Do Sugar Gliders Smell?

Before adopting a pet, it is important to learn about what you’re getting yourself into.  This is probably truer when it comes to sugar gliders, since most people haven’t had a lot of exposure to them.

One question potential owners ask is, ‘Are sugar gliders smelly pets?’.  If so, what kind of smell do they have?

So, do sugar gliders smell?  Do sugar gliders stink? Like all animals, sugar gliders do have a smell, by understanding what is causing the smell, you can do a lot to mitigate it.

What Do Sugar Gliders Smell Like?

The typical smell of a sugar glider will be a light musky scent.  Some owners say they also smell a hint of something sweet mixed in as well. 

Will Sugar Gliders Stink Up My House?

Well cared for sugar gliders won’t make your entire home smell, however they will make a room smell noticeably different to someone who isn’t used to their scent.

Why Do Sugar Gliders Smell?

It’s important to know why your sugar glider is emitting an aroma.  There are a few main issues that can cause a sugar glider to smell.

Natural Smell

All animals will have some sort of smell, it is only natural.  Through sweat and other means sugar gliders will have their own unique scent.  Fortunately, the general smell of a sugar glider isn’t something that bothers most people and is easy to get used to.

Sugar Gliders Have Scent Glands

Both male and female sugar gliders have scent glands.  Female sugar gliders have two scent glands while males have three. 

Males have a scent gland on the top of their head.  This scent gland can be the cause of baldness for some sugar gliders.  Males also have a scent gland on their chest.  These 2 scent glands are used for mating purposes, primarily marking their territory and their mates.

Female sugar gliders also have a scent gland that is designed for mating purposes.  This scent gland is in their pouch and generally more active when they are ready to mate.  Females will spread the secretions from this gland around to let males know they are in heat.

The scent gland that both male and female sugar gliders have is the paracloacal glands which is in their cloaca.  Males will use the scent from this gland more than females to mark territory. 

Poor Diet and Nutrition

Sugar gliders need to eat the correct balance of fruit, vegetables, protein and fat.  Many sugar glider owners also strive for a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1 in their little pal’s diets.

Poor diets can cause the natural musky smell of your sugar glider to get stronger and stinky.  There are many commercially available sugar glider foods available that can help you find a good balance.   

When a sugar glider’s diet gets out of balance, it can also lead to stinky stool and urine.  One problem that is often overlooked is that too many extra vitamins and supplements can cause this problem. 

Urine and Feces Not Being Cleaned Up In A Timely Manner

If you aren’t actively cleaning up after your sugar gliders every day, their cage will start to quickly stink. 

There are methods to try to litter train sugar gliders that some owners have used with great success.  If you can train your little pals to go in the same spot it will make cleaning up after them much easier! 

How to Eliminate a Sugar Glider’s Smell

While it is true you won’t eliminate a sugar glider’s smell, there are some things you can do to make them less stinky. 

Neuter Male Sugar Gliders

Male scent glands associated with mating don’t develop until puberty.  If you have them neutered before then, they won’t develop much at all. 

Unneutered males stink a lot more than neutered males.  Neutering is a sure-fire way to lower your male sugar glider’s smell. 

It is not recommended to spay female sugar gliders.  The surgery is too much for their little bodies to handle.  Luckily, females don’t spread their scent around nearly as much as male sugar gliders do.

Maintain a Proper Diet

Maintaining a proper diet for a sugar glider is easier said than done.  It’s very tempting to feed them whatever fruit or vegetable you’re snacking on or give them an extra meal worm.  Sugar gliders are just so dang cute!

A healthy diet will not only keep your sugar gliders from getting fat, it will keep your sugar glider’s natural smell under control and should make their feces and urine less stinky as well.

Regular Cleaning

Sugar gliders keep themselves clean.  Some owners do give them baths, but it shouldn’t be necessary.  If you do decide to give your little pal a bath, talk to your veterinarian first.  There is a lot that can go wrong.

Litter training your sugar gliders to at least poo in the same spot can make cleaning their cages a whole lot easier.  If your sugar gliders are trained, get in the habit of cleaning up after them daily or at least a few times a week.

Their cage should also be totally cleaned weekly, though you should keep it up throughout the week as well. 

There are some products made specifically for eliminating sugar glider odors and cleaning their cages.  Make sure to talk with your veterinarian before using any of these.

Summary: Do Sugar Gliders Stink?

We’ve covered a lot of information here.  So, do sugar gliders stink?  The short answer is: Yes, sugar glider can indeed stink.  However, a lot can be done to make sure the only smell they have is their normal musky scent that isn’t too strong. 

Be sure to keep a regular cleaning schedule for their cage, maintain a proper diet for your little friends and unless you are planning on breeding sugar gliders, get the males neutered before puberty. 

All of these steps will not only increase the quality of life your sugar gliders have, but will also keep their smell from being overwhelming to you!

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