Unlike other rodents, your sugar glider needs more than a simple pellet mix to fulfill his dietary needs. Gliders are omnivores, meaning they can eat both plants and animals. Therefore, the best diet for sugar gliders includes a balanced variety of both.
What Wild Gliders Eat
In the wild, sugar gliders eat eucalyptus gum, tree sap, nectar, pollen, honeydew and insects or arachnids. While it would require much effort to replicate this diet exactly, you can offer your glider plenty of similar foods. Watch how much your glider eats to determine if you must supplement his menu with more protein or more plant matter.
Fruits and Vegetables
Forty percent of a sugar glider's diet must be made up of fruits and vegetables, washed if fresh and thawed if frozen. For fruits, experiment with apples, bananas, oranges, pears, tomatoes, berries, grapefruit and melon, such as watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew. Also incorporate vegetables like carrots, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, asparagus, cucumber, lettuce and sweet pepper.
Nectar Mix and Water
You can either buy or make your own nectar mix to give to your glider each day. Though recipes differ, they include water, honey, hard-boiled eggs and vitamin or protein supplements as necessary. Make sure the nectar remains refrigerated and discard it after three weeks. Also provide clean, fresh water daily in an inverted water bottle near the food.
Manufactured pellet food serves as a dietary supplement rather than a main source of nutrition. Check the expiration date on packaging or throw it away after two months. If your sugar glider does not take to eating this dry food, entice him by mixing honey or fruit juice in it.
Meat and Treats
Insects such as meal worms or crickets are a necessary and tasty protein for the sugar glider. These may be purchased live, or frozen if you are squeamish. Though treats should only make up 5 percent of the sugar glider's diet, this is a great way to bond with him. Give him cooked, lean meat without any seasoning. Vegetarian glider parents can also provide tofu as an alternative.
Pam Smith has been writing since 2005. In addition to her work for Demand Media, her articles have been published online at CBS Local. She also wrote for the Pennsylvania Center for the Book's Literary Map while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the Pennsylvania State University. She is currently an editorial assistant for Circulation Research.