Sugar Glider Sounds and Noises: What Do They Mean?

Having pets is one of the great joys in life.  They brighten our days with their love, reduce our stress levels with their playfulness and help teach our children about responsibility. 

We get so much from our pets, and we want to be there for them when they need us.  Being aware of what different behaviors, smells, sounds and noises your pet makes will go a long way in helping you recognize what your lovable friends need.

Before getting sugar gliders, most people haven’t been around them enough to know all of the noises and sounds sugar gliders make.  If you don’t know their regular sounds, how will you know when your sweet sugar gliders are telling you something is wrong?

This article will cover the common noises and sounds your pet sugar gliders will make.  It will also discuss some problems your tiny pals might be dealing with, that they’re trying to communicate to you.  Finally, we’ll discuss some sounds and noises sugar gliders make that some people find unpleasant.

Sugar Glider Crabbing

One of the main methods sugar gliders have to verbally communicate is by crabbing.  Odds are when you first adopt sugar gliders the first sounds you hear them make is crabbing. 

What Does a Crabbing Sugar Glider Sound Like?

Some sugar gliders crab so loud and fast that it can be slightly alarming to those who haven’t heard it before.  It’s difficult to describe exactly what a crabbing sugar glider sounds like, though some say it is similar to the noise locusts make when they rub their wings together.  You can judge for yourself:

Video of a Crabbing Sugar Glider

Video Example of a Crabbing Sugar Glider

Why Do Sugar Gliders Crab?

As you can imagine, sugar gliders don’t have many ways to fight off predators.  While sugar gliders are nocturnal and are able to glide great distances, they also do their best to act intimidating. 

Sugar gliders know they don’t stand a chance against most other animals, including humans.  However, when they don’t have any other choice, they will stand up to appear as big as possible and crab. 

When kept as pets, this means that when a sugar glider is crabbing they are generally frightened, anxious or in some other way feel unsafe.  After you have bonded with your suggies, they will usually stop crabbing at you.  Though don’t be surprised if they crab when you startle them!

How to Make a Sugar Glider Stop Crabbing

Since sugar gliders crab when they are scared, there is no way to train a sugar glider to never crab again.  Some sugar gliders crab much more than others and it may drive you a little crazy. 

Remember, sugar gliders use crabbing in the wild to try to scare away other animals.  Pet sugar gliders might try this on you too!  It’s best to not let them think it is working on you.  Otherwise, they may keep doing it again and again.

To get your sugar glider to tone down the crabbing, the number one thing you can do is make sure it is bonded with you.  Once bonded, your sugar glider will feel secure while you’re around and should not crab much at all. 

Sugar Glider Barking

When you hear the word bark, dogs are probably the first animal to come to mind.  However, many other animals bark too.  Monkeys, deer, mice and yes, sugar gliders all bark.  In fact, barking is another major way sugar gliders ‘talk’. 

What Does a Barking Sugar Glider Sound Like?

A sugar glider’s bark sounds close to other small animal’s bark.  The bark of a small, yappy dog is probably the closest example that most people are familiar with. 

Some sugar gliders have a softer bark than others, and some can be quite loud.  This might be something to consider if you’re a light sleeper!

While most sugar gliders don’t bark all night, you can imagine that a few of them together could still make quite a racket:

Video of a Sugar Glider Barking

Video of a Sugar Glider Barking

Why do Sugar Gliders Bark?

Like dogs when sugar gliders bark it can mean several different things.  Being so small, sugar gliders need to constantly be aware of possible danger.  As social animals, sometimes a sugar glider’s bark is to alert other sugar gliders about a dangerous situation. 

Sugar gliders need activity and do best when they live with other sugar gliders.  If your sugar glider is lonely, it’s bark may mean they want you to come play with them. 

Other times, your lovable friends might bark to get your attention for another reason.  When sugar gliders are hungry or want out of their cage to play, they may bark for you. 

While a sugar glider’s needs should be met, you’ll need to determine why they are barking and not train them to beg.  Some sugar glider owners try giving their suggies a treat to stop the barking.   

That can result in training them to bark when they want a treat.  Being woken up nightly by a barking sugar glider requesting a treat isn’t an ideal situation!

Sugar Gliders Barking at Night

We just went over some reasons your sugar gliders might bark at night.  Some people don’t mind their sugar gliders barking at night, but what if you do?  Many people don’t keep their sugar gliders in their bedroom just for this reason. 

If the barking is loud enough to keep you up at night, try getting a night light.  Some sugar glider owners report that their noisy but adorable friends stay a lot quieter when there is a night light on. 

You don’t want anything too bright, or you may risk throwing off their sleeping patterns.  While you’ll never stop all barking, a night light or two may quiet down your sugar gliders. 

Sugar Glider Hissing and Sneezing

Like many animals, sugar gliders also make a hissing sound.  Unlike other animals, the reason sugar gliders hiss usually isn’t because they are frightened or angry.   The hissing sound sugar gliders make is also referred to as sneezing. 

Why do Sugar Gliders Hiss / Sneeze?

One of the reasons sugar gliders hiss or sneeze is because it is a noise they make while they are grooming.  To give themselves a bath, sugar gliders will spit into their hands and use the saliva to clean up. 

When they spit the sound is a lot like short bursts of little hisses.  Now you know why the hissing sound is also referred to as sneezing!

Another time you’ll hear your sugar gliders hiss is when they are playing with each other.  Getting rowdy and chasing each other around can be all it takes to set off a bout of hissing.

Sugar gliders also use hissing to communicate with each other.  Some sugar glider owners take any hiss directed at another sugar glider as an angry or bossy command.  However, the truth is we don’t exactly know what sugar gliders are trying to say to each other when they hiss from across the cage.

Video of Sugar Glider Sneezing While Grooming

You’ll want to turn the volume up loud to hear this one!

Video of Sugar Glider Sneezing While Grooming – You’ll want to turn the volume up loud to hear this one!

Video of Sugar Gliders Hissing While Playing

Video of Sugar Gliders Hissing While Playing

When Sugar Glider Hissing and Sneezing Can Be a Bad Sign

While hissing is normally not a sign of an angry sugar glider, they have been known to hiss at each other when fighting or otherwise not getting along.  You’ll need to observe them to make sure you don’t have a situation that could cause this, such as not enough feeding areas.

Sugar gliders can get respiratory illnesses.  If your sugar glider is making a sneezing sound that sounds closer to wheezing than normal, you might need to take them to the vet.

There have also been cases of sugar glider owners discovering their sweet pals were having medical problems due to hissing.  For instance, if your sugar glider is hissing every time they urinate or defecate, they may have a problem. 

Hissing and sneezing in different ways and at odd times can be one of many signs or the only sign your sugar glider is in distress.  Please consult your exotic pet veterinarian before coming to any conclusions.

Sugar Glider Happy Noises

Sugar glider happy noises are some of the best sounds they make!  Whether they are chirping, purring, whistling, or chattering, you’ll love hearing your sugar gliders make these noises.  Sugar gliders will not only make these sounds to each other but after you’re bonded, they’ll do it to you too!

Why do Sugar Gliders Purr?

Unlike a lot of barking, or loud crabbing, when your sugar glider purrs, you’ll know everything is right with their world.  This is what sugar gliders do when they are feeling blissful.  The only downside to a sugar glider’s purr is that it is so faint you won’t hear it from afar and it is very hard to get on camera to give you an example.

What is Sugar Glider Chirping and Chattering?

When sugar gliders chirp or chatter it’s another sign you have a happy pet.  When a sugar glider chirps and chatters, you’ll hear a sort of slight clicking sound.  Often it is also accompanied by a faint purr as well. 

This is the sound many sugar glider owners look forward to the most because many believe it is their lovable pal’s way of saying ‘I love you!’. 

Sometimes sugar gliders will even mix in a little whistling or squeaking.  This is especially adorable. 

Sugar gliders will also make these noises while chowing down a favorite food.

Video Featuring a Chattering and Whistling Sugar Glider

Video Featuring a Chattering and Whistling Sugar Glider

Sugar Glider Singing

When people talk about sugar gliders singing, they aren’t referring to their suggies creating a beautiful melody that’s easy on the ears.  Rather, when a sugar glider sings it sounds closer to the tsk-tsk-tsk of a rotating water sprinkler than a song.

Why do Sugar Gliders Sing?

Female sugar gliders sing to their joeys when they are nursing.  While they may also be expressing love and adoration for their new offspring, more often they are trying to adjust a nursing joey to a more comfortable position.

After nursing for a while, sugar gliders’ nipples get sore and a little joey twisting or pulling the wrong way can be painful.  You’ll often hear a sugar glider sing accompanied by some light squeaking and shaking while she tries to move her joey. 

Sometimes you’ll hear your momma sugar glider singing before you even get to see her joeys.

Video of a Sugar Glider Singing While Nursing

Video of a Sugar Glider Singing While Nursing

Sugar Glider Crying

Sugar gliders don’t have a single sound that is identified as crying.  Though they will make noises that sound strained or like a whimper when they’re trying to tell you something is wrong.

We went over crabbing and barking early in this article because sometimes new sugar glider owners confuse those noises with crying.  If you haven’t already, check those videos above.

Summary: Sugar Glider Sounds and Meanings

As you can see, sugar gliders make a variety of sounds each with certain meanings. 

When a sugar glider is crabbing it sounds like locusts.  Sugar gliders crab when they are scared.  You’ll never stop a sugar glider from crabbing completely, but when they are bonded to you, they won’t crab much at all.

A sugar glider’s bark can mean several things.  It can be a warning to other sugar gliders, a playful sound, or an attention getter.  Don’t give your sugar glider a treat every time it barks, or they’ll learn they can boss you around.

Sugar gliders making a hissing sound as the clean themselves.  They also hiss while playing, and to communicate with each other.  If a sugar glider is hissing different than normal or the hissing sounds more like wheezing, they may have a medical problem.

Sugar gliders make a variety of noises when they’re happy.  You’ll love it when your sugar glider’s purrs, chirps, and chatters.

A singing sugar glider doesn’t sound much like singing at all.  Singing is a noise sugar gliders make when they are nursing.

Knowing why your sugar glider is making their different sounds is an important part of being a responsible owner. 

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