Sugar Gliders VS 7 Exotic Pets – Which One Is The Best Pet For You?

With such a wide choice of small pets on the market today, choosing one may seem a daunting task. How do you know which one is the best pet for you? In this comprehensive guide, we will compare sugar gliders with seven common exotic pets: bush babies, chinchillas, ferrets, hamsters, hedgehogs, guinea pigs and flying squirrels.

1. Sugar glider Vs bush baby

Easiness to care for

Since the availability for buying a bush baby is often difficult and problematic, these tiny monkeys are difficult to manage, and certainly not for kids. Compared to sugar gliders, a bush baby cannot be tamed easily. Both can be kept as single pets however the SG is better off with a buddy. The bush baby will be totally dependent on its owner.

Noise levels

Bush babies are very noisy with a range of 7 or 8 distinctive shrieks and noises. A sugar glider makes two or three types of noises ranging from barking, chirping, or crabbing sounds.

Lifespan

Both will live 10 years however a sugar glider can live up to 12 years in some cases.

Health issues

If sugar gliders are bred in poor conditions, they can pass on illnesses to their owners. These include salmonella and other bacteria that can affect you. Bush babies like urinate on their hands for better grip, and have to have a diaper at all times.

How much space is required?

A tall cage is needed to house sugar gliders since they like to climb and glide even inside their enclosure. A bush baby can grow to the size of a small housecat, so they need a larger cage. Neither should be allowed to roam around freely.

Food habit

The typical diet of a bush baby is insects that are found in the African jungle but like the sap found on tree branches. A sugar glider will also like the same kind of diet and also fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Fun and original

Both are wild animals, but the sugar glider will bond easier with people. Monkeys are too dependent on people and can be problematic as they get older. They can only be trained to perform a trick after many weeks of repeated reward training. Most people will choose the sugar glider over a bush baby since it’s smaller and cute looking.

Cost

If it’s not completely legal to import a bush baby into your country, it will be next to impossible to find one outside of Africa. Sugar gliders are now more common because of breeders who raise them to sell as exotic pets. These prices all fluctuate between breeders. The outward cost for a cage and food costs are the same as raising a rat or gerbil. Vet costs are a big question if your vet has never treated a sugar glider.

Sugar glider VS bushbaby: Which is the better choice?

In terms of care and availability, a sugar glider may well be the best choice if you are looking for an exotic pet.

2. Sugar glider Vs chinchilla

Easiness to care for

Both of these exotic pets are not recommended for kids because they are both skittish and can bite if handled improperly. They both need a lot of attention as young animals and can be raised as a single pet, however, raising two is better for their companionship.

Noise levels

Both of these animals can make barking and chirping noises, but it’s the sugar glider that makes more noise at night. This happens especially in the early morning before sunrise.

Lifespan

A chinchilla can live up to 20 years while the sugar glider is a maximum of 12 years.

Health issues

Chinchillas don’t have too many health issues but can suffer from hairballs since they have such soft hair. Unlike sugar sliders that have shorter hair that is just as soft.

How much space is required?

You don’t want chinchillas or sugar gliders roaming around your home without proper supervision. A chinchilla is still a large rodent and will chew on wooden furniture. With a sugar glider, they could escape and even get lost. A chinchilla is the size of a small cat and needs a large cage.

Food habits

You can give both of these animals dried seeds, fruits, and nuts. Chinchillas will need hay and pellets in their diet as well. And also salt rock or wheels to grind down their teeth.

Fun and original

Despite chinchillas being soft and cuddly, their size is more like a little bunny than anything else. They bond well, just like sugar gliders after a while. However, chinchillas don’t train very well.

Cost

It’s a bit more expensive to raise chinchillas than it is for sugar gliders. It’s all about the size and how much they eat. Trips to the vet can be expected more often for chinchillas as they can get sick quite easily.

Sugar Glider VS chinchilla: Which is the better choice?

In the race for sugar gliders Vs chinchillas, the winner here would be the sugar glider.

3. Sugar glider Vs ferret

Easiness to care for

The ferret is a good pet to have as a single pet but isn’t meant for toddlers to have as pets. They make a good pet companion if you like to bring your ferret with you. They do well with a buddy but will bond nicely without one if you are giving your full attention. Sugar gliders do better with a buddy.

Noise levels

Ferrets aren’t especially noisy and they make pleasant chattering, chirping, and something hissing sounds. They don’t make much noise at night unless they are fighting with a buddy. A sugar glider has tiny puppy sounds up to crabbing or hissing.

Lifespan

Sadly a ferret doesn’t live very long with only 5-10 years, but some rare cases have recorded up to 14 years. Sugar gliders range between 10-12 years.

Health issues

Ferrets have regular health issues that need a vet to check. Just like any pet you own, you need to get them fixed when they are mature. Sugar sliders can have bacteria problems your need to be careful when handling them.

How much space is required?

Ferrets are fairly long about the length of a grown cat and they need a decent-sized cage to be comfortable. Since they sleep up to 20 hours a day, you don’t have to worry about free-roaming too much. Sugar gliders also need to be kept in a large cage such as a birdcage.

Food habits

Your sugar glider will be happy with little snacks that are dried fruits and nuts with thick sappy liquid as a treat. A ferret will love cooked chicken or turkey with a variety of vegetables and fresh fruits. They are obligate carnivores and very rarely eat fruits and vegetables.

Fun and original

Even though a ferret sleeps a lot (just like a house cat) they can be taught tricks pretty easily. They’re good at bonding and have a nice personality once you learn their moods. Sugar gliders can be real feisty at times but can be taught to do tricks like jumping off things into your hands.

Cost

The vet cost to keep your ferret healthy are a big part of ferret expenses, from teeth cleaning to general health check-out and ferret vaccines. All the dried nuts and fruits for a sugar glider can be expensive if you dry them yourself.

Sugar glider VS ferret: Which is the better choice?

In this case, the sugar glider Vs ferret comparison is not going to fare so well since they are quite different creatures. The ferret is a good choice if you like how different they are compared to sugar gliders, but expect quite a bit of work with these hyper little critters.

4. Sugar glider VS hamster

Easiness to care for

One thing I can say for sure is that a hamster makes a great starter pet for responsible kids. One or two are very good because they like companions, and they don’t need much attention. If you get them when they’re young, they can be held and won’t bite as sugar gliders can.

Noise levels

Hamsters make a squeaky noise that can be considered their barking sound. If they make this noise loudly, chances are they are upset at something. They seldom make much noise and that’s another reason why parents like them. A sugar glider will make noise in their cage with others happily barking in the middle of the night.

Lifespan

Hamsters only live for about 2 years, which is a long life for them. You might get 2 at best but these little guys live the same as rats can last. Sugar gliders obviously have a long shelf life and this is why they make better pets for older teens.

Health issues

Hamsters can get tumors and this causes them to die. And once they get sick, they won’t last very long after that. Sugar gliders stay small and age over a decade with little or no health problems.

How much space is required?

Hamsters can live in a small cage, while sugar gliders need a cage that is tall and spacey. The best part about hamsters is building their little tunnels to keep them busy. They also like roaming in a plastic ball and gives them exercise. You can’t do this with a sugar glider.

Food habits

These two animals will enjoy dried seeds, nuts, but that’s the only similarity. Don’t give hamsters dried fruits, they will prefer food pellets and chewing sticks. A hamster has an easy diet that even kids can follow (with supervision).

Fun and Original

Hamsters are simple pets to handle but at times they can be poopy, or even pea on you. They’re fun little animals because of this, so bonding is an easy thing to achieve in a week. You can teach them simple tricks like fetching the treat, but not more than that. Sugar gliders can be taught tricks over time also but can have attitudes at times.

Cost

Hamsters cost close to nothing, while sugar gliders might cost a few hundred dollars. Hamster food doesn’t cost much over having a sugar glider to feed. There’s no need to take your hamster to the vet since it seldom has problems. Over time, your sugar glider may encounter health issues if it isn’t properly hydrated or fed.

Sugar glider VS hamster: Which is the better choice?

In this race between a sugar glider Vs hamster, the winner is the hamster. Simply because they’re so easy to take care of and keep happy.

5. Sugar glider Vs hedgehog

Easiness to care for

If you’ve ever owned a hedgehog, you know they are feisty, pokey little animals that like being alone. They take daily handling to get used to being held otherwise they might try to bite you. They don’t have great memories, so it takes a long time for them to know who you are. They’re not exactly a kid pet but more for young teens. Older and more experience teens will then start to be interested in sugar gliders as they require more skills.

Noise levels

Hedgehog are pretty discreet creatures but they do make noises from time to time. If you want to hear a little animal chewing its food, a hedgehog won’t disappoint you. They don’t often make noise aside from hissing or clicking. They are quieter than sugar gliders all through the night.

Lifespan

A typical hedgehog lives 2-5 years while the sugar glider lives twice as long.

Health issues

Hedgehogs are very hardy animals that last a decent amount of time. They can be quirky pets because of their little spikes, but they do like bathing. Sugar gliders don’t have many health issues except needing to be kept warm a lot.

How much space is required?

A hedgehog will enjoy living in a large one-level cage that you can clean easily. Using a large clear plastic bin container is also perfect since the locking lid keeps them from escaping. They are slow enough to roam around within reason, which is something you can’t do with sugar gliders.

Food habits

It doesn’t matter what you give to a hedgehog, they’ll eat it with no complaint. Pellets, grains, left-over food, dog food, so they are not peculiar about what they eat. They do like mealworms and earthworms in the wild. You can’t do this with sugar gliders because of their dietary needs.

Fun and original

For some reason, there is a big bonding point between hedgehogs and young teens. Perhaps it’s all about discovery and being able to tame a spiky-looking animal. Hedgehogs aren’t so easy to train, but they are fun to watch and give obstacles they can navigate through. A lot like a hamster, they like to explore. With sugar gliders, this is more about caring and holding them instead.

Cost

You won’t be paying a lot for a hedgehog, they’re not considered so exotic and you’ll rarely see any vet bills. By the time your hedgehog shows signs, it’s sick, it’s reached the end of its life. As far as food, feeding costs are nearly nothing since they eat all sorts of scraps.

Sugar glider VS hedgehog: Which is the better choice?

When it comes down to simplicity for comparing a sugar glider Vs hedgehog, the hog wins this round!

6. Sugar glider Vs guinea pig

Easiness to care for

A bit similar to a hamster, the guinea pig is also a great pet for kids and beginners. These can be good with one or two, although they will thrive better with a buddy. They don’t need much attention at all and are very docile with moderate handling. Sugar sliders will need much more attention in comparison.

Noise levels

Making noise is natural for guinea pigs since they typically make noise for all sorts of reasons. Their signature noise is humorous as they react to being picked up with little bursts of squeaking grunts. Most of the time, they are content to squeak with light noises throughout the day. Sugar sliders are a bit noisier especially at night, or if they feel anxious.

Lifespan

Guinea pigs can live anywhere from 4-8 years, making them excellent beginner pets. Sugar sliders can live 10 years or more.

Health issues

There aren’t many illnesses that affect the guinea pig unless you don’t feed them properly. They do have a tendency to have seizures because they are generally skittish to everything. Sugar sliders are always jittery to dangers around them, thus they take time to get used to an owner.

How much space is required?

A simple cage or plastic container is good for guinea pigs, so they should have space to explore. They do grow to the size of kittens, so they need space to move around. They are easy to put onto the floor and play with. You can’t do this as easily with sugar gliders.

Food habits

Guinea pigs have an easy diet and they will eat lots of crunch veggies like carrots and cucumbers but will be happy with food pellets and salt wheels. Any sugar glider will need dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in addition to insects or mealworms.

Fun and original

Most young kids and first-time pocket pet owners will love the guinea pig for its easy-going personality. They are easy to take care of, but you can’t really teach guinea pigs any tricks. They are good at roaming around and eating snacks during the day. Sugar gliders don’t do much until they wake up at night.

Cost

A guinea pig a pretty cheap and doesn’t cost much to feed. You won’t see many health problems except for basic grooming. Sugar gliders can be pricy with the type of food they eat. While a sugar glider doesn’t have many vet problems, they do have noise issues at night.

Sugar glider VS guinea pig: Which is the better choice?

Looking at the race between a sugar glider Vs guinea pig, the choice is clear. A guinea pig will be easier to take care of for beginners.

7. Sugar glider Vs flying squirrel

For an in-depth discussion on this subject, we wrote this article Sugar Glider VS Flying Squirrel – Which One Makes The Best Pet?

Easiness to care for

Since these two pets are so similar, they both need a lot of attention from the start. We don’t recommend either of these for kids without supervision as they need some small pet experience beforehand. Both of these do well with a companion buddy.

Noise levels

Both of these animals are nocturnal and will make noise at night as they keep busy in their cage. They make noises ranging from high pitch squeaks to hissing. The flying squirrel has a higher pitch squeal, so they will be quieter.

Lifespan

The flying squirrel does tend to live longer ranging from 10-15 years, while a sugar glider maxes out at 12 years or so.

Health issues

These little animals need to be kept warm, so constant room temperature should be comfortable for them. They don’t have many issues but do need vets that have previous experience with sugar gliders or flying squirrels.

How much space is required?

Since these animals are very small, they need a cage the size of a medium birdcage. It should be set-up so they can roam around inside at night. Aside from handling and jumping from objects into your arms, they aren’t good for being on the ground.

Food habits

Both of these little critters will have a steady diet of nuts and dried fruits. They both love sappy liquids since they are sapsuckers. These can be tricky diets since they need insects like mealworms and other little treats that can be extra costs.

Fun and original

They both have appeal since they both look near identical to each other except when you look at the flying squirrel. Then you can see they are very squirrel-like after seeing their tail and coloration. Both can be taught tricks like jumping into your hands from the top of a cage and being handled.

Cost

Since these pets are considered exotic, they can be more expensive than most pets you look after. The first concern is finding a good vet that knows how to treat these animals. They will need a steady supply of food that is specific to their needs as well.

Sugar glider VS flying squirrel: Which is the better choice?

If you want to have a little pet that is quieter at night, the flying squirrel is a better choice. Other than that they can be good pets if you give them plenty of attention.

Our conclusion

After looking at many of these pet comparisons, we can give you my overall impression. Now, there’s nothing wrong with sugar gliders as a pet for people who have experience. I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone too young to understand how delicate and finicky they can be. As exotic pets, they can be rewarding but still, demand your full attention. This is very rare for younger pet owners to handle.

Eddie Chevrel

I am Eddie, animal journalist and founder of ThePetSavvy. I am passionate about exotic pets and I dedicate my time doing research, meeting, and interviewing people working with animals.

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