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What do sugar gliders eat? 20+ Foods They Love

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Sugar gliders are small marsupials that live in Australia and New Guinea. They are also popular exotic pets around the world. These creatures are known for the membranes between their "wrists" and ankles, which allow them to jump from great heights and glide up to 100 feet before reaching a circle. As small, energetic marsupials, it begs the question, what do sugar gliders eat?

Learn about the different foods these animals prefer to eat in the wild, how they manage to find food, and the best ways to keep them properly fed as pets.

What do sugar gliders eat?

What do sugar gliders eat
In the wild, sugar glider feeds on sap, insects, fruit, and gums.

© AZ-Animals.com

Sugar gliders eat insects, sap, pollen, fruit, and small reptiles. They are omnivorous marsupials that adhere to different diets at different times of the year, depending on the food available. Sugar gliders get their name in part because of their sweet tooth, including the sap and gums of certain trees, and their ability to glide.

As pets, their food must be equally varied, taking into account their specific dietary needs.

Take a look at some of the common foods sugar gliders eat:

  • Acacia Gum
  • Eucalyptus juice
  • honeydew
  • pollen
  • beetle
  • spider
  • the bird
  • bird eggs
  • acacia seeds
  • nectar
  • fungus
  • Mealworms
  • cricket
  • kiwi fruit
  • moth
  • earthworm
  • cicada

These foods represent the most important elements of a sugar glider's diet in the wild. They are highly nutritious and provide the honey glider with the energy they need to stay active.

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The only problem with this diet is that sugar gliders are popular exotic pets, and it is difficult for people to replicate this diet in captivity.

How do sugar gliders find food?

Sugar Glider / Petaurus breviceps on a stump
Sugar gliders use their night vision, hearing and gliding to find food.


Sugar gliders are small marsupials that weigh less than half a pound as adults and are only about 8 inches long. However, their bodies are specialized to help them find food under unique conditions. After all, these creatures are an interesting mix between nocturnal hunters and juice suckers.

Sugar gliders have relatively large eyes that aid in night vision, claws that facilitate climbing, and ears that move independently to pinpoint the location of food and predators.

When sugar gliders are looking for prey, they use their excellent night vision and hearing to locate insects and even small vertebrates. They will wait for their prey to stop moving to feed or rest. They then jump and glide towards them, using their synovium to glide and their tails to help guide them. They ambush their prey and eat them quickly.

Although they are very efficient predators in this regard, sugar gliders actually get most of their food by climbing trees to eat sap, pollen, or gums that accumulate on their bodies. They use their amazing climbing abilities to reach high places in trees and eat their food safely, and they can also evade predators by jumping and gliding to another tree.

In the wild, sugar gliders can eat 10-15% of their body weight per day to keep up with their high-energy lifestyle.

What Do Pet Sugar Gliders Eat?

Sugar Glider on a branch
Sugar gliders keep a mixture of insects, leadbeater, and commercial food as pets.

© apiguide/Shutterstock.com

Pet sugar gliders feed on insects, invertebrates, fruit, meat, commercial foods, and vegetables. Sugar gliders are common exotic pets around the world, but their natural diet is difficult to replicate because they have different access to food in their homelands of Australia and New Guinea compared to the United States.

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Some of the most common foods eaten by sugar glider in captivity include:

  • specialized commercial food
  • cricket
  • Mealworms
  • wax worm
  • Leadbeater's mix (specialized commercial or homemade meals)
  • Grape
  • food particles
  • sweet corn
  • apple
  • avocado
  • chicken
  • pork
  • Egg
  • Grapefruit

Remember, these creatures don't eat a lot of food. Much of it will be a mix between commercial food, leadbeater, fruit and insects. When feeding some insects to the honey glider, it is necessary to "enema" or pre-feed the insects with a nutrient-dense food before feeding them to the honey glider.

When caring for these exotic pets, it is worth consulting experienced owners and experts for insights into their care.

It's also important to note that not all places in the world allow people to keep sugar gliders or have certain husbandry rules, such as requiring two or more marsupials to live together.

Foods to Avoid Feeding Sugar Gliders

Sugar glider cub lying on woman hand
Honey glider cannot eat chocolate or anything with caffeine.


While sugar gliders may seem like omnivores that can eat just about anything, many people lose their pets every year to the wrong food. Some foods are downright toxic to them, while others just cause serious complications.

These are the foods you should avoid feeding your sugar gliders:

  • Tea
  • chocolate
  • coffee
  • dairy products
  • fruits and vegetables treated with pesticides
  • radish
  • blueberry
  • strawberry

These are all foods that can cause health complications or be downright fatal to sugar gliders and should be excluded from their diet, but there are other problematic foods as well. Consult an expert before feeding your sugar glider any problematic foods.

What do sugar gliders eat?

alligator monitor
Monitor lizards are common predators of sugar gliders.

©Vladislav T. Jirousek/Shutterstock.com

Sugar-eating predators include snakes, monitor lizards, and foxes. Sugar gliders are nocturnal animals, they can see or hear most predators approaching, and they have a way to escape. Their gliding ability and remarkable climbing skills help them stay off the ground and out of danger. However, some creatures can still catch and kill them.

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Sugar gliders can feast on these predators:

  • snake
  • monitor lizard
  • owl
  • fox
  • Kookaburra
  • monitor lizard
  • quoll
  • Antechinuses
  • wildcat

The list of predators for sugar gliders is a bit short, but keep in mind that these marsupials only live in a small part of the world. Another major threat to these creatures comes from humans causing habitat loss. Human-induced wildfires and climate change are major threats to sugar gliders.

Sugar gliders are interesting marsupials with unique dietary habits that are difficult to replicate in captivity. They require quite a bit of professional care, so sugar gliders aren't the perfect pet for everyone. In the wild, they can be found feeding on sap, gums and insects, using their amazing climbing and gliding abilities to ensure a good meal.

However, these social creatures are in danger of losing their habitat due to environmental changes. The future may see more of them kept as pets in captivity than in the wild!


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featured image

sugar glider
A good toy should mimic the sugar glider's natural habitat.

© Manop Boonpeng/Shutterstock.com

about the author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in various fields such as Managed Service Providers, Animals and Retail Distribution. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading and writing.

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