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If you're the proud owner of a wee sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps), then you're probably quite familiar with some of this possum's trademark sounds. Although sugar gliders are communicative creatures, some of the sounds they produce are simply beyond their control. One example is wheezing, which generally is an indication that the poor suggie is feeling under the weather.
About Sugar Gliders
These bluish-gray marsupials live in eastern and northern portions of Australia, and also in New Guinea and various surrounding isles. Their name comes from their tendency to leap between trees, and their preference for sweet substances -- think eucalyptus sap and nectar. These territorial creatures usually live in rain forests, although they are highly adaptable to many kinds of forests.
If you listen to your sugar glider's breathing patterns and notice any conspicuous high-pitched whizzing sounds, or perhaps any clattering, it might be time to take your cutie to the veterinarian for a checkup. Wheezing in sugar gliders is occasionally a sign of a health ailment-- for example, upper respiratory illness. Wheezing in a sugar glider can also be accompanied by other signs of malaise, such as difficulty breathing, loud breathing, exhaustion, nasal discharge or sneezing.
The wheezing from your sugar glider might not be wheezing after all, but rather hissing, which has a sharper, more pointed sound. If your sugar glider is hissing, there's a high chance he's rather irritated with someone or something. If he hisses at you when you attempt to pet him, for example, it might be a good idea to stop and perhaps try again later.
Sugar gliders produce a variety of sounds and vocalizations. Purring, which is very subtle and hard to detect, indicates happiness and relaxation, much like in felines. Another sound these little guys make is barking, which sounds kind of like a dog giving off a brief, distressed cry. When sugar gliders bark, they're usually sending "alert" signals to others, or simply expressing fear. Lastly, "chattering" sounds in sugar gliders usually denote enthusiasm.
- Association of Sugar Glider Veterinarians: Sugar Glider Noises and Sounds
- University of Missouri Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine: Sugar Gliders
- SugarGlider.com: Sounds
- GliderCENTRAL: Glider Sounds
- SmallAnimalChannel.com: Sugar Glider Communication Revealed
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Petaurus Breviceps
- Sugar Glider Vet: Basic Health Care Information
- Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images