Many people believe that owning a small, exotic animal is as simple as caring for the common hamster. But what the majority fail to realize is that even if an exotic pet is small, the pet's needs are different from those of a common pet. Sugar Gliders are a good example of a small exotic pet. Their needs are more complicated, whereas a hamster will be easier to provide for. With the Sugar Gliders' growing popularity in the United States, more and more people are failing to give their exotic pet the proper diet and care needed. The three most important aspects that differ between the Sugar Gliders and Hamster's care are their daily diet, habitat equipment, and social needs.
Sugar Gliders earned their name by having a preference for naturally sugary foods, such as apples, grapes, and other fruits. But they must be fed a strong source of protein to give them lasting energy and shiny coats. Eggs, small bits of chicken, or nuts are good protein sources. Vegetables are also important to provide them with additional vitamins. This diet is similar to that of a person's, making it easy to supply if that person usually eats fruits and vegetables. Sugar Gliders, similar to hamsters, may be fed store - bought pellets, but they do not get their complete nutritional needs from food pellets alone which is an important fact to know as an exotic pet owner.
In contrast, hamsters are content and able to live a healthy life on food pellets without additional fruits and vegetables. They enjoy fresh foods as a treat, and gain extra nutrients from these treats, but too many may cause their digestive systems to fail due to excess sugar and fiber. Hamsters can live on store - bought food alone unlike any small exotic pet.
The most common mistake people make while caring for their Sugar Glider is providing them a habitat that is too small for their active lifestyle. Sugar Gliders have flaps of skin between their arms and legs (like a flying squirrel) that allow them to glide long distances. They prefer tall cages as opposed to wide, one story cages, as hamsters do. Bird cages are recommended because they usually are open and tall, which give Sugar Gliders a good space to glide around and land safely. They need climbing toys, like ropes or ladders, to stimulate their natural ability to climb tall heights. Pouches instead of flat beds are also necessary because as marsupials a mom will carry her joeys in a pouch for the first weeks of their lives, and having a fabric pouch as a bed will provide them more security.
On the other hand, hamsters only need a one story cage long enough for them to have space to run around and stretch. They naturally love to burrow, and will need bedding of some kind to cover the bottom of their cage. For exercise, a hamster wheel is all they need. A small, plastic rodent house to hide in is perfect to give them their sense of security. Since hamsters are rodents, they do not require as much stimulation for their minds and bodies as Sugar Gliders, because rodents have a smaller brain capacity.
Socialization is the most important part of a Sugar Glider's life. If a Sugar Glider does not have a companion or if their owner does not handle and play with them regularly, they can become depressed and die by refusing to eat or drink. Marsupials form strong familial bonds, living in family groups of thirty or more in the wild and rely on these bonds to carry on a happy lifestyle. An owner must devote time to bond with their pet Sugar Glider to give the animal a feeling of a group home, simply by carrying them in a pocket, or holding them while the Sugar Glider sleeps.
Having a social lifestyle has virtually no impact on a hamster's health. Unlike marsupials, rodents are mainly solitary and become very territorial if kept in close quarters with others. The only reason an owner should socialize their pet hamster is to acquaint the small animal with otherpeople, and to prevent biting and aggression towards people.
The many differences in owning a Sugar Glider and a hamster should provide a good example and hopefully influence the decision to buy an exotic pet instead of a common animal. Usually the lack of proper information and ignorance to find it causes the unnecessary death of an exotic animal as it was thought to need the same care of a common pet.