Q&A: What is the best way to pick up a sugar glider from the cage?

How To Pick Up A GliderQ: A friend of mine just gave me her sugar glider because she no longer had time for it. Now that I have him in my home, I am kind of scared to pick him up out of his cage because I’m afraid he will get away from me. What is the best way/time to pick them up out of their cages? I don’t want him to suffer from depression from not having enough bonding time, but I also don’t want to lose him. Is there anything you can suggest for my problem?

A: The best time for play is in the evening or at night. This is when your glider will naturally be waking up and ready to start his day. I usually like to allow my sugar glider some time in her cage after she wakes up before I let her out because she urinates and defecates quite a bit.

To pick your glider up, use a cupping motion with your hand and let the glider jump onto your hand.  It’s easier to let your glider cling onto you rather than trying to grab at your glider.

If this doesn’t work and your glider runs away from you, you can just wait until your glider goes into its pouch and take the pouch out and then kind of just turn the pouch inside out to get your glider to come out.

Before you’re ready to start play time, you need to decide if you want your sugar glider to mainly stay with you on your body or if you want him to have more freedom to explore. You might want to find out how your friend raised him to know what to expect of his habits.

If you want him to mainly stay with you, you need to pick him up and put him back on your body whenever he jumps off. If you do this enough, he will stop trying to get away from you. You can allow him off your body to play and with persistence, you can train him to come back to you when you call his name. You can do this by coaxing him with a treat.

If you want to allow him more freedom, you need to make sure your room is sugar glider proofed so that he cannot get out. I use weather stripping at the bottom of my doors to make sure my little girl can’t get out. Then, once you’re sure the room is secure, you can allow him to explore as he pleases.

He is going to want to climb anything he can, whether it be door frames or curtains. You should supervise his play time to make sure he stays safe. As you watch him explore, you will see what he can and cannot get into, such as drawers, your closet, floor vents (which you’ll want to close),
etc. If you keep a close eye on your glider, you should quickly figure out what kind of adjustments you need to make to keep your glider and your things safe.

Sugar gliders will urinate and defecate whenever and wherever they please, so be prepared to clean up after him whenever he is out for play time. Don’t be scared to let your little guy explore and be patient as you and him are both learning how to play together.


  1. tabitha says:

    I just got my sugar glider and I think he was mistreated and not handled much at all. I’m not sure what age he is, but when I got him he was in a very small cage, and I mean small. I have a big cage for him. I have only had him for a day. I really need to get him out of that cage and every time I go get him he bites me. I want to say he is doing it because he is scared. But if I take him and the pouch there is a hole in the bottom of it and that is where he bites me. Please help me on what to do. I think he is an older one but I’m not sure.

    • It sounds like your sugar glider is stressed and scared due to the change in environment. Give him a few days to get used to his new surroundings before trying to handle him. You should drape a piece of clothing you have worn over the cage so he can get used to your scent. You should also sit by the cage and talk to him in a gentle, soothing voice so he gets used to your presence. You can also try offering him some treats through the bars of the cage.

      Since the pouch has a hole in it, I would put a new pouch into the cage. You can put a treat inside to coax your glider into the new pouch. You can also wear a small piece of fleece and put that into the pouch so he can get more familiar with your scent. Once he is in the new pouch, try moving the pouch into the bigger cage.

      One thing you can try to stop the biting is to make a loud “pssst” sound whenever your glider bites. This is the sound that gliders make to each other to say “stop it!”

      If your glider starts crabbing, do not pull back. Remove the pouch from the cage and pet him softly from the outside of the pouch while speaking to him in a soothing voice. Offer him some small treats so he will start trusting you. Just remember that he is probably very scared and you have to be patient, especially if it is an older glider.

      Stay calm and confident as you start to handle your glider. If you pull back whenever he shows fear, you will reinforce his behavior. Stand your ground and try to stay calm because he can sense fear. Once he realizes that you cannot be intimidated, he will stop trying and start to trust you more.

    • You need to put your dirty socks on top of the cage so your sugar glider will get use to your scent and it will not bite you. I did it every day for a week and she doesn’t bite me no more.

    • Don’t let it worry you too much. Everything the above comment said is great advice. I got my sugar glider as a little thing over a month ago and I know she wasn’t miss treated but she was still not exactly loving to me in the beginning. She would crab and lunge and nip a lot and I was really afraid of her! After giving him some time to adjust, try to touch him and pet him as much as possible and you can try putting a closed bonding pouch with him in it in your shirt so he gets used to you even more, my glider would crab at first but by day 3 she got used to it and would just go to sleep. I did all this with my glider for a few weeks and then I borrowed my friends tent so we could improve on her being on my body, trying to pick her up, etc. I do this as much as I can and my glider still does not like being picked up but she almost never crabs, bites, or lunges, at me and even plays with me and stays on my body more :). It really just takes time. Also giving them little treats like fruit, meal worms, plain yogurt etc. is a great way to teach them that your hand is a good thing. My glider’s favorite is plain yogurt, she will grab my fingers to be sure she can get every last drop! Good luck 🙂

  2. i am about to get two glider and one is te and the other not so much..what can i do to make her comfortable with me

  3. I was wondering if you get a 7 week and he has been at home for a little while how do you keep him on your body and make food for them?

  4. I just got a sugar glider 5 days ago, and everytime i let him smell my fingers he bites. Basically everytime i touch him he bites. I dont know what to do.

  5. I’m about to get a sugar glider and I’m a bit worried that I’m gonna do somethin wrong when taking care of it. I’m good with pets but I’ve never had a glider. Anything I should know before getting it. The basic do’s and dont’s?
    Thanks in advance

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