One of the reasons why Sugar Gliders make popular pets is because they are self-cleaning animals. They require little help from humans to have them looking their best! The three sections below will cover the basics of sugar glider grooming.
Sugar Gliders have a total of 40 teeth including incisors, molars and premolars. These are firmly set into their gums to allow them to eat and gnaw on tree bark. Sugar gliders are NOT rodents, therefore their teeth stay the same length throughout their lifetime. You do not need to file or trim their teeth. That is very painful for them! As your gliders reach their golden years, some of their teeth may start to wear down, making it difficult to eat the usual hard food. This is why a yearly or bi-yearly visit to your glider vet is important to check for teeth health. A proper diet will give them great teeth for many years.
(Fun Fact: feeding them live mealworms or crickets will prevent tartar buildup because of their hard exoskeletons)
Your glider’s fur should be dry, soft, and almost smooth. Gliders have densely packed fur which makes it difficult for mites to live in (this also makes them hypoallergenic pets!). It’s extremely soft to the touch and does not require any human help for grooming. Gliders will “spit” into their hands and give themselves a bath all over. They have nails on the back of their toes called “grooming nails” which act like combs. Because their fur is so densely packed, you should NEVER wash your glider (unless instructed by a Sugar Glider Vet). It is difficult for gliders to get dry after being wet, and it causes unnecessary stress.
You will have to trim their nails often to prevent them from getting stuck on fleece pouches or toys. Cork toys are great for wearing down their nails, but you still need to trim them regularly. Sugar gliders have 5 fingers on their front paws and 2 fingers on their back paws that you’ll need to trim. Just like a dog or cat, gliders have a “quick” that you don’t want to accidentally nip. DO NOT ever file your glider’s nails. They have very fragile fingers! There are many videos and techniques that will show you how to safely trim their nails.