Do Sugar Gliders Stink? 6 Ways To Prevent Them From Smelling

Sugar gliders are cute little animals that, when given treats and allowed to bond, can become lovely pets. They can have a reputation for being smelly pets, but is this reputation warranted? Are sugar gliders stinky?

Although they do have a natural scent, they shouldn’t be overpowering or disgusting. There are several reasons why it might be and several ways to help prevent sugar gliders from becoming stinky.

Do Sugar Gliders Stink? 6 Ways To Prevent Them From Smelling

In this article, we will look at why sugar gliders stink and how to prevent them from smelling.

Do Sugar Gliders Stink?

As a general rule, no, sugar gliders do not stink. Like many animals, sugar gliders do have their own musky odor which is unique to them but this smell is not unpleasant.

However, most owners don’t consider this musky odor to be a ‘stink’ and it isn’t a smell that should be foul or strong enough to be considered a ‘stink’ or a problem.

This smell will always be present because sugar gliders have scent glands in their skin. This is why no amount of bathing or self-cleaning from the sugar gliders themselves will get rid of it.

In the wild, sugar gliders use these scent glands and their natural scent as a way of communicating with each other, emitting a unique musky odor.

It shows that they are present in the territory and it can also be used to signal they’re open to mating.

Male sugar gliders have scent glands in three areas of their body and these can be found on the head, chest, and genitals.

Female scent gliders, on the other hand, have only two which are located at the pouch and genitals. As males have more scent glands than females they can often smell stronger than female sugar gliders do.

What Factors Make A Sugar Glider Stink?

Now let’s look at what the factors are that can make your sugar glider begin to smell stronger than it should.

Incorrect Diet

It’s very important that you feed a sugar glider a correct diet. They are very sensitive to incorrect diets and this can lead to them becoming ill and stinky. 

Sugar gliders need protein but feeding them too many can make them smell like ferrets(see also: Animals That Look Like Ferrets).

You need to find a balancing act to ensure they get all of the proteins that they need but without overfeeding them with foods such as eggs, insects, and meats.

You should also be careful with how much acidic food you feed them. This is especially the case with acidic fruits such as bananas.

Too many of these can lead to the sugar glider suffering from diarrhea and having a foul odor.

Not Correctly Litter Trained

Like virtually every other animal on the planet, the urine and feces of sugar gliders do have a smell to them.

This smell is even more pungent with baby sugar gliders who don’t have fully formed digestive systems yet.

You will need to train your sugar gliders on where to defecate so that you can control the smell and make it easier to clean the cage. Correctly litter training a sugar glider will make things much easier.

Scent Marking

As we stated earlier, sugar gliders have scent glands in their skin, and scent marking is a way of communication when in the wild.

Just because they’re in captivity doesn’t mean that they will no longer smell and this smell will only become stronger during the breeding season.

Sugar gliders are also prone to over-marking. They like to smell their own scent on their territory so if you scrub their cage clean of all of their scent, they may decide to mark it even more strongly the next time.

They may feel that they need to do this to confirm that it is their territory.

Six Ways To Prevent Sugar Gliders From Smelling As Strongly

Six Ways To Prevent Sugar Gliders From Smelling As Strongly

Now that we’ve learned why sugar gliders, especially those with bald spots, can smell more strongly, let’s look at ways to prevent this from happening.

1. Make Sure They Have The Proper Nutrition

As a general rule, the diet of a sugar glider should consist of around 50 to 75 percent approved pellet food, at least 25 percent fresh fruits and vegetables, and around 25 percent of protein, such as crickets, eggs, and meat.

Sugar gliders also need a supply of clean and uncontaminated water that should be changed daily.

It’s best to consult with a veterinarian before committing to a specific diet or product called ‘supplements’ for your sugar glider.

There is a lot of confusing information on the exact contents of a captive sugar glider’s diet and your vet should be able to steer you in the right direction, as well as monitor your sugar glider to ensure they’re getting all of the nutrients they need.

2. Clean The Cage

We would advise cleaning the cage in three ways for the best results.

  • Daily Cleaning and the use of dry cleaning accessories will enormously help.

Dispose of any old food, change the water, and clean the feeding bowls.

The bowls, trays, and any toys should be cleaned with hot water and soap and then given a deeper clean and sterilized every three months.

  • Every Two to Three Days

Line the bottom of the cage with a safe and absorbent material. Then you can replace the lining every two to three days. 

  • Every Two to Three Weeks

Clean the cage thoroughly with a mix of vinegar and hot water.

It’s best to not wash all of your sugar glider’s toys, pouches, and other items at once. Make sure something is left in the cage that has your sugar glider’s scent as this will prevent them from over-marking.

3. Neuter Your Sugar Glider

Male sugar gliders usually smell stronger than females do and the only way to combat this is to get your male sugar gliders neutered. 

4. Litter Train Them

Some owners have been able to encourage their sugar gliders to only defecate in a certain area of the cage but this isn’t something that all sugar gliders will be willing to do.

Luckily, you will soon notice the routine of when your sugar gliders poo, as they are creatures of habit. Typically, they go to the bathroom after waking and then won’t need to for several hours.

With a product called baby wipes, you can stimulate sugar gliders into defecating only when they are out of the cage or pouch.

5. Use Pine Pellets

Although pine trees are toxic to sugar gliders, pine pellets are safe because they’re kiln-dried.

These pellets are great at collecting waste and eliminating pet odor, making them ideal for sugar glider cages.

6. Get An Air Purifier

Odds are, there will always be times when your sugar gliders have a scent you don’t want to smell.

No matter how successful you are at litter training them, there’s always the chance they will defecate and leave a scent in the air.

A product called an air purifier can take care of this musky odor and leave your room smelling fresher.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we looked at the factors that make a sugar glider stink and how this can be combated. In this article, we hope the hints and tips, like using a deodorizing spray, can help you effectively care for your sugar glider.

Olivia Kepner