, itching, WHEEZING, cough, runny nose, anxiety, DEPRESSION, etc.
So please don't take our word on the matter, research for yourself on lactose intolerance and the
ingredients in products and make the best decision for your glider!
We also don't recommend highly preserved yogurt "drops" meant for hamsters and other rodents, rabbits, etc. Gliders don't need junk food, they are happy with receiving a special treat of their favorite fruit or mealworm!
Concentrated orange juice - common sense should sound the alarm here....1. condensed sugar (high glycemic index), 2. citrus....too much causes anything to have diarrhea 3. Many animals have the enzyme for making vitamin C and over dosing it may actually contribute to "iron overload. Necropsy of gliders have shown many are suffering from too much iron in their diet, no studies have shown inadequate iron in any diet. The point here is a tiny sliver is "somewhat" acceptable when a glider weighs a few ounces, but concentrated is a no-no, a couple wedges is a no-no...think about it....what does a person weigh...what does a glider weigh.... please question people who say drowning a healthy diet in concentrated orange juice is 100% fine and condensed high glycemic OJ or excess vitamin C doesn't have negative consequences. If given it should be limited, not condensed, and not mixed all over other nutritious foods. If a child would eat a cereal WITHOUT sugar would you still put sugar all over their cereal? So just think about it.
-Oatmeal - it expands in the gut and will reduce the fresh food your glider can eat & causes bloating and obstructions. Not to mention I have never heard of gliders eating oatmeal in the wild (lol). Please don't feed your loved glider oatmeal. We have read where some people say "the juice mixed with oatmeal makes it expand before eating".....ok you all should see the red flags waving wildly here....1. they admit it expands, 2. they add concentrated juice (we already covered why this is a no-no), 3. try an experiment....take oatmeal and see how much juice it takes to make it expand fully - it will take 1-2 days and a gross amount of liquids......do I need to say more? Am I the only one who grew up on oatmeal? LOL. The only reason people feed or add "fillers" is to cut down on cost and oatmeal will drastically reduce the amount of quality foods your gliders can eat - period. If someone feeds oatmeal question them and if they deny it is a filler, continues to expand (as a small proportion of juice doesn't expand it fully), could lead to obstruction or bloating....you will know how knowledgeable they really are.
- Do not feed onions or garlic as these have been found to cause anaemia.
Do not feed avocado! Avocado causes many problem for a variety of animals.
***You now have the knowledge so QUESTION QUESTION QUESTION. Don't rely on "breeders", people purely running a business, or be intellectually lazy. Many sites on the internet are from the US, they have business licenses and are purely operating from a business perspective. They have taken for granted what gliders "should be eating" (it's getting better, but there is still a long way to go), have not done research, and try to sell their own products. QUESTION QUESTION QUESTION....it is your best defense against ignorance propagated by those who don't know what they are talking about.
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