Sugar gliders are quite possibly some of the cutest animals on the planet. They are full of energy, are small, adorable, and are quite entertaining. They make for great pets as well, but today we’ll be taking a look to see just how well they fit into a classroom setting among other things as well.
Are sugar gliders good classroom pets? Well, the short answer is yes. However, as you’ll find out later in this article, they aren’t as simple as other standard classroom pets, such as gerbils. However, they are great, loving animals that will be good around kids and most of all, certainly entertain them.
To dive into this further, we’ll be taking a look at the benefits of having them as a pet, how you can care for them, what their diet consists of, and more. It should be noted that for maximum happiness out of your sugar glider, you should at least have two of them at a time. We’ll still be taking a look at it as an individual pet, but just keep in mind that if you decide on them as a pet for the classroom, make sure you at least invest in a pair.
Benefits as a Pet
Sugar Gliders have many great attributes about them that make them appealing as a pet. Besides being just a personal pet though, there are many great benefits as well for having them in a classroom.
For starters, a sugar glider is adorable and will make any kid fall in love with them. They feature cute eyes and are covered in soft fur that kids will enjoy petting as well.
Sugar gliders are full of personality and have just as much as a cat or dog. Each sugar glider has their own, unique personality that anyone can enjoy and be entertained by.
Their activity and tricks they do is what is a great selling point to choose as a pet over something like a hamster.
The maintenance is relatively low for a sugar glider. It should be noted that it is a bit more than say a hamster, but I think the benefits make up for it alone. We’ll get into the exact a bit more later but for now, just know it is pretty low maintenance.
Sugar gliders are some of the most curious little creatures you can put in a classroom. Also, they love to be active. Combine those two together and you get a pet that loves to play.
With this, sugar gliders will love kids and interact with them much more than animals its size, such as a hamster, which is not quite as playful.
Also, the sugar glider has the ability to fly, which may be hard to control in a classroom setting at times, but certainly would make the kids go in awe. If the classroom is a smaller size, then you shouldn’t have many worries about them.
One of the great things about sugar gliders is that they keep themselves very clean. This means that baths are not required hardly, and they will be clean for the children as well. Also, since they stay so clean, they will carry little to no odor.
How to Care For Them
Caring for a sugar glider will require a bit more TLC than other standard classroom pets, but not by a large margin. Let’s take a look at what all you will need to take care of your sugar glider and keep it in good health.
Sugar gliders eat a variety of food that makes it not too hard to feed. In fact, they can even eat regular household foods as well. Some of the foods they eat include:
- Small prey (birds, lizards, etc…)
You should avoid refined sugars and fats when feeding them. As you can see, they eat a large variety of foods, and you can find it in quite a few places. Sugar gliders need fresh water constantly and will even need to be fed at night.
They eat quite a bit, so make sure you are always prepared to feed them at all times. Snacks are great to keep on you and feeding them is something the students would enjoy doing as well.
They are a bit more on the demanding side when it comes to their diet, but the joy factor will outweigh the more time you’ll have to spend in these areas.
Building a Relationship
For you to get the most out of your experience with a sugar glider and have it developed its personality to the max, spending time with it is key. Not only is it a benefit to them to have care, but they also have a need for interaction.
This is great for a classroom setting, as the kids will love the interaction and relationship, they’ll build with it, and best of all, the sugar glider will benefit from it tremendously as well. Once a bond is developed, they are loving animals that will entertain and cuddle as well.
Before introducing the sugar glider to a group of kids however, you’ll want to make a personal bond with it, most likely at your home. This way, the sugar glider has a familiar face immediately when brought into the classroom, and so it knows it can trust you.
Process of Bond
There is a certain process that is great to follow that is effective in building a bond with a sugar glider. To start, have the sugar glider sleep with you in a pouch. If you have gotten a pair, (as recommended earlier), then all these processes will just be doubled, including the sleeping pouch.
Having the pouch on you allows them to become familiar with your scent, which will help them trust you more and more. Also, you don’t just have to have them in a pouch during sleep either, they can be carried throughout the day as well, which will just speed up the process of them beginning to trust you.
A reward system is another great method to building a bond as well. These typically involve treats and can be given after play or them being loving. Make sure you space this out though, as if they are rewarded all the time, then it will defeat the purpose.
Also, an enclosed area is a great way to bond. Whether it be a tent, or a closed off room, it is great to make sure you and your sugar glider spend quality time together.
Avoid Outdoor Areas
One of the dangers of having a sugar glider is its ability to take off by itself and not come back. Outdoor areas. You may be thinking that the more you bond with it, the more it just won’t take off. Sadly, no matter how much you’ve bonded with the animal it may take off if it is distracted enough.
If you have something like a covered porch or a greenhouse, then it should be fine, but for taking them outside with a classroom, there is a chance that you may lose the pet forever.
The cage itself for a sugar glider will need to be rather large. Due to their ability to glide, you want to make sure the height is at least 3 feet, and 2 feet wide. Also, the spacing between the bars of the cage needs to be no larger than half an inch.
Of course, though, the bigger you can get, the more pleasurable it will be for the pet. Sugar gliders are so active and love to move around that it would best to get as large as possible. This way, the students in the classroom and can view much more activity as well.
Bedding & Accessories
The cage will need bedding as well. This will be a place for the sugar glider to rest, as well used to have food and water placed. You can find great, non-toxic bedding at many pet stores.
The bedding should be changed around every week to keep the area clean. You’ll want to make sure that the material of the bedding is indeed non-toxic, so no harm is presented to the sugar glider.
A bunch of artificial stuff and toys is not necessary and can even be dangerous for the animal. Instead, hanging pouches and/or birdhouses are perfect for the sugar glider to hang at. Just like the bedding, make sure you have attached non-toxic plastic or whatever material you choose to use, to the cage for hanging.
Finally, a glider safe wheel is ideal for them to have as well. It helps to keep the sugar glider both safe and helps entertain them.
Safety in The Classroom
One big difference about having a sugar glider as a classroom pet as compared to others is the safety factor. One thing that should be weary is allowing the sugar glider to fly around. Not only for the safety of the students, but also the pet itself.
If you are to let it glide around in a classroom there are a couple of things, you’ll need in order to make sure it is as safe as possible:
Closed windows- To avoid the sugar glider leaving, you’ll want to make sure door is shut and all windows in the classroom are closed as well.
Bond is strong- Before letting it loose, you’ll want to make sure you have established a strong bond, so you know you can control it well in a closed room.
Permission- You may need to get further permission to allow the sugar glider free in the classroom, so make sure you check in on that beforehand.
Secure location- If possible, make it to where the area is small and nothing is around, so you can have it controlled as possible. If it isn’t possible and needs to be done in the entire classroom, it is okay as well, just make sure desks are cleared and nothing valuable is in a position to be tipped over.
Pouch on hand- Also, make sure you have a pouch on you as well. This way, you can have a place to put the sugar glider if need be.
A pouch also is a great way to bring the sugar glider out of its cage and around the classroom without it flying around. Again though, you’ll want to make sure the bond is strong enough to where the trust levels are high. You do not want a timid sugar glider in a room full of kids, as it may be frightened.