When it comes to owning pets, people who live in cities are at a disadvantage. If you’re lucky enough to find a place that allows dogs, it will probably be expensive. Cats can be cuddly company, but litter boxes tend to stink up a room. How about something a little more exotic, but still apartment-friendly? Why not…let’s say, a sugar glider? What’s that you say? You don’t know what a sugar glider is? Essentially, sugar gliders (also known as sugar bears) are gliding possums originally from Australia. Gliding possums are similar to flying squirrels. They’re extremely tiny creatures with long tails, adorable bug eyes and wing-like flaps.
Some people are delighted by the thought of coming home, plopping down on the couch and having a tiny critter glide down from the rafters and rest on their shoulder. They’re not legal in every state; however, for the states that do allow them, sugar gliders are surprisingly becoming very popular. But how well do these pocket-sized marsupials fare outside of their natural habitat? Through no fault of her own, my sister went through TWO sugar gliders in a matter of months. We came to the conclusion that these animals belong in the forests of Australia, not within our tiny apartments. Here is a list of the top five reasons why sugar gliders DO NOT make good pets:
One sugar glider typically costs anywhere between $250 to $300. That’s not a terrible price for something so exotic, but experts suggest that if you buy one, you should buy two. They are very social creatures and tend to get lonely easily.
In addition to chronic loneliness, sugar gliders suffer from a variety of health issues. Unfortunately, veterinarians are not accustomed to dealing with these creatures and have trouble diagnosing them. One of my sister’s sugar gliders, Rizzo, had a calcium deficiency and needed a splint on its minuscule paw. The splint was made from a Q-tip. Let’s all do a collective “awwwww.” However, nothing says high-maintenance like a fragile Q-tip splint.
For such a tiny animal, sugar gliders are NOISY. They make bizarre barking noises. Since they’re nocturnal, they bark and screech all night long. It’s loud, piercing, and annoying. They also make a guttural purring sound when they’re feeling feisty.
4. Long lives
Experts say that sugar gliders have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, so they’re just as big of a commitment as a dog or cat.
5. Death by toilet
Sugar gliders have a habit of drowning in the toilet. Is there a less dignified way to die? They crawl up the shower curtain, take a flying leap and splash right into the toilet bowl. Their little paws claw desperately at the porcelain walls but to no avail. Boys can’t even be trusted to put the toilet seat back down, let alone the lid. If you have company over, your sugar glider is probably a goner.
So, would you get a sugar glider?