Do Sugar Gliders Smell? 5 Reasons Why & What To Do About It

Do sugar gliders smell? Before you get one of these adorable critters as a pet, you probably want to know what you’re in for. Doing research on topics like this is essential so that you don’t face any unwanted surprises.

If you’re considering getting one of these exotic little creatures as a pet, you’ll be relieved to know that Sugar gliders do have a natural smell, but they do not smell very strongly or bad. A healthy sugar glider’s smell is not very strong or gross. Male sugar gliders often have a scent that’s a little bit stronger than their female counterparts because they have stronger scent glands. As long as you feed them a healthy diet and keep their cage clean you shouldn’t have any odor problems.

Keep reading though, because there’s a lot more to learn about sugar gliders and their odor.

The reasons why your glider might smell

Sugar gliders definitely do not smell as bad as some animals such as ferrets because they keep themselves impeccably clean.

A healthy, happy sugar glider should barely smell at all.

However, there are several factors that can make your glider smell worse. I’ll go over them one by one. Keep in mind that all sugar gliders have a natural odor to them, just like most creatures.

If the smell is not overwhelming it’s very natural and nothing to worry about.

With that being said, here are the most common reasons why your glider might be stinky!

1. Getting used to you

When you first get your sugar glider when it’s young it’s normal for them to smell more strongly. This is because they’re still getting used to your presence and they have a defense mechanism in their rectum that triggers when they’re afraid (it looks like a white milky substance and is normal).

It should go away over time once your sugar glider gets more used to you.

Also, over time you will get more used to the smell of your new friend and most owners do not even notice it anymore after a while.

2. Dietary problems

Another reason why your sugar glider might smell is that you’re feeding him the wrong diet. If you’re often feeding your sugar glider food like chicken and mealworms for protein then they might start to smell a bit.

If it is bothering you, you can switch to protein pellets, which should help with getting rid of the smell. Protein pellets are perfectly healthy for your sugar glider to eat.

3. Their cage is not clean

Of course, if you’re not properly taking care of your sugar glider’s hygiene and their habitat they might also start to smell.

Make sure to clean their cage frequently. Sugar gliders are pretty clean animals by themselves, they groom themselves a lot!

They do not need to be given baths by their owners as long as their habitat is clean. You should clean their cage every few days. However, make sure not to clean their cage too often or too rigidly.

If you completely remove their smell they will overcompensate by marking their territory even stronger!

4. Illness

If you notice odd behavior from your sugar glider like hissing when urinating then it’s worth checking to see if they’re sick.

It’s possible that your glider has a UTI and that could be why their pee smells very bad.

Usually, they hide their discomfort pretty well so it’s worth keeping a close eye on them if you notice anything is off.

Why do male sugar gliders smell more strongly than females?

Male sugar gliders have scent glands on their body. The first is on their testicles and is present when they’re young.

If you do not neuter your sugar glider it will develop 2 more scent glands once it reaches sexual maturity. They will develop one scent gland on their forehead (the bald spot) and another one on their chest.

Male sugar gliders like rubbing these scent glands all over to mark their territory. This is what they do in the wild so it’s not very surprising that they do the same in captivity.

The male’s smell will also get stronger in the breeding season, as is the case with a lot of animals. This is because they’re trying to attract a mate.

In contrast, females do not have these scent glands (they have less prominent scent glands). That’s why females have much weaker odors than males.

What sugar gliders smell like

The normal smell of sugar gliders is kind of musky and sweet. Not all of them smell the same though, some people have reported their furry friend smelling like vanilla.

If there’s something wrong with your glider then it might smell like a skunk, but that’s only the case if there’s something wrong with them. A healthy glider should not have an offensive scent.

How to stop your sugar glider from smelling

You cannot stop their natural odor, but there are things you can do to keep reduce their smell. First off, you should make sure that you clean their cage frequently.

If you do not do this it’s not the sugar glider that smells, but the cage. Cleaning their habitat every few days should do the trick and significantly reduce any odor.

Secondly, you have to make sure that you feed your glider a proper diet. If you feed them the wrong foods they can start to smell quite strong.

Also, feeding them an improper diet can result in diarrhea which obviously does not benefit the smell of them and their enclosure.

Should I wash or bathe my sugar glider?

If your glider is particularly dirty and stinky you might be tempted to give them a bath. However, this is not a good idea. These animals do not like water and bathing them is not necessary at all.

It can actually do more harm than good because it removes the natural oils in their fur which is not good.

If they do get dirty, it’s much better to simply clean them with a warm, damp towel instead.

Final words

Healthy sugar gliders do not have an offensive smell. Of course, like all living things, they do have their own odor, but it’s not bad by any means.

If your glider is stinky, there can be a variety of reasons for that, but the most common ones are dietary problems, an unclean cage, illness, or the fact that they’re still getting used to you and their new environment.

ThePetFaq Team