If you would prefer to listen to the audio - please click here
When it comes to raising a happy and healthy BABY sugar bear, we’re REALLY talking about TWO things. The first is the feeding and the protection of your sugar bear – and the second is how to get your new baby sugar bears to BOND with you and your whole family – in such a way that you can’t WAIT to see each other every day!…
Now,…Let’s start with one of the most MISUNDERSTOOD and EXAGGERATED parts of raising Sugar Bears – and that is WHAT to feed them…. First off, you need to understand that Sugar Bears are OMNIVOROUS – which for the rest of us NON-SCIENTIST TYPES out there means that they will eat just about ANYTHING you put in front of them…
Now, having said that, when it comes to giving your Sugar Bears the PROPER nutrition they need, there are basically TWO ways to do it – the EASY way – and the hard way…and EITHER way, they will be equally happy and healthy. Now what we mean by that is this… If you spend just a few minutes cruising websites out on the internet, you will find literally DOZENS of extremely complex, time-consuming – and sometimes expensive – methods and strategies for feeding Sugar Bears – and in almost every case, these self-proclaimed internet experts claim that THEIR way is the best – and only way – you should feed your Sugar Bears… and if you do anything ELSE – it’s could HURT your Sugar Bear!..
Well, the fact is that many of these diets are perfectly fine – and while they won’t necessarily harm an ADULT Sugar Bear – the simple truth is that there’s just NO real reason to make the feeding process a big complicated ORDEAL every day. Keep in mind, like we said earlier, Sugar Bears will eat almost ANYTHING you put in front of them – and ENJOY IT – but having raised tens of thousands of these happy and healthy little animals for the last 15 years, we can tell you for a FACT that there are really only THREE basic types of nutrition they need. The first is protein, the second is fresh fruits and vegetables and the last thing is just a quick vitamin supplement that fills in all the gaps.
In the wild, a Sugar Bear’s diet consists of roughly 75% gums, saps and nectars taken from different kinds of plants and trees. The other 25% would be what we call “LIVE” food; like insects, baby birds, bird eggs, etc.. In captivity though, IF your Sugar Bear’s diet contains a high percentage of live food or meat, it WILL develop a musky odor. Now, it’s not anything nearly as strong as a ferret’s smell, but it is a little strong for most people’s taste.
Now, fortunately, this is a VERY easy problem to fix – because as long as you just feed your Sugar Bears the right protein food, you’ll NEVER have to worry about them smelling bad. Over the years, we’ve tested ALL kinds of different protein-based foods that “claim” to eliminate odors in Sugar Bears, but we’ve never found anything that works NEARLY as well a special, dry pelleted food called “Glide-R-Chow™”.. It is specifically designed for Sugar Bears… it gives them ALL the protein they’ll ever need… and Sugar Bears LOVE to eat it because it has a special fruity flavor that they just go NUTS for. Over the last 15 years, we’ve found that Sugar Bears who are PRIMARILY fed Glide-R-Chow™ & fruits & vegetables as their two MAIN foods (and then OCCASIONALLY given a WIDE range of TREATS like a piece of cooked meat, boiled eggs, or other ’human’ foods that they love) will have very little odor if at all – and instead have a very pleasant smell that a lot of our customers say smells like a “puppy”. Now, obviously some people have a stronger sense of smell than others, so if you’re particularly sensitive you may notice them more than most people.
Ok, let’s get back to the basics. First off, when feeding your new babies Our Favorite Sugar Glider Food – Glide-R-Chow™ the best way to do it is by using a simple method called ‘free choice’. Using the special, WEIGHTED food bowl that we provide to you in our starter kit, put about 20 pellets in the bowl and just leave it in the cage at all times. Sugar bears will NOT overeat Glide-R-Chow™, and in fact you want them to eat as much of it as possible.. Having said that though, the reason we only want you to put about 20 pellets in at a time is to keep from WASTING food.
The fact is, one of the most FUN things about getting a new baby sugar bear in your family is watching them eat. They have the CUTEST little hands and they are AMAZINGLY good at grabbing and holding onto things. Now, when it comes to eating their Glide-R-Chow™, the best way to make SURE they are always getting enough is just to pour a little ‘Glide-R-Gravy™’ on top of it every night. When you picked up your Sugar Bears, they should have given you a free one-month supply of this – and it looks like this bag of white powder. Now, just so you know, Glide-R-Gravy™ is a special, enriched ‘superfood’ designed by top Vets and nutritionists specifically for these little guys – and they usually find it completely IRRESISTABLE. Truth is, you could probably pour this stuff on a brick – and they’d tear it up – but it’s really an AMAZINGLY nutritious way to make SURE your little buddies are always getting every bit of nutrition they need.
Actually, the best part about this stuff is that it only takes about 2 minutes to make up a whole month’s supply. The directions are right on the label, but all you do is: 1) throw it in a blender, 2) add water, and 3) freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then, once a night, just pop out one cube…. put it in the bowl on top of the pellets… and get outta the way!… You’ll be STUNNED at how fast your little darlings tear into this stuff – and the best part is it actually SAVES you money over just feeding the pellets by themself. That’s because you’re not gonna waste any food – because every night, most likely their bowl’s gonna be totally licked CLEAN before the sun comes up. Now, don’t worry if it’s not. Some babies just have bigger appetites than others, so as long as you can tell they at least ate SOMETHING, they’ll be just fine.
Now, according to the most recent veterinary studies, the “protein” part of a Sugar bear’s diet (which is the Glide-R-Chow™ and Glide-R-Gravy™) should be roughly about 75% of their total diet. In other words, 3/4 of what they eat every day is their pellet food & gravy. The other 25% is fresh fruits and vegetables. Now, we always recommend using APPLES as the MAIN fruit you give them on a nightly basis in the beginning. We give them about 1/8th of an apple (which is a standard-sized slice) every night, and then occasionally 1 or 2 other small tidbits of other fruits and vegetables you have around the house (once they’re older) – just to add a little variety to their diet. We recommend giving them their fruits and vegetables in the evening just before going to bed – but almost anytime later in the evening is fine. Then, when you get up in the morning, make absolutely SURE to TAKE OUT whatever is left over. You see, if given the choice, Sugar bears will almost always eat SWEET food – like FRUITS – before eating other foods that are GOOD for them… THAT’S why it’s very important to take all the fruit OUT of their cage first thing in the morning, because this way you’ll automatically KNOW they are getting enough protein and other important nutrients – without having to give it ANY more thought.
Probably the best way to put it is that – when it comes to nutrition at least, Sugar bears are a lot like little kids – in that if you let them eat CANDY all day – and not the stuff that’s good for them – they’d do it in a heartbeat – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s GOOD for them. Luckily, Sugar bears ALSO love the taste of Glide-R-Chow™ and Glide-R-Gravy™ – so feeding them THAT in the daytime – and fruits & veggies at night – is the perfect – NO BRAINER way to make sure ALL your bases are covered.
Now, if you’re buying a baby Sugar Bear from PocketPets, it will be between 8 to 12 weeks old – and we only sell them when they are in this age range because it’s during THIS 4 week “window” in their lives when they BOND to human beings and other animals the best. From the day you bring your new baby Sugar Bear home, you will find that they are TREMENDOUSLY playful little creatures, and because of their fun-loving nature – it will be VERY tempting to want to give them all sorts of CUTE…FUN… foods. While a little bit of this kind of thing is fine when they are OLDER – like the occasional almond or cheerio – it’s VERY important to remember that little baby Sugar Bears do not have all the stomach enzymes they need to be able to digest a WIDE variety of foods without sometimes getting sick. In fact, changing the diet that a young baby is already used to eating – by either adding or changing foods – automatically puts their entire body under a TREMENDOUS amount of stress and it can quickly end up dehydrating or even killing a young baby. Therefore, since all our babies are already used to the precise diet we lay out for you in these special reports, we strongly suggest that you stick EXACTLY to it, keep the “fun foods”; to a bare minimum – and limit the fruits and vegetables you give them to ONLY APPLES.
Now, if you only have one baby Sugar Bear, cut them about an eighth of a slice of apple every day and leave the peeling on it – but just be sure to cut the seeds out. For 2 Sugar Bears, give them two slices and treat the apple the same. We also suggest that you DO NOT dice these apples into small chunks – because they dry out a lot quicker that way – and your Sugar Bears won’t get the full benefit of all that natural fruit juice.
Once you’ve cut the apple, just put it on the floor of the cage. Keeping it down low like that will make it easy for your Sugar Bear to find it – especially when the babies are small, However.. once your Sugar Bears start getting a little older, it’s usually a good idea to start putting their food up on a shelf. By doing this, you’ll find that the food stays fresher LONGER because any toilet droppings they make won’t accidentally land in their food.
Now, another GREAT way to keep food in your Sugar Bear’s cage – and keep their cage VERY clean all the time – is just to make them what WE call a little FORMAL dining room! While it IS true that Sugar Bears never need a bath – and they keep themselves impeccably clean – when they eat, they DO tend to ‘shake their heads’ from side to side quite a bit, which tends to leave small chunks of their food both in the cage – and up to a couple inches AROUND it. Well, if you’re like us and you want to keep things neat – AND clean the cage as little as possible, the best thing to do is to make them this special place to eat.
Now, making your Sugar Bears their own formal “dining room” is a FUN little “craft project” that you can do with the WHOLE family, and it only takes about 5 minutes. Now, if you’d rather just buy one that’s already done, check in our online store at www.sugargliderinfo.org, because I think we’re gonna start selling these pretty soon. However, if you just want to make one, we’ve put some pictures and step-by-step instructions together for you on our website at http://www.sugargliderinfo.org/
Basically, the idea here is to take some kind of clear PLASTIC bowl or box that has a sealable lid, flip it upside down, and cut a couple holes in it. Then, put their food bowl and all their food in it – and whenever they want to eat, they will go inside. – just like a little “dining room”..
To make one of these, all you need are TWO things. The first is a CLEAR piece of Tupperware – or some other kind of clear plastic bowl or box with a sealable lid. The second thing is some kind of TOOL that will cut a couple holes in the plastic.
When picking out the right plastic bowl or box, there are a couple simple things that you want to keep in mind. The first is that the bowl or box should be CLEAR – and have a lid that seals into place. This allows you to easily see inside their dining room any time you want, so you can tell how much food they have – and when it needs to be changed. The reason you want this container to have a sealable lid, is so that you can easily take the whole thing in and out of their cage – any time you want – without spilling anything.
The second thing to consider when picking out the right bowl or box is just the SIZE of it. Generally speaking, you want their dining room to be big enough that all your Sugar Bears can be easily be in it at the same time – but it also needs to be small enough to fit in and out of the cage door. Also, when it’s laid upside down in the cage on its lid, you want it to be tall enough that your Sugar Bears can still sit on the side of their food bowl and eat without hitting their heads. Since the food bowl we give you in our PocketPets starter kit is about 1 ½ inches tall, we usually suggest that your bowl be somewhere around 4 inches tall.
Once you pick out the right container, just cut two holes in it – one on each side – with each hole being somewhere around 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter. You can easily do this with a knife, scissors… or even a hole saw. Either way, you want the holes to be big enough that they Sugar Bears can easily come & go as they please – and still SMALL enough that they stop any food from flinging around.
Like we said before, you don’t HAVE to build your Sugar Bears a dining room like this – but it is a FUN, quick little project for the whole family… it WILL dramatically cut down on the amount of cleaning their cage needs… and your Sugar Bears will LOVE it. Also, as we mentioned before, if you’re not the ‘mechanical type’ don’t worry. On the previous link to the dining room instructions, we’ve posted pictures of a few different dining rooms – along with step by step instructions for exactly how to make one for yourself – and again, if you’d rather just buy one that’s already made, check out our online store at www.sugargliderinfo.org
Now, once you’ve built your dining room, when it’s time to add or change food every day, just pull the whole container out of the cage, give it a quick RINSE, and set up the food just the way you want it. Then, pop the container back together… set it back in the cage.. and that’s about ALL there is to it!
Alright….NOW… let’s get back to actually FEEDING your Sugar Bears…. After the first SIX weeks of sticking to the “basic” diet of Glide-R-Chow™, Glide-R-Gravy™, and APPLES ONLY that we just went over a couple minutes ago, you should slowly start to introduce OTHER types of fruits and vegetables into your Sugar Bear’s daily diet, and just keep an eye out for any signs of diarrhea. Then, as soon as you feel confident that your little baby’s tummy is working properly, go ahead and add 1 or 2 small pieces of other fruits and vegetables to it’s food every night. A few examples of some good healthy foods like this would be a grape or two, a green bean, a chunk of carrot, a slice of cantaloupe, broccoli, or sweet potatoes..
Ok, as simple as it may seem, that’s about all there is to feeding your Sugar Bear. To RECAP, basically if all you do is give them Glide-R-Chow™, Glide-R-Gravy™, and a couple pieces of fruits & veggies at night – you’re 99% done… The ONLY other thing left – and this is VERY important – is to give them a special calcium-based multivitamin supplement every other night – just to fill in any gaps and keep them in TIP TOP condition…. If your Sugar Bear were living out in the wild, they would normally get all the vitamins they need from the bones of their prey, the hard-shells of the insects they eat – and from generally nibbling on other things. However, in captivity, they HAVE to be given this calcium – and other nutrients – as supplements.
Fortunately, nowadays there is a GREAT, one-step way to give your Sugar Bear ALL the vitamins they need. The product is called Glide-A-Mins™– and it’s a calcium-based, vitamin and mineral supplement that is made SPECIFICALLY for Sugar Bears. Again, in recent years as Sugar Bears have become more and more popular, we have seen ALL kinds of vitamin products for Sugar Bears come and go – and almost every website out there nowadays offers their own “special concoctions”…. Over the years, we’ve tried almost ALL of them – and all we can say is that based on having raised thousands of Sugar Bears over the last 15 years, we STRONGLY feel that GLIDE-A-MINS™ is – BY FAR – the BEST thing out there – and it’s the ONLY vitamin supplement we feed our Sugar Bears. .. Not only does it have all the vitamin and mineral supplements your Sugar Bears need – it also is LOADED with several special ingredients that MAKE SURE your Sugar Bear’s entire digestive system is in TIP–TOP condition.
Ok, now.. since Glide-A-Mins™ is a powder, making sure your Sugar Bears eat it is a VERY quick and easy process. Basically, all you do is just sprinkle a little PINCH of it on their APPLE every other night. Like we said, most Sugar Bears LOVE the taste of it…so when you do this, you’ll find that they usually lick off a patch of it before eating the apple… eat a little apple…come back a little later and lick off another patch.. and with almost NO effort on your part, you’ve just made SURE that your Sugar Bears are getting ALL the vitamins and nutrients they need!
Now, if for some odd reason your baby doesn’t want to eat their vitamins off their apple, all you do is mix a little of it into some fruit-flavored yogurt – or applesauce – and let them lick it off your finger. For more detailed instructions on exactly how to do this, just log in to the Family Circle
WELL, that’s about all there is to feeding your Sugar Bears… Like we said earlier, there are MUCH more complicated and fancy diets out there – but the simple TRUTH is that all you need to do is these THREE simple things… 1) Put a bowl with about 20 pellets of Glide-R-Chow™ topped with an ice cube of Glide-R-Gravy™ in their cage every night, along with… 2) an 1/8th slice of apple (per animal)… and 3) sprinkle a pinch of Glide-A-Mins™ on their apple – and you’re all set!
Now, before we get off the topic of feeding, we want to quickly cover the issue of GOING TO THE BATHROOM. We get asked ALL the time if Sugar Bears can be potty trained or litter box trained, and the short answer is NO, they can’t. Having said that though, Sugar Bears ARE extremely CLEAN little animals and their bathroom habits are VERY predictable – so once you know they work, it’s very easy to manage.
When your sugar bears are hanging out in your shirt pocket or in a pouch, it is unlikely that they would go poop or pee in there – unless of course they have no other choice. About the only exception to this would be – for example – when they are still very young – or if you had them in a shirt pocket that was velcroed shut and they just couldn’t get out to go… Keeping themselves neat and clean all the time just comes naturally to these little animals practically from the day they’re born. For example, during weekend shows and events where we exhibit, our staff will almost always have at least 4-5 little 8 week old babies bonding with them in their different shirt pockets for HOURS at a time – and even at that young age, they’ll rarely go to the bathroom in our pockets.
Now, what happens is that every 3-4 hours, they’ll wake up and come out of the pocket just to check things out and get a little snack … and when it comes to going to the bathroom, probably the best way to think of it is that Sugar Bears are pretty-much like us HUMANS… in that as soon as they wake up from a long nap like that – you’ll KNOW that within a minute or two they’re gonna want to go to the bathroom….. Now, this is ALSO true when you take them out of their cage for the first time each day after they’ve been sleeping under their towel for awhile –especially since – when you pick them up for the first time – you’re immediately going to be squeezing them firmly and massaging their little bodies and tummies with your thumbs.
Now, like we said earlier, this whole routine is VERY predictable – and it won’t take long for you to learn your particular Sugar Bear’s habits and mannerisms – so the BEST thing is to just be prepared ahead of time, by pulling out a tissue or a baby wipe and having it handy BEFORE you take your Sugar Bear out of it’s cage – or wake it up from a long nap. That way you’re all set.
Now in the beginning, when you’re still in the earlier stages of the bonding process, you’re going to be putting the baby directly in the pouch without handling them directly – so don’t worry about it if they go to the bathroom in their pouch (because you can always just wash it later). However once they’re bonded – and you can handle them easily – you’ll be able to prevent most accidents from happening by “depooping” them before you start to play.
Now, after they’re fully-bonded and it IS time for them to go to the bathroom, all you do – if you’re inside – just hold that tissue or wipey underneath them for a couple seconds, or if you’re outside, just hold them out over the grass – and it’s usually just 2 to 3 hard mouse-like pellets of poop – and a few drops of pee – and you’re ALL done for the next 3-4 hours. Just remember, during the day your new baby Sugar bear is going to want to go to the bathroom abouuuuut every 3 to 4 hours, so if you’re prepared in ahead of time and just have a little tissue in your pocket (and know their little habits) it won’t be long before those little accidents on your shoulders pretty much stop – and everything is SMOOOTH sailing from then on…
Now, we have lots more detailed information about potty training in the Family Circle section of our website – (including step-by-step Video Clips under the “Important New Videos for New Moms & Dads” heading) – so if you have any more questions about this topic – or anything else – just log in to the FAMILY CIRCLE and you’ll find everything you need.
The PocketPets Team