Sugar gliders are naturally omnivorous, meaning they eat both animal and plant products. In the wild, they feast mostly on sap and gums (from trees), nectar, pollens, honeydews and a huge variety of insects and arachnids.
In captivity, the most critical part of keeping healthy sugar gliders is to provide a balanced, varied, fresh diet. This means ensuring the correct ratio of carbohydrates to proteins and supplying adequate vitamins and minerals.
Sugar Glider Diet
Your sugar glider’s daily basic diet should include:
- A nectar mix such as Leadbeater’s mixture
- Commercial pelleted food for gliders, or an insectavore/carnivore pelleted food
Note: Sugar gliders can have lean unseasoned meats as a treat.
All foods should be fresh or frozen. Fresh vegetables and fruits should be washed thoroughly to remove pesticides, and frozen foods should be thoroughly thawed. Insects can be live or canned. Pelleted food should be fresh — do not feed food that has been stored for more than two months. Nectar mixes should be refrigerated and thrown out after three weeks.
If you are giving your sugar glider enough food at night, you should find a little left over in the morning. All uneaten foods should be removed to prevent spoilage, and all dishes should be washed with biodegradable soap and hot water.
Sugar Glider Treats
Treats can be used to help tame and bond with your sugar glider, but should not make up more than 5 percent of your sugar glider’s total daily intake of food. Healthy treats include very small pieces of cooked (not fried) lean unseasoned poultry or beef. Some sugar gliders also like tofu.
Modified Leadbeater’s Mix
Make a Leadbeater’s mixture for your sugar glider by following this recipe:
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 shelled hard-boiled egg
- 1 teaspoon vitamin/mineral supplement (designed for sugar gliders, reptiles or small pets)
- 1/2 cup high-protein baby cereal
Mix the first four ingredients in a blender, and then gradually add the baby cereal, blending until smooth. Refrigerate or freeze unused portions. Discard any unused refrigerated portion after three days.
Note: This recipe appears in the book, “Sugar Gliders – A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual” by Caroline MacPherson.