Sugar Glider Diet
A Sugar Gliders diet is quite complicated, requiring plenty of variation and research. It can be a very disputed subject!
Sugar gliders in the wild would naturally feed upon insects, bird eggs, birds, lizards and other small animals. They also would eat acacia gum, ecalyptus sap, manna, honey dew, nectar and pollen. Sugar Gliders are masticators and so suck the nutrients from their food rather than swallowing them, spitting out the pulp and seeds. Not only can this be messy but means that too much hard food or pellets can actually damage their jaw.
Their diet can be quite time-consuming to prepare, although some food can be prepared in bulk and freezed in smaller portions for later use. Fruit however is best served fresh since a lot of nutritional value is lost once frozen, and should not be frozen longer than a week. It is important to offer variation to prevent selective feeding. Sugar Gliders will have their own food preferences so may need experimenting to discover what recipes worth for them.
Some keepers use a modified version of the Leadbeaters mix used in Zoos although some keepers say sugar levels for this are too high. Other popular variations include Bourbon's Modified Leadbeaters (BML) and high protein wombaroo diet (HPW). American and UK diets are quite different, in part due to the differing nutritional value found in available mixes. Cat biscuits for example have much higher nutrional value in the UK.
Water must be constantly available and is best supplied in a bottle.
It is vital they receive sufficient calcium to prevent health problems, with a calcium:phosphorus (ca:p) ratio of 2:1. Calcium supplements such as glidercal or Rep-cal can be sprinkled on their food. Calcium levels are important to prevent brittle bones, hind leg paralysis or nutritional osteodystrophy.
Avoid grapes and offer citrus only once or twice a week. Items such as apple, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, fig, melon, pawpaw, pear, pomegranate, kiwi, raspberries, sharon fruit and tomato can be offered.
This should be a minimum of 25% of a Sugar Gliders diet with some keepers advocating more around 50%. Protein levels are particularly important for breeding females. This can be met with various insects, boiled eggs (high in prosphorus), day-old chicks, turkey, and pinkie mice.
Some keepers provide baby food mixed with water to their gliders. You can also offer yoghurt with live cultures. The sugar content in these items should not be excessive.