Are Sugar Gliders Affectionate (Do They Like to be Held?)

Many people are drawn to taking a sugar glider into their home as a pet because of their adorable appearance and friendly nature. Their large, black eyes and cute face make them highly desired as companion animals. However, since these are exotic animals, people naturally have a lot of questions about them. One such question is if sugar gliders are affectionate towards their owners or not, and if they are, how they show this affection.

If this is something you’ve been wondering, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into the topic to answer everything you’ve ever wanted to know about sugar gliders and affection. Let’s dig in, shall we?


Are sugar gliders affectionate animals?

Sugar gliders are social animals. In the wild, they live in groups of up to 10 adults. These groups are called colonies. Because of that fact, sugar gliders have evolved to show affection to those they consider part of their group. They often consider their owner to be a part of their colony and as such will show affection towards them.

Sugar gliders can definitely be considered affectionate animals, but they do not always show that affection in ways that you might expect, more on that later.

Since sugar gliders are such social animals it’s important that you do not house them in solitude. They need the social interaction and companionship of other gliders in order to be happy. Sugar gliders are already quite tricky to care for due to the fact that they’re in essence wild animals, will never be fully domesticated, and their nocturnal nature. If you keep them alone it’s impossible to keep them happy. They will start barking a lot, and can even become destructive. No matter how much love and attention you think you can provide your glider with, always get them at least one buddy to keep them company in their cage.

How do sugar gliders show affection?

Sugar gliders show affection in a number of different ways. They’re not necessarily very cuddly like some other animals can be. Instead, they show their affection mainly through grooming. In the wild, sugar gliders spend a lot of time grooming the other members of their colony. This is a show of affection and is often replicated by sugar gliders in captivity.

A glider that likes its owner will often lick them or give them gentle bites. In addition, it’s quite common for male gliders to mark the members of their colony with the scent gland that’s located on top of their heads. Since they consider their owner a part of their colony, you can expect them to do the same to you.

On top of that, sugar gliders also make chirping or popping noises to show affection.

If your sugar glider is not showing a whole lot of affection towards you it might be because you’ve not formed a strong enough bond yet for them to consider you a part of their colony. If that’s the case, I highly recommend working on increasing the strength of the bond between you.

Do sugar gliders like to be held?

The answer to the question of whether sugar gliders like to be held is not a simple yes or no. Every sugar glider has a unique personality and likes and dislikes different things. Some gliders enjoy being held very much, while many others do not enjoy it at all and would rather stand on you. It all depends on their personality.

On top of that, it’s also important that you take into account the time of day that you’re trying to hold your glider. These are nocturnal animals and as such, they sleep during the day and are awake at night. If you wake them up during the day just because you want to hold them it will most likely not go very well and is not something you should do.

As you can imagine, they do not like to be woken up from their sleep! Instead, wait for them to wake up naturally before you try to hold them. Another tip: sugar gliders often pee right after they wake up, wait about 10 to 15 minutes after they wake up before trying to hold them to avoid being peed on.

If your glider does not enjoy being held it can be due to their personality, but it can also be because they do not trust you enough yet, which makes a lot of sense. After all, in the eyes of your glider, you are a giant that could squash them easily if you hold them in your hands. This can sometimes be remedied by building more trust and forming a stronger bond so that they know that you’re not someone they have to fear.

However, if it’s simply due to your glider’s personality that they do not like to be held that’s unlikely to change and is something that you should learn to accept. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways that you can interact with your glider.

Do sugar gliders like to be petted?

Most sugar gliders do enjoy being petted or gently scratched on their head or under their chin. Another thing that gliders frequently enjoy is when you put their ears between two fingers and gently rub them. This seems to be very relaxing for them.

Do sugar gliders follow you around?

Sugar gliders are relatively smart and can come when they hear their name being called. On top of that, they also tend to follow their owner around the house if they like being in their presence.


Final words

In the wild, sugar gliders are social animals that live in colonies. As pets, they transfer some of this affection towards their owners. Ways that their show their affection can be physical, such as licking, scent-marking, or soft love bites, but they can also be auditory through chirping or popping noises. Forming a strong bond with your glider is important in making them affectionate towards you.

Keep in mind though that sugar gliders are exotic, wild animals and are relatively difficult to care for. Make sure that you have what it takes and that you’re fully committed before buying one.

Jesse A.