Q&A: How to Start the Bonding Process

Start Bonding With A Sugar GliderQ: I have a female sugar glider I bought 2 days ago. When I play with her in the afternoon she seems to be nice. But in the evening or at night when I wanted to take her out and bond with her, she acted differently, screaming and its fierce. She is very aggressive. She makes me feel like she wants to attack/bite and that scares me off from taking her out. In the middle of night, she keeps making loud noise but there’s nothing bothering/touching her. I am afraid to play with her. Why does she behave so aggressive? What can i do to solve this problem?

A: Gliders need a few days to get used to their new environment, so you just need to give her a little time to get comfortable in her new home. She also doesn’t know you yet, so to her, you are just a giant scary predator.

She is probably calmer and easier to handle during the day because she is sleepy. The screaming sound you are describing is probably “crabbing” and it means your glider is scared. It’s just a sound she is making to tell you to back off, and she is trying to protect herself. It does not necessarily mean she is aggressive.

The loud noise she makes at night is called barking, and this is normal. Some gliders will bark at night, and as a glider owner, it is something you have to get used to. This may let up once she gets more comfortable in her new home, but it may continue. It is a sound gliders use to call to other gliders, so it is just normal communication.

There are some things you can do to help her get used to you and learn that you are her friend. You can start by sitting near her cage and talking to her in a calm, soothing voice so she can get used to the sound of your voice. Offer her some small treats through the cage so she associates positive things with your presence.

You can also drape a piece of your clothing that you have just worn over the cage so she can get used to your scent. Gliders recognize members of their colony by scent, so if you smell unfamiliar to her, she will be scared of you. You can also wear a small piece of fleece and then put it into her pouch so she can use it as a blankie and it will also help her get used to your scent.

If she starts crabbing at you, just stay calm and don’t run away. You need to show her that you are her friend, and if you let her scare you, you will reinforce her behavior. She will sense your fear, so you have to stay calm and be patient with her.

Once she starts getting more comfortable with you and her new environment, you should start wearing her in a pouch close to your heart during the daytime. This will really help the bonding process. You can put a pouch in her cage and when she falls asleep in the morning in the pouch, you can take it out and put it around your neck and tuck it into your shirt. If she crabs, you can pet her gently through the pouch and talk to her in a soothing voice until she calms down. Offer her some treats in the pouch as well so she knows you are a friend.

You should also offer a treat when you let her out at night to play. You can also try licky treats, honey or yogurt on your finger, but be careful because they can bite when the food is all licked off.

The most important thing you can do is just be patient. Gliders will take their time bonding with you, so you will have to go at her pace. Once she bonds with you, it will be a lot easier to handle her.


  1. LeslieAnne says:

    I have found that while volunteering at my local glider rescue that feeding yogurt chips and mealworms by hand speeds up the bonding process and makes them VERY happy to see you. Also remember that your glider is probably very lonely and they are a colony animal! So its very hard for them to adjust to being “alone”. Be patient, persistent and consistent!!!

  2. You are right but also be careful when you feed by hand they might bite when they lick all the yogurt off your finger

  3. I just got 2 female middle aged sugar gliders. I have been trying to bond with them everything has been getting better. And I feed them little treats once a day. So every time they see me they think I have food and come to me. But I don’t have food a majority of them time and they get mad, and once but me (not hard, kinda a nibble) what should I do

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