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The Alpha Sugar Glider Behaves Peculiarly

Is it normal for a dominant sugar glider to behave in a strange manner?

By Karin Leonhardt
Posted: February 13, 2009, 8 p.m. EST

Q: I've had my two male sugar gliders for 1 ½ years now, and one is very dominant. From what I have read, there will be a dominant male, whether there is another female or male in the cage. However, he is really unusual. One time, I was playing with the less-dominant sugar glider, and when I put him back, it appeared like the dominant sugar glider was spraying him. Sometimes, the alpha sugar glider won't let the other one eat until the alpha is finished. The alpha glider steps on the other until he gets back. Is this normal?

A: Glider's have such varying degrees of personalities. It sounds like your male is quite the character. The behavior you have described is considered normal. I would not be concerned unless this behavior is out of character for your little guy. If it is, then a vet visit would be warranted. Any noticeable change in behavior can be an indication that something else is going on.
Occasionally, food aggression can become an issue. The most effective solution is to provide two separate feeding stations. This setup should satisfy the aggressor and it will also allow the cage mate to eat without anxiety.
You did not mention if these males are neutered. Two intact males have been known to live together without issues, but that is not the norm. Often, issues will arise once they both become mature. It is highly suggested if two intact males are going to be housed together, they both be neutered. It is a simple procedure and will benefit not only the gliders, but their human slaves. Marking will decrease somewhat, as well as smell. Many sugar glider owners believe the sweetest natured gliders are the neutered males.

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Reader Comments
I have 2 male sugar gliders that are just over 2 years old. They are fully bonded to my boyfriend and I. One is very dominant like a traditional alpha glider, he scares our other male enough that the poor guy will grab his favorite snacks out of his food bowl as fast as possible and run to his pouch to eat it. I've been having a problem recently where the alpha glider has been huffing and puffing and being really aggressive towards me when he wants yogurt drops. He will eat them out of his food and then leave the rest of the food and pout around the cage crabbing and being a bully until I give in and feed him more yogurt drops. Should I be allowing this behavior or ignoring it?
Kaytlyn, Albany, NY
Posted: 11/16/2013 4:54:29 PM
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