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#1392631 - 08/09/15 08:16 PM What's the ideal colony size?
ElectricAnnie Offline
New Member

Registered: 08/09/15
Posts: 2
Loc: North America
Ignoring finances and with the objective of happy pets (no breeding pairs), what's the ideal size of a colony for sugar gliders? Minimum 2 to have a nocturnal playmate and cuddle-buddy, but would they be happier in a trio? With 4 gliders? 6? 20?

What are the complications of larger colonies? Does social hierarchy/dominance turn into an issue of concern (if so, how does it manifest? physical aggression, blocking from resources...)?

What issues come up with introducing new gliders to the colony over time? (ie, can we get a pair to start with, then grow the colony over months or years?)

Is there any way to test if gliders will get along prior to introduction? (Bringing along stinky fabrics?) Or do breeders typically have a policy on taking back a joey who is shunned by a colony?

We're in the super painfully-early stage of researching if sugar gliders are good companions for us. We're experienced exotic pet owners (currently caretakers to a hedgehog; previously ferrets) and are trying to learn about the specific needs of these social marsupials. We don't want to breed, so are contemplating an all-female colony (or possibly neutered males?). While at some point finances and practicality will come into play, for now we're trying to understand colony dynamics and what would make for the happiest pets.

As a related off-topic: Does anyone have recommendations for a solid, up-to-date intro guide to sugar gliders? We're finding the printed books suffer the same problem of being painfully outdated that plagues the hedgehog community. We're looking for something akin to this Guide to Hedgehogs, or even just pointers to which standard intro threads we should absolutely make sure to read on the forum.

Thank you!

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#1392633 - 08/09/15 10:50 PM Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: ElectricAnnie]
CandyOtte Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 09/03/08
Posts: 5138
Loc: Lutz Florida
Welcome to the forum and thank you for doing your research before bringing gliders into your life for many years to come.

I am not sure there is an ideal colony size. I have had a colony of 6 unrelated gliders that lived quite peacefully for a number of years. The 2 males were neutered and all of the gliders were about the same age. I started with a pair - neutered male and a female then about 6 months later added a pair of females. Shortly after that I added another neutered male. About 6 months after that I introduced another female who had absolutely refused to join the trio that I had hoped to introduce her to.

That was a long difficult introduction - introducing her to one glider at at time with lots of pouch swapping between each change in the colony.

I have also had a family colony - a breeding pair and their 4 joeys - with all the males neutered including dad before the female joeys were old enough to begin maturing.

The currently available large cages - the Congo from Exotic Nutrition or the Large Sturdy (same cage) from SunCoast is a great size cage for up to 6 possible 8 gliders. I would not put a colony in a cage much smaller.

Some folks build their own cages but there comes a size point where a cage can be too large to maintain. I like the standard wire cages because I can take them out side to wash and rinse with the hose and then allow them to dry in the sun.

Introductions really depend on the individual personalities of each glider. I have found males neutered before 4 months when they begin to mature never develop the urge to mate which can help keep the colony peaceful. My glider colonies are dominated by one of the females but they are just bossy - not aggressive.
Candy Otte
& the Glider Kids
Sassy, Corky, Mehitabel & Missy
Wacco, Yacco, & Dot
Mindy, Kanobles, Elmo, & Chipper

#1392637 - 08/10/15 09:24 AM Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: ElectricAnnie]
KarenE Offline

Registered: 03/25/00
Posts: 41153
Loc: LittleRock, AR USA
Originally Posted By: ElectricAnnie
Ignoring finances and with the objective of happy pets (no breeding pairs), what's the ideal size of a colony for sugar gliders? Minimum 2 to have a nocturnal playmate and cuddle-buddy, but would they be happier in a trio? With 4 gliders? 6? 20?

Candy has given you some very excellent advice. Other than in the wild where they are in control of the colony size, I don't think we have any idea what the ideal colony size would be for captive gliders.

Non related colonies, as pointed out, can be the most challenging as far as introductions once you get past the initial pairing.

My experience has only been with family units. My two largest containing six members each all living into their teens.

If you are simply wanting pets, it would be my suggestion to start with a pair. It's possible that is all you will want.
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#1392687 - 08/11/15 01:31 PM Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: ElectricAnnie]
Feather Offline

Registered: 01/19/08
Posts: 11940
Loc: Wisconsin
I agree, you have been given great advice. My largest colony was 5 before one passed away. They were father, mother and son and two unrelated females.

It is very interesting to watch a colony react to and play with one another.
Feathers-Sweetie, Sklyar Blue, Mister Peanut, Big Mack & Ibo
Fur-Widget, Guinan, Mr. Spock, T'Mir, Micheal, Stevie, Cho & :bb: T'Pol, Elizabeth & Curzon :wfb: TY, TJ & T'Pring :rtmo: O'Ryan :leu:
Forever in my heart, Gizmo, Tucker and the rest of my babies over the :rbridge:

#1392844 - 08/15/15 08:04 PM Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: ElectricAnnie]
ElectricAnnie Offline
New Member

Registered: 08/09/15
Posts: 2
Loc: North America
Thank you all! It's been fun reading around the forums and learning what we can. We're still a long way off from making any solid decisions, but I'll be lurking and occasionally popping up with a question.

#1393456 - 08/29/15 12:02 PM Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: ElectricAnnie]
spiceglider Offline
Out of Pouch

Registered: 07/13/14
Posts: 71
Loc: Virginia
I dont know if their is an ideal size but cage size and neutering matters if you plan for males and females o a bigger colony

#1393491 - 08/30/15 02:13 PM Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: spiceglider]
Terry Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 04/29/12
Posts: 4836
Loc: Maryland
I agree, I recommend getting at least two at or around the same time. If you were looking into re-homes, you may find trios and quads already settled together, that would be my next suggestion.

I have a trio. I started with a pair of females I re-homed that were almost a year old. After getting used to them, I started thinking about adding one or two more, but wasn't sure about it. I kind of looked on and off, then one day found a loner neutered male needing new cage mate, so I homed him and got my trio. I will stick with the three.
Lives with:
1 God
1 dog, (Willow)
3 Sugies, (Ollie, Lulu, & Skadoosh)


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