Feeding behavior and nutrition of the sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps)

Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract. 2009 May;12(2):209-15, xiii-viii. doi: 10.1016/j.cvex.2009.01.014.


Despite the sugar glider's popularity as a pet and a long-term history of captive management in zoologic institutions, little is known concerning their specific nutritional requirements, apart from low basal energy and protein needs. Sugar gliders feed on plant and insect exudates-saps, gums, nectar, manna, honeydew, and lerp-as energy sources and rely on pollen and arthropods for dietary protein. Captive diets based on nutritionally balanced, commercially available products developed for other species, with added produce, have been fed successfully in zoo and private glider colonies, but these diets may not promote optimal gut function or feeding behaviors. Diets commonly fed by private owners were examined in feeding trials and were found to be highly digestible, but contained excess protein that was likely imbalanced in amino acids, as well as in calcium and phosphorus, because of improper supplementation. Suggestions are outlined for areas of relevant research to improve nutritional husbandry of sugar gliders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry / methods*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Animal Welfare
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Animals, Zoo
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Digestive System Physiological Phenomena
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Marsupialia / physiology*
  • Nutritional Requirements*


  • Dietary Proteins