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When it comes to exotic pets, the Australian sugar glider is perhaps the most ‘exotic’ of them all. In fact, they are so exotic that most people have never even heard of them. In recent times though they have become quite popular as pets and are sold in many U.S. states. If you have recently obtained a sugar glider, or are thinking about getting one, it is crucial that you research the needs of these creatures so that you can offer them the very best life you can.
You will need to learn things such as their diet, what type of habitat they should be kept in, and the illnesses to which they are susceptible. You should also try to learn about their behavior so that you know how to react should you spot things that may seem strange to you. For example, many sugar glider owners become concerned when their pet start shaking.
Is There Something Wrong with Your Sugar Glider?
What you need to know is that shaking is completely normal for a sugar glider when it wakes up. It is thought that the reason they do this is that it helps raise body temperature. On the other hand, sugar gliders can also shake or shiver when stressed or scared.
If your sugar glider is new, it will likely need some time to settle in and get used to you. This means you are more likely to see your pet shaking and shivering when you approach than someone who has had time to bond with their pet.
Is Your Sugar Glider Ill?
While slight shaking and shivering is normal at certain times, continued shaking, particularly in the hind legs, could indicate a problem.
Sugar gliders need to be given vitamins and minerals supplements with their food or they are at risk of malnourishment. Calcium is especially important as a deficiency in this particular mineral could lead to a problem known as metabolic bone disease (MBD), which causes weakened bones.
If your sugar glider is shaking and is struggling to move its limbs, it is crucial that you contact a vet as soon as possible. The vet will probably, among other things, recommend a suitable calcium supplement for your glider. Unfortunately, many of the calcium supplements available for reptiles are not sufficient for sugar gliders and if given will lead to a deficiency. Your vet will be able to advise you of a suitable brand.
If your vet suspects MBD, it may be deemed necessary to provide injectable calcium supplements that will work faster. MBD requires urgent treatment as it can be fatal.
A sugar glider tends to shake upon waking, but usually only for a couple of minutes. If your pet is shaking for longer than this and you have noticed weakness in the back legs, it might be that it is suffering from MBD.
As always, I recommend contacting your vet for advice if you suspect that something is wrong with your pet.
- Featured Image (Sugar Glider Upside Down): Anke Meyring – CC BY-SA 2.5
- 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