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What is so Bad About Sugar Glider Breeders at Trade Shows?


This list will show you the truth about traveling sugar glider breeders/brokers and their bogus claims about sugar gliders. While we can not specifically claim that ALL traveling sugar glider breeders/brokers are doing ALL of the things below, we believe it is up to you to be informed and ask questions to anyone you adopt a pet from. This information is designed to help get you thinking about what is truly going on behind the scenes with some of these breeders.


If you have already purchased your sugar glider(s) from a mill breeder, click here for advice. 


Here are some common issues we have found with sugar glider breeders/brokers at the state fair, home and garden show, trade shows, flea market, malls, etc.  Some of the same issues hold true for pet stores as well.


  1. They do not want you to do your own research. They claim that their information is the only good information and you should not go online and do your own research.  They speak poorly about reputable sugar glider breeders and knowledgeable pet owners.  Their literature actually tells you not to research online or listen to anyone else about sugar glider care.  Why?  These breeders do not want you to hear the truth about them.  They do not want you to hear about their bad reputation.  They want you to make an impulse purchase with them.  They just want your money.  They even go so far as to create websites for "official organizations" with pages that "review" other sugar glider sites.  You may notice that the only sites getting good ratings on these "review" pages are sites affiliated with them (sites that tell you not to go to the other sites).  Please beware of anyone who tells you that experienced sugar glider owners do not know what they are talking about.  Always do your research and decide for yourself.
  2. These companies are mill breeders/brokers.The breeders do not care about the quality of their animals. They are just breeding for quantity. They only care about making money. Most responsible breeders are lucky to even break even on selling their gliders. They breed for the love of the glider, not to get rich.
  3. Their salespeople are trained and make everything sound really good, right? DO NOT be fooled.  Sugar gliders are not the perfect pocket pet for everyone.  They can be a great pet for some, and a horrible pet for others.  It is up to you to do the proper research to find out if a sugar glider is right for you.  
  4. The dry glider food these companies are selling is not nutritionally balanced for a sugar glider. You can not feed a pellet food and a slice of apple every day and expect your sugar glider to live a long and healthy life; but that is what they tell you to do.  Sugar gliders are exotic animals that require a very specific diet.  There is no pellet food that can specifically meet all of their needs.  For more information on how to feed a healthy diet, please use the links on the left.   
  5. These mill breeders are notorious for inbreeding. Some breeders do not keep track of the lineage of their gliders. This can lead to serious health issues, including death. Why would you buy from someone who cannot prove to you that your new pet is not inbred? Responsible breeders know where their gliders came from and do their best to pair up gliders who are not closely related. Before purchasing a sugar glider, make sure to get the full lineage and work with someone that you trust.
  6. These mill breeders/brokers are also notorious for selling gliders with parasites.  If you have purchased a sugar glider(s) from them, please have your glider vet-checked for parasites immediately.   
  7. Many of these mill breeders are selling sugar gliders that are too young. They have lots of little joeys in several cages under a blanket behind them.  Several issues with this:  
    1. Do you think that these dozens of joeys are all just magically exactly 8 weeks out of pouch when they arrive to your state fair, home and garden show, or mall? Highly unlikely.   
    2. These babies are too small! I have seen many experienced breeders and new glider owners commenting in the forums about the small size of these gliders. They do not look like 8 week old gliders. Many do not look old enough to be weaned.  Do not buy a joey that does not have a fluffy, clean tail.  It is not old enough.
    3. We have heard of breeders selling week-old joeys at flea markets.  It makes us sick to think that people are doing this.  These joeys are not even weaned and the new owners have to hand-feed them.  This is not acceptable and we have heard from several upset people who purchased a joey like this and it died.  Would you purchase a kitten that was only a week old and had to be bottle fed?
  8. Sweet Sugar Gliders - Are Sugar Gliders Perfect Pocket Pets?The babies they are selling are not tame and friendly. I actually asked a Pocket Pets salesperson at the 2008 Iowa State Fair if they handle their babies to keep them tame. I was told that they do not handle the babies AT ALL because they want the joeys to know your scent. That, my friends, is ridiculous. Gliders do not work that way. They are very social creatures. They can and should be held from day one out of pouch for small amounts of time (as long as it does not stress out the mother). They may learn over time to favor one human over another, but can be social and loving with many humans. Good breeders handle their gliders and babies daily, so that when you bring your babies home for the first time, they will be much more friendly (after the initial adjustment of being in a new place). Before purchasing a sugar glider from ANY breeder, be sure to ask how much the babies are handled and what type of temperament they have.  I did later find out that Pocket Pets is a sugar glider broker that purchases the joeys from several breeders.  So the truth is that the handling is up to the breeders themselves.  If you do not know where your joeys are coming from, there is no way to know if they have been handled. 
  9. Because many of these sugar glider breeders/brokers at trade shows and state fairs do not handle their babies at all, many new owners find that the glider they bring home is MUCH different from the gliders they saw at the event.  As you can imagine, purchasing something on impulse, thinking it was something cute & cuddly & sweet, only to find out when you get it home that it crabs and bites you is quite a shock to new glider owners.  We see many of these poor gliders on craigslist.com right after these breeders have come to town. People did not get what they thought they were getting.  They were duped by the salesperson. These poor little babies are pulled from their parents too young and thrown into small cages and hauled half-way around the country.  Many of them are sick and they are scared.  The last thing they want to do is be friendly.  You have to work hard to earn their trust.  
  10. The cages are too small…period. If you have purchased a cage from a breeder at a trade show, please get a MUCH larger cage for your glider(s). Sell or dump the cage you got from the trade show, or use it as a travel cage. Please see our cage information page for more details on proper cage size.  
  11. Many of these breeders sell heat rocks with their gliders.  There is great debate amongst the glider community about the use of a heat rock with gliders and the safety issues involved.  The general consensus is DO NOT use a heat rock inside of a glider cage.  It is not safe for a glider to sleep on and there is too much of a chance that your glider will chew through the power cord, which could have awful consequences for your glider.  Most people agree that it is not worth the risk.  Sugar gliders that are old enough to be weaned are perfectly fine in room temperature.  Just make sure they are not being kept near a cold air vent or in a drafty area.  They do not need an additional heat source inside of their cage.  Also, they should be sleeping in a fleece pouch or a nest box of some type – not on top of a warm rock.  They are not reptiles.   
  12. Have you heard the trade show breeders telling you that you only need one sugar glider? Most responsible breeders highly recommend having two. Some breeders will not even sell you a sugar glider unless it will have a cage-mate. I have heard too many stories from too many breeders about lonely gliders over-grooming, getting sick, and even dying. Sugar gliders are nocturnal by nature. It is highly unlikely that you have enough time to play with your sugar glider on a daily basis, to keep him from getting lonely. A cage-mate is essential for a healthy sugar glider.  
  13. Some of these breeders will tell you that sugar gliders get along great with other pets. They even show you pictures and advertise it like it is the norm.  This is a lie. In some rare instances, under supervision, a glider can get along with a cat or a dog. However, most glider owners would not advise it. Even my 9 lb. Shih Tzu thinks that our gliders’ tails look like toys and I would never trust her with them. It does not matter whether or not the gliders let off a scent that makes your cat or dog want to hunt them. Gliders are small furry animals that like to run. What cat or dog would not want to chase them? Be very cautious if introducing your glider to your other pets and do not expect that they will get along.  
  14. Some of these places will tell you that if you feed their food to your gliders, it will eliminate odor.  Feeding a certain diet does not eliminate odor.  Neutering your male glider(s) will help reduce odor.  Also, keeping your cage clean will help, however the males will scent mark the cage more shortly after it has been cleaned.  There are some products that can be sprayed onto food to help eliminate urine odor.  In all honesty, if you have a pet, you have a smell.  There is no way to truly get around it. 
  15. There is a new push by one breeder to call sugar gliders "sugar bears".  Because sugar gliders are not generally called "sugar bears" in the United States, this is a marketing ploy to pull people in and land themselves at the top of the search engines.  We have heard some other countries do commonly refer to them as "sugar bears", but it has not caught on in the U.S.

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