How much do sugar gliders cost? This is one of the most important questions you have to ask yourself before you take on the responsibility of taking care of one of these animals. Today, I’m going to give a complete breakdown of how much you should expect to spend on owning these furry critters.
If you’ve always dreamed of owning one of the most adorable creatures that just so happens to fit in your pocket you might have had your eye on a sugar glider. These tiny marsupials are native to Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea and are highly desired as pets.
However, before you get a sugar glider as a pet, it’s a good idea to do proper research on what it costs. After all, you should never adopt a pet without being aware of the financial responsibilities that come along with it. It happens all too often that people get a pet only to realize that they are not able to care for it properly, which is obviously not good for either you or the sugar glider.
In this guide, I’m going to give a complete overview of what it costs to own a sugar glider. I will go over the initial costs that you have to prepare for, such as buying the glider itself, their housing, and recurring costs such as their food and vet costs.
I hope that it will give you a good overview of what kind of budget you need to prepare when you’re planning on taking on the responsibility of caring for a sugar glider. With that being said, let’s dig in and see how much sugar gliders cost and find out if they’re expensive pets!
Sugar Glider Cost Breakdown
|Sugar Glider||$200 to $800 each, $400 to $1600 for two|
|Shipping||$0 to $300, depends on location|
|Cage||$200 to $300|
|Accessories||$100 upfront, $10 per month|
|Permit||Depends on location|
|Vet costs||$12.50 a month|
|Cleaning supplies||$5 a month|
|Food||$40 a month|
|Total||$765 to $2115 upfront, $67.50 a month|
Price of buying a sugar glider
Sugar gliders are exotic creatures for most of us. Unless you live in Australia, Indonesia, or Papua New Guinea they do not live in the wild anywhere near you. However, for the past 20 or so years, sugar gliders have been bred in other places such as the United States. Nevertheless, as is often the case with exotic pets, they command a higher price than other pets.
The price of a sugar glider varies wildly from glider to glider. It also depends on where you buy them. Usually, if you buy them from a breeder, they have a price range from $200 to $800.
However, you absolutely need 2 sugar gliders, you can not buy a single glider and expect them to be happy. They are colony animals and if they live alone they will be severely unhappy. They can become depressed and even go on hunger strikes until they die. Yes, really, sugar gliders can die from loneliness. As a result, many breeders will not even allow you to buy a single one, and only sell them in pairs.
That means that you should double the price, and that brings it to $400-1600 for 2 gliders.
At some breeders, you will also need to pay for shipping on top of this, which can add another $300. Always check the breeder you’re going to buy from for their shipping cost to avoid unexpected costs. At many breeders, it’s possible to pick them up which means you don’t have to pay for shipping.
Where to buy a sugar glider
The best place to buy a glider is from a breeder. When you buy from a breeder you’re usually guaranteed to get an animal that’s healthy and that has been properly socialized.
Big pet stores like PetSmart and PetCo do not sell gliders, so you cannot buy them there. But there are some smaller pet stores that do sell them. Still, I recommend going with a specialized breeder rather than a pet store because you usually have more choice in color variations (gliders come in many different color patterns, ranging from white to black).
What comes included in the price?
Many breeders include an emailed birth certificate with the purchase of a glider. Additionally, there’s often a guarantee that your glider will arrive safe and healthy.
What determines the price of a sugar glider?
There is quite a huge difference between $200 and $800, in fact, it’s 4 times as much! Why exactly is that? Several factors affect the price of a sugar glider:
Sugar gliders come in many different colors, and they all command a different price range. Some color sugar gliders are rarer than others, for instance, the white sugar glider is rarer than the classic glider and will, therefore, command a higher price.
Adult vs baby
The price also depends on whether you buy a grown or baby glider. Baby sugar gliders, also known as “joeys” cost more than grown gliders. Adults are harder to bond with than young gliders which is why they’re sold cheaper.
Where you buy them
It happens from time to time that gliders pop up for sale on classified ad sites like craigslist. Usually, these gliders are slightly less expensive than buying them from a breeder. You also won’t have to pay for shipping if you buy it from someone locally. However, you usually don’t get any guarantees when you buy from these kinds of websites.
Supply & demand
Supply and demand affect the price of everything and sugar gliders are no exception. There’s quite a lot of demand for sugar gliders, and the supply can usually not keep up which drives up the prices. This is even more visible with special colored gliders. For instance, albino gliders are low in supply and are therefore higher in price.
Do pet shops sell sugar gliders?
Most pet shops do not sell sugar gliders, and that’s probably a good thing. Sugar gliders need a lot of attention, especially when they’re young, to get acquainted with humans and their touch. Pet shops do not have the manpower to individually care for sugar gliders and give them the human attention they need to become good pets.
Also, it’s well known that animals that are kept and sold in pet stores are usually not treated very well. They have high levels of stress and are usually not the most healthy.
Even if pet stores did sell sugar gliders I would therefore rather buy them from a breeder than a pet store.
Cost of housing sugar gliders
Now that you know how much you’ll have to spend to get your hands on two of these cute critters, let’s take a look at how much you’ll have to shell out for their enclosure. As with the glider itself, the price for their cage can have a pretty wide range, it all depends on how fancy you want to get.
Sugar glider cages usually range in price from $200-$300.
You can also choose to build your own sugar glider cage. If you choose to do this, you will obviously cut down on the cost because you only have to pay for the materials. It also gives you the freedom to make the cage as big as you want. To learn how to build a cage for sugar gliders, check out this tutorial.
You can’t just put your sugar gliders in any old cage. There are certain requirements that their cage must meet to be good for them to live in.
There are two very important factors that you need to keep in mind when deciding on a cage for your sugar glider.
- Bar distance
The size depends on how many gliders you get. If you get more than two their enclosure will obviously have to be bigger than when you get only 2. The minimum recommended size for a sugar glider enclosure is at least 3 feet (~1 meter) tall and 2.5 feet (~75 centimeters) wide.
When in doubt about the size, bigger is always better. Sugar gliders enjoy having a lot of free space to roam around.
The bar distance should be no more than 1/2 of an inch (1.27 cm). This bar spacing allows them to grab the bars without injury, without it being big enough for them to escape.
Cost of accessories for your glider
Now that you know the price of their cage and the gliders themselves, let’s take a look at the accessories they need and how much they cost. For them to have a good life, their cage will need certain things such as a water bottle, a sleeping pouch, and a wheel. Let’s break their prices down one by one.
Water bottle & food dish
Sugar gliders need a water bottle that’s made of glass. A bowl or a plastic bottle will not suffice. The price of a glass water bottle is usually around $10 and their food dish is around $5-$10.
A sleeping pouch is a must for your glider to have. It’s the perfect place to get some well-deserved rest after a long night of goofing around. Gliders sleep the majority of the day and are active at night, so a nice pouch for them to sleep in will go a long way in making them happy.
A good sleeping pouch for your glider costs around $10-$15. However, since you’ll need two gliders you will also need two pouches, so double that to around $20-$30.
You can also choose to make these yourself. To learn how to do this, there’s a good tutorial you can follow here.
Another good thing to have is a bonding pouch. What is a bonding pouch you may ask? It’s a pouch that you can carry your glider around in so that it will bond with you.
A bonding pouch will cost around $15.
Sugar glider wheel
Sugar gliders are active creatures with a lot of energy. To release some of this energy they need to have a wheel. However, be careful! You can not use the same wheel for sugar gliders that hamsters use. Hamster wheels can cause injury to your glider. In addition, the way these wheels are laid out prevents them from running how they prefer to run.
Sugar gliders jump and hop when they run and to allow them to do that they need a wheel without a bar in the middle.
The price of a special sugar glider wheel ranges from $30-$70.
Gliders are playful creatures. To stay mentally stimulated, they will need access to toys. Some good ideas for toys to include in their cage are a hammock ($30), wooden tubes (~$60), and a swing ($20).
It’s also a good idea to put branches and platforms in their cage that they can use to climb. These branches usually cost $5-$10 each.
In total, most owners spend around $100 initially and then $10 per month on new toys and replacements.
Whether or not you’ll need a permit in order to have a sugar glider depends a lot on where you live. In some states like California, Alaska, Hawaii & Massachusetts sugar gliders are completely illegal. In others, you need a permit and in yet other states you do not need a permit.
I’m not going to go over every state’s individual laws regarding sugar glider ownership because it would take too long. Instead, you can get a good overview of whether or not you need a permit and how much it will cost from this website. It gives a good overview of all the states in the US and the provinces in Canada.
If you live outside the United States or Canada I recommend you contact your local authorities to find out if you need a permit to own a sugar glider and how much it will cost.
Cost of feeding
Okay, so far we’ve gone over the cost of buying a sugar glider, the cost of housing, and the cost of the accessories they need. These are all static costs, meaning they have to only be paid once. However, there are also recurring costs such as food. You will of course have to feed your glider every day so this is an ongoing expense for as long as you have your glider.
Sugar gliders have a very fast metabolism and eat throughout the day. Luckily, they’re small creatures so they do not eat that much food.
The staple cost of feeding your sugar glider is about $150 per year for two gliders. They also need fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, which adds around $20 per month. In addition, many sugar glider owners give their pets treats, this adds another $10 per month to the cost.
In total, the cost of feeding your glider will be around $500 a year or around $40 per month.
What do sugar gliders eat?
Sugar gliders eat a diet that consists of protein, fruits, and vegetables. Gliders can eat many different kinds of fruits and vegetables, but not all of them. When feeding your glider, it’s important to take the calcium to phosphorus ratio into account.
To learn more about what to feed your glider, I recommend that you check out this guide. It gives you a complete list of all the fruits and vegetables that you can give to your glider. Furthermore, it tells you the ideal diet that you should give your glider so he can thrive.
Cleaning supplies are not a huge expense, but for the sake of being thorough, I will include them in this breakdown regardless.
You should clean their cage in parts, meaning that you do not clean their whole cage at once. This is because the gliders mark their cage as their territory with their smell by using their scent glands. If you clean their whole cage at once they will overcompensate for the loss of their scent markers by marking it more strongly the next time around.
The total cleaning supplies will cost around $5 a month.
If you’re lucky, your sugar glider will be healthy and will not need any major vet visits. However, you never know and therefore you need to budget for it accordingly. Most owners also take their gliders to the vet once a year for a check-up which costs around $150 a year for 2 gliders.
If your glider runs into major health issues then you will need to spend more. Whether or not your glider will get sick and requires veterinary care mostly depends on luck, but with a healthy diet and a good living environment, there’s less chance of your glider getting sick.
Luckily, sugar gliders are not known carriers of disease so they do not need vaccinations.
So far we’ve only discussed the cost of owning a sugar glider in terms of money. However, they also require a lot of time investment. Sugar gliders are very social animals and in order for them to properly bond with you, they will need to spend a lot of time with you.
They need around 2 hours per day of bonding and 1 hour per day of playtime. That’s already 3 hours per day and that doesn’t even include the time it takes to prepare their food and clean their cage.
If they do not get enough attention they will not be happy pets.
You should also keep in mind that these animals live for 10-15 years, so they’re a long term commitment. Do not get one on a whim; make absolutely sure that you can afford and want to take care of one of these creatures for the long haul.
If you’re getting a sugar glider and expect it to be a low-maintenance pet then you’re wrong and should probably get a different pet.
The total cost of owning a sugar glider
Okay, now that we’ve gone over all the individual costs of owning a sugar glider it’s time to add it all up to see how much you should be prepared to spend upfront and every month to have a sugar glider as a pet.
Total upfront 1-time cost:
The upfront cost is $400-1600 for the gliders themselves + $200-$300 for their cage + around $20 for their water bottle and food dish + ~$45 for sleeping/bonding pouches + $100-$150 for the wheel and toys. If we add all of that together we get a range of $765 on the low end to $2115 on the high end for the 1-time costs.
Total monthly recurring cost:
The total monthly cost consists of food at around $40 a month, cleaning supplies at $5 a month, vet costs at around $12.5 a month, and toy replacements at $10 a month. If we add that all up we get a monthly cost of around $67.5 a month or $810 a year.
Are sugar gliders good pets?
They definitely can be, for the right owner. Whether they are good pets depends highly on whether or not you’re capable of taking proper care of them.
Gliders are nocturnal animals with a lot of energy. Because of this, they will be very active during the night. This is definitely something you need to be ready for. To learn more about whether not gliders are a good pet for you, I suggest you check out this post about owning a pet sugar glider.
Also, you have to keep in mind that these animals have a very long lifespan. Sugar gliders can live for more than 10 years in captivity, so make sure you can take care of them both financially and emotionally for such a long time.
I hope this overview of how much you’ll have to spend to get (and maintain) a sugar glider as a pet was helpful and that it gives you a good overview of what you should expect financially when you decide to take care of one of these creatures. On the low end, expect to pay $765 while on the high end you can expect to pay up to $2115 or even more.
These animals are not cheap, and the total yearly cost of owning two of them is not that far off owning a dog. However, while they might be quite expensive to take care of, having a sugar glider can be a very rewarding and joyful experience. Most owners absolutely love their gliders and for them, the cost is more than worth it. That’s all up for you to decide though.
Something else you have to keep in mind is the time commitment these creatures take. They’re not low maintenance by any stretch. But I assume that you get a pet because you want to spend time with them rather than seeing at as a cost, so this should not be a big deal for most sugar glider owners.
I’ve tried my best to make the numbers as accurate as possible and as far as I know, they’re pretty spot on. However, if you believe that I’ve made a mistake somewhere, feel free to leave a comment so that I can correct it.
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