Pocket pets: unusual little pets

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sugar glider
Sugar Gliders are actually marsupial opossoms native to the treetops of Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia
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What are sugar gliders? Information on these endearing exotic pets

The term “pocket pet” has come to describe a variety of small animals kept as domestic, household pets. Typically, pocket pets are very small-sized animals, or animals that are small enough to fit inside a pocket.

Common varieties of pocket pets include hamsters, mice, gerbils, rats, guinea pigs, ferrets, some bird varieties, and even some bats are referred to as pocket pets.

One of the most unusual little pets that has gained great popularity as a pocket pet is the sugar glider. Far more exotic than the typical North American or European rodents, sugar gliders are actually tiny marsupial opossums native to the treetops of Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and Indonesia.

These unusual little pets have been nicknamed “sugar gliders” because they have a preference for sweet foods such as fruits, sweet tree sap and flower nectar. Similar to flying squirrels, sugar gliders posses a thin membrane (called a patagium) that stretches between the front limbs and back limbs, and can unfold to serve as a glider, or kite as the sugar gliders leap and soar between tropical tree tops. In fact, sugar gliders can gently glide for a distance of up to one hundred and fifty feet.

Sugar gliders have become highly popular pets for families with children, primarily because they are very affectionate creatures who crave attention and love to snuggle, and they are relatively inexpensive to care for. They will be nourished by a die of fresh fruits and seeds, and will live comfortably in a large size bird cage with a nesting box. They do require regular interaction and human attention, and are playful, adorable, endearing and remarkably unusual little pets.

Some of the most appealing and endearing features of the sugar glider are its incredibly soft, mink-like gray fur with dramatic black stripes and markings, as well as the large, bright black eyes, bushy tails, and miniature hands and feet with five digits-including an opposable thumb and opposable large toe on each hind foot. The average sugar gliders weighs between 4 and 6 ounces, and the body measures four to six inches. 

Purchasing a sugar glider is not a decision that should be made hastily or on a whim. These exotic Australian animals need considerable care and attention. The process of introducing a sugar glider into a new home and family involves an important bonding process that should be overseen by a responsible adult.   

Although they are not typically aggressive, sugar gliders can bite when they feel threatened or afraid. Care should be taken when young children are handling sugar gliders. Sugar gliders who are properly socialized will not usually bite or react violently.  

In addition to sharp teeth sugar gliders do posses tiny sharp claws on each digit. These claws help them to climb trees, vines and plants in the tropical jungles. In captivity, however, trimming the nails may be helpful. If left untrimmed, these sharp nails can cause scratches on human skin. If not cleaned or treated properly, these scratches can become infected.  

Prior to purchasing a sugar glider, it is vital to research their care and needs. These unusual little pets can make extraordinary and loving companions.  As sugar gliders have a life span of 10 to 15 years, it is important that owners are able to make the commitment to properly caring for these beautiful creatures.  

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