Most people associate the sound of barking with dogs, but sugar gliders also make a barking sound. And as with dogs, sugar gliders bark to communicate. They may be trying to communicate with other sugar gliders or with you. It could be due to excitement, wanting something, or simply from pure excitement.
In the wild, sugar gliders typically bark to warn others in the colony of a present danger. When a sugar glider barks in warning, others in the colony will usually freeze to avoid being seen by the predator.
Other Reasons Sugar Gliders Bark
Barking is also used as part of the mating process for wild sugar gliders. In captivity, you might hear your glider barking from time to time. As sugar gliders are naturally nocturnal creatures, this barking is likely to be heard at night.
The barking will typically be the case that your sugar glider has been disturbed by a noise or something else that is unfamiliar to it. If your glider’s enclosure is near to a window, for example, lights from passing cars could make it feel threatened and cause it to bark.
As sociable creatures, a lone sugar glider might bark at night trying to find other sugar gliders. If you are worried that your sugar glider might be lonely, you can test the theory by going to comfort it to see if the barking stops. If it does and then starts again when you leave, you can probably assume that it is looking for someone to interact with. However, do not presume that getting another sugar glider will necessarily solve the issue of barking as two sugar gliders might bark anyway while they communicate with each other.
What Other Sounds Do Sugar Gliders Make?
Barking is not the only sound your pet sugar glider will make. These creatures make a host of sounds, depending on their mood and the situation they are in.
Crabbing is perhaps the most common sound heard from sugar gliders. It can be quite loud and is like a screeching sound that graduates before decreasing again. Some people describe crabbing as similar to the sound made by a swarm of locusts.
Sugar gliders typically make a crabbing sound when scared or looking for attention. It is a sound that is most often heard by new owners in the early days as they are trying to bond with their new pet. Sugar gliders can take a bit of time to get used to both new surroundings and new owners.
Hissing is another sound that can be heard from sugar gliders. It is similar to a sneezing sound and often makes new owners fret that their pet is unwell. Nevertheless, the reality is that hissing is the sound that comes from sugar gliders as they groom themselves.
Sugar gliders groom themselves in a similar way to cats but instead of licking their paws as cats do, they will spit into their hands and then groom themselves with their wet hands. This is what makes the soft hissing sound that is commonly heard.
A sugar glider with a respiratory infection might make a sound similar to hissing, so it is important to be alert to other signs of illness. These can include watery eyes, discharge around the nose or mouth, and a loss of appetite. If you are worried that your pet might be ill, contact a vet as soon as possible.
Chirping and purring are also sounds made by sugar gliders and usually indicate happiness or contentment. The purring sound made is very quiet and is usually only heard by keepers when they are snuggling their pet close. Chirping on the other hand is more audible and sounds like low squeaks or teeth chattering. Sugar gliders may make this sound when eating a food they like.
Sugar gliders make a whole range of sounds depending on whether they are scared, unwell, or happy, with barking being just one of them. Barking is often used to communicate with other sugar gliders or humans; it could be a way of signaling danger, or as a cry for attention. It is completely normal and nothing to be worried about.
- Featured Image (Sugar Gliders Eating Mealworms): OberonNightSeer – CC BY-SA 3.0
- Sugar Glider on Tree: Joseph C Boone – CC BY-SA 4.0
- Sugar Glider: Dawson – CC BY-SA 2.5
- Sugar Glider Upside Down: Anke Meyring – CC BY-SA 2.5