Sugar gliders make for a popular exotic pet around the world due to their gray fur and black markings, similar to that of a squirrel.
These adorable, tiny marsupials are native to Australia and Indonesia but their fame now takes over other countries around the world.
How much do sugar gliders cost? Young sugar gliders will cost anywhere between $200 and $500, while an adult costs about $100 to $150. However, take note that these exotic pets are illegal in Alaska and California and require a special permit in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
Buying exotic pets will always be risky. Before purchasing a sugar glider, I compiled all the costs involved to help you plan financially. It will help ensure that your pet will have everything it needs to live a comfortable and healthy life. Let’s jump right in!
The Average Cost of a Sugar Glider
Although they seem to be common, it’s unlikely to find these marsupials at your nearest pet store. Hence, the best way to buy one is to find a reliable breeder.
As previously mentioned, a sugar glider’s price heavily depends on their age. The young ones generally cost more, from $200 to $500, while adults typically cost between $100 and $200.
The price may vary depending on your location, where the glider is imported or purchased, and its age and type.
Here’s a brief description of different types of sugar glider and their prices:
- Common Baby Sugar Glider: These are young gliders aged 12 months and below. They have a higher demand since they are easier to train than older ones. Thus, they cost around $200 to $500.
- Common Adult Sugar Glider: These are gliders aged one-year-old and above. They have a lower demand compared to baby gliders. Hence, their price is lower at around $100 to $150.
- Leucistic Sugar Glider: A leucistic sugar glider will have solid white fur with no stripe or other markings at the ears and black eyes. They are commonly referred to as black-eyed white. They cost around $1,500 to $2,500.
- White-Faced Sugar Glider: This type is not a different coloration as many would claim. Instead, it is a mutation of the stripes around the face. These gliders lack the black bar below the ears and have lighter or broken eye-rings. Otherwise, they are considered the natural gray-and-black gliders. Generally, they range from $300 to $600.
- Mosaic-Type Sugar Glider: A mosaic sugar glider has characteristic white patches all over its body or feet. If their mosaic coloration includes the tail, the glider is called a ring-tail mosaic. They cost around $2,000 to $3,000.
- Albino Sugar Glider: An albino sugar glider differs from the leucistic since it’s all white with red eyes, as observed in other albino animals. Therefore, these gliders are more rare and valuable with an average price of $5,000.
- Red Series Sugar Glider: This includes four colors: chocolate, buttercream, lion, and red cinnamon. Generally, these are shade variations of red. They cost around $400 to $2,000.
Refer to the table below for a quick recap of a glider’s average price:
|Sugar Glider Type||Average Price|
|Common Baby (12 months below)||$200 – $500|
|Common Adult (1-year-old)||$100 – $150|
|Leucistic||$1,500 – $2,500|
|White-Faced Types||$300 – $600|
|Mosaic Types||$2,000 – $3,000|
|Red Series||$400 – $2,000|
The price of a sugar glider will also depend on these influencing factors:
- Demand: The cost of a baby sugar glider is more expensive than adults since their demand is higher. Many breeders and owners prefer buying them at an early age as they are easier to train. Hence the price of old gliders is lower by a few hundred dollars.
- Tamed Behavior: Tamed sugar gliders also cost more than feral ones. If a specialist initially trains your exotic pet, you will have an easier time addressing their needs. Note that it will be a challenge if you start training them from scratch. However, you will probably save a few hundred bucks.
- Rarity: Several color variations such as the leucistic, white-faced types, albino, and red sugar gliders are more appealing due to their aesthetic charm. Therefore, many breeders charge interested owners more, citing meticulous breeding as a reason.
Prospective owners should also be careful in buying from pet stores. It’s advisable to purchase a sugar glider from a USDA-licensed breeder instead to ensure they get the best quality exotic pet possible.
USDA-licensed breeders usually sell gliders at a higher price than non-licensed breeders, but the additional cost is well worth it.
Are Sugar Gliders Cheaper Than Other Pets?
The cost of keeping a glider pet can quickly mount up and be much more than most people anticipate. Their average price starts at $100 up to $500, depending on your sugar glider’s age and the location of the breeder.
As for the cost of sugar glider ownership, prepare to shell out around $46 to $78 monthly or $555 to $930 yearly.
With that in mind, sugar gliders can be considered cheaper to maintain than premium dogs and cats – if we are to factor in their average price and maintenance costs.
Note that some of their food (nectar or bee pollen) are not generally available at the grocery, though. You will need to order these ingredients online, which can incur an additional fee for shipping.
In addition, while these marsupials don’t get sick often, this doesn’t equate to more savings on your end.
Once your glider needs medical attention, it’s usually very pricey since it requires the right veterinarian to do the job. Finding a vet for exotic animals in your local area may prove to be a challenge.
To properly compare if caring for a glider costs more than other popular domestic pets, here’s a brief overview of their initial price and maintenance costs:
|Type of Pet||Pet Price||Yearly Maintenance Cost|
|Dog||$400 – $2,000||$1,400 – $4,300|
|Cat||$500 – $1,300||$500 – $1,000|
|Sugar Glider||$100 – $500||$555 – $930|
|Hamster||$15 – $20||$75 – $600|
|Bird||$20 – $100||$185|
|Mouse||$5 – $10||$50|
|Rabbit||$20 – $40||$130|
|Snake||$20 – $300||$240|
|Turtle||$50 – $1,000||$100|
|Tarantula||$25 – $75||$50|
These are average costs based on the pet’s initial price, cost of food, veterinary services, and grooming.
Caring for a sugar glider differs significantly from caring for these typical pets since they need several special accommodations to be properly cared for.
Is It Legal to Own a Sugar Glider?
Sugar Gliders are exotic animals that may be illegal in certain areas in the United States. Hence, it’s a good idea to do a quick research before buying one locally. It will save you money, effort and prevent you from breaking any law.
These exotic pets are legal in 46 of the 50 states except:
Any breeding, selling, and capturing of sugar gliders require a permit in all states. There are no exceptions to owning or selling a sugar glider in California or Alaska. It’s considered entirely illegal.
In Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, you can own a sugar glider but you’ll need a special permit from the local government, which can also add to the initial costs.
Breeders of these little marsupials are licensed and regulated by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) through the Animal Welfare Act.
Outside the United States, keeping sugar gliders as a pet is also a controversial matter. These marsupials are almost entirely banned as pets in Singapore and some parts of Australia, such as:
- Western Australia
- New South Wales
- The Australian Capital Territory
However, they are allowed to be kept as pets in:
- South Australia
- The Northern Territory
Adopting a Sugar Glider From a Shelter: How Much Does It Cost?
Adopting a sugar glider from a rescue costs around $50 to $150, depending on the location and reputation of the organization. It includes the costs incurred during the pet’s duration at the shelter, such as a local permit fee and a veterinary wellness visit or exam.
If you want to care for a glider without breaking the bank, it’s also possible to get one free from previous owners who are willing to give their pets away at little to no cost.
They might have varying reasons for letting their pets go, but mostly it’s because they can no longer care for them.
Check with your local rescue shelters or online groups to see if they have sugar gliders that need to be adopted for free or at a low cost.
Initial Cost of Sugar Glider Ownership
In determining how much sugar gliders cost, you need to keep in mind that it’s more than just the price of the pet itself. There are lots of factors to take into consideration such as their habitat, food, and other maintenance.
Refer to the table below for the breakdown of the initial cost:
|Type of Expense||Estimated Cost|
|Sugar Glider||$100 – $500|
|Habitat (Bed/Tank/Cage)||$200 – $300|
|Toys||$20 – $50|
|Food and Water Bowls||$10 – $20|
|Travel Carrier||$20 – $50|
|Total Initial Cost||$420 – $990|
Based on the table above, the initial cost of owning a sugar glider ranges from $420 to $990. That’s just the base initial price.
You will need to invest in your sugar glider’s diet, as you cannot rely on regular pet food. They need to eat what they typically consume in the wild such as fruits, vegetables, nectars, live insects, and other supplements.
Other than that, you will also need a suitable cage to keep your glider. These marsupials enjoy climbing around, so a tall cage with plenty of room is ideal. Small nesting pouches are also an excellent addition for gliders who want their space.
Some other things you’ll need to keep your sugar glider active and occupied are climbing ropes, ladders, and closed exercise wheels. You wouldn’t want to leave your glider all bored and cooped up at home, with nothing else to do.
Before you adopt or buy a glider, remember that all the maintenance expenses can quickly mount up. My word of advice would be to save up in advance and prepare your wallet for the costs.
Check out this video for a more detailed breakdown of the possible expenses in keeping a sugar glider pet:
Ongoing Cost of Owning a Sugar Glider
After securing the one-time costs for your new sugar gliders, you also need to prioritize their healthcare, food, and bedding changes as these are the main annual costs in keeping them as pets.
Here’s a rundown of the ongoing maintenance costs to expect as a glider owner:
|Type of Expense||Yearly Estimate|
|Food||$150 – $200|
|Bedding||$100 – $200|
|Healthcare||$50 – $100|
|Deworming||$15 – $30|
|Routine Check-ups||$50 – $100|
|Accessories||$50 – $100|
|Supplements and Vitamins||$120 – $180|
|Total Yearly Expenses||$555 – $930|
|Average Monthly Expenses||$46 – $78|
While a glider’s diet can vary, a staple diet costs about $150 to $200 annually. Fresh fruits and vegetables will cost you roughly $20 every month. Other than that, they also eat tree sap and insects in the wild.
Although these exotic pets are relatively healthy and do not require vaccinations, they are still prone to health conditions like diabetes. These health conditions generally show up later in their lives.
If you want to ensure your glider’s growth and development turns out well, buy some vitamins and calcium. Be careful not to overdose on vitamins. Too much maybe just as harmful as not giving them any.
For male sugar gliders, you will need to get them neutered. Prepare to shell out some cash to cover this surgery. On the other hand, you won’t typically need to spend on spaying female gliders as the process is considered risky and highly complicated by most vets.
Like with every other pet, you also need to take your glider for regular visits to the vet to ensure they are in their prime condition and growth.
Once you’ve purchased your glider, there are other reasonably expensive monthly and annual costs to consider. These costs can quickly add up. Typically, it will cost you $46 to $78 in a month and up to $555 to $930 yearly.
Lifetime Expenses of Owning a Sugar Glider
The average lifespan of a sugar glider is 10 to 15 years, which significantly depends on how they are cared for when taken as a pet. Roughly, their lifetime expenses can amount up to $5,550 to $13,950.
Remember that all those costs can quickly add up when keeping an exotic animal as a pet.
Some thrifty owners of sugar gliders claim to spend just over $400 a year for their care, implying that their overall lifetime maintenance may be less than $5,000 (considering their average lifespan of 12 years).
These marsupials may even live for as long as 17 years, so long as they are adequately cared for and given proper veterinary care. However, this is not always guaranteed.
Other Potential Expenses
Aside from their regular upkeep, here’s a list of additional costs you can expect in keeping a sugar glider as a pet:
- Travel Expenses: Many owners prefer traveling with their gliders because these marsupials prove to be excellent travel companions because of their small size. You will need to prepare a travel cage and other travel-related supplies such as a water bottle, food bowl, and some toys to keep them occupied during the trip, which costs around $50 to $60. Fortunately, these items take up very little space than when traveling with other pets like cats or dogs.
- Pet Insurance: An exotic pet insurance plan will cover every medical condition of your glider, which costs about $9 per month. However, this price can vary based on your pet and its specific health needs. It is subject to change over time.
- Spay and Neuter: The spay and neuter costs for gliders range from $100 to $200. Female gliders are rarely spayed since the process will be too invasive, as they have a complicated reproductive system with two uteri.
- Cremation: One of the most remarkable ways to honor your sugar glider’s life is to have them cremated when they pass away. After sending them off, the ashes will be returned to you. This process usually costs $90 to $200.
- Dental Cleanings or Vaccinations: While gliders don’t require dental cleanings or vaccinations like other pets, expect to put aside at least $15 for occasional care.
- Medical Emergency: If you don’t have insurance for your exotic pet, you will need to pay more than $200 for your sugar glider’s emergency veterinary treatments. Many emergency vets only offer limited care for exotic animals. Hence, it’s a good idea to plan ahead of time where you’ll take your sugar glider in the case of an emergency.
- Local Permit: In some states, you’ll have to pay for a glider permit. These areas require permits for wildlife possession, exhibition, and sale. Usually, it costs around $55 for the first year and $25 for the succeeding years.
Common Health Issues of Sugar Glider and Their Cost of Treatment
While they are relatively healthy animals, these adorable and small marsupials are also prone to several diseases. Hence, regular veterinary care is also essential for sugar gliders.
If you’re planning to adopt or purchase a sugar glider, here’s a rundown of its common health conditions and their average cost of treatment:
- Actinomycosis ($350 to $2,000): Also known as the lumpy jaw, this condition infects the glider’s face and neck, creating a slowly enlarging, hard lump. Unfortunately, the bacteria may also infect its lungs, intestinal tract, and other organs.
- Aflatoxicosis ($1,500 to $6,000): This liver disease is usually caused by toxins produced by certain fungi in different foods and feeds. Telling signs of aflatoxicosis are appetite loss, anemia, diarrhea, and jaundice.
- Diabetes Mellitus ($3000): It refers to a group of metabolic diseases developed from high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Common symptoms of high blood sugar are increased thirst and hunger as well as frequent urination.
- Metabolic Bone Disease ($1,500 to $8,500): Also known as Nutritional Osteodystrophy, this medical condition softens the bones due to an imbalance of the minerals calcium and phosphorus in a glider’s diet.
- Diarrhea and Vomiting ($500 to $2,500): Some microscopic parasites such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and Trichomonas can cause diarrhea and occasional vomiting in sugar gliders. It also comes with abdominal cramps, dehydration, and weight loss.
- Eye Disorders ($200 to $3,000): Eye injuries in sugar gliders include corneal scratches, which result in slow-healing corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eye tissues), and cataracts (white spots in the lens of the eye).
- Leptospirosis ($4,500): Sugar gliders are infected with this disease once they contact food or water contaminated with the Leptospira bacteria. Telling symptoms include fever, as well as kidney and liver problems.
- Polioencephalomalacia ($1,000): This neurologic disease causes deterioration in parts of a glider’s brain. Common signs are weight loss, lack of coordination, tremors, and gradual paralysis.
- Tumors ($375 to $2,000): Tumors such as Lymphoid Neoplasia are common in opossum and glider species. Commonly, it has been discovered in the liver, kidney, spleen, jaw, lymph nodes, and the pouch of sugar gliders.
Places to Find Sugar Gliders for Sale or Adoption
If you’re planning to adopt or purchase a sugar glider as your next pet, it’s time to find the most reliable breeder or rescue in your area or local neighborhood.
Here’s a list of trusted breeders in the United States to find sugar gliders for sale:
- Janda Exotics – This breeder specializes in selling healthy, hand-raised, and tame young sugar gliders. Upon seeing your ideal glider baby, you can choose to put them on hold by placing a non-refundable deposit of $50. This initial deposit is credited towards the total price.
- Dragonstone Ranch – All sugar gliders are screened and selectively bred for color, health, and temperament. This breeder offers local pick-up in Gatesville, Texas, and nationwide transport.
- GliderPets – This USDA-licensed breeder has a climate-controlled facility that only houses sugar gliders. The gliders are also visited regularly by veterinarians to ensure they are in their prime condition.
If you want to adopt sugar gliders, check out these rescues and shelters:
- Arizona Sugar Glider Rescue (AZSGR) – This all-volunteer nonprofit for pet sugar gliders focuses on rescuing and rehoming sugar gliders. They also educate and mentor prospective and current glider parents.
- Sugar Glider Guardians – This nonprofit organization is dedicated to rescuing gliders in need and educating prospective owners on this exotic pet’s husbandry.
- Minnesota Pocket Pet Rescue – Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, MN Pocket Pet Rescue rescues pocket pets in danger of being euthanized or left unattended. They are committed to helping gliders in different types of vulnerable situations.
Money-Saving Tips for Sugar Glider Owners
Sugar gliders may be high-maintenance pets, but here’s a couple of practical tips you can follow if you want to save money:
- Buy cleaning supplies in bulk. Gliders tend to be very messy. Hence you will need to wipe their cages often. You’ll make some savings if you buy your supplies in bulk, such as a few months’ worth of supplies.
- Make a DIY cleaning solution. If you want to save some bucks, opt to combine homemade vinegar and water cleaner and use it as a regular cleaning supply. Notably, it works just as well as ones you can buy in the store to get rid of the stench.
- Learn how to make fleeces. You will need to replace your glider’s fleece often. If you own a sewing machine at home, learn how to make your pouches and cage sets. Aside from giving you a new hobby, this will also save you a lot of money.
- Clip your glider’s nails yourself. You can research how to get your glider’s nails clipped if you don’t want to pay for such a service. It might be challenging to do it yourself, but this will at least save you a couple of bucks.
- Keep your glider’s weight within a healthy range. It will save you potential medical expenses. Avoid overfeeding your pet, as obesity may just put them at risk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Sugar Gliders Good Pets?
Sugar gliders are not suitable as pets for beginners or children. Since they are wild animals with diverse needs in captivity, they need specialist care and huge spaces.
These tiny marsupials might be challenging to take care of, but they can bond well with humans and other gliders over time.
Do Sugar Gliders Pee and Poop Everywhere?
Yes, sugar gliders have a habit of pooping and peeing a lot, particularly right after they wake up or after eating. They will relieve themselves whenever they feel the need, just like any other wild animal.
While they cannot be taught to use a litter box, proper potty placement is possible once you understand their sleep schedule.
What Do Sugar Gliders Eat?
Sugar gliders are omnivorous. Hence, they eat various foods such as saps and gums from acacia and eucalyptus trees, nectar, pollen, fruits, and insects.
Fruits like apples, bananas, melon, kiwi, pears, oranges, and papaya can be fed to sugar gliders. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, broccoli, and squash are also good for these marsupials.
Final Thoughts: Are Sugar Gliders Worth Their Price?
So, is this exotic pet worth the hefty price tag that comes along with it?
Yes, sugar gliders are worth every penny since they become loving family members quickly, are excellent companions when traveling, live longer than other pocket pets, and rarely bite people.
Before bringing one into your home, ensure that the pet complements your lifestyle and your budget can afford its maintenance. Avoid making the marsupial suffer over an impulse purchase.
Keep in mind that all pets require money and time, especially exotic animals such as the sugar glider.