Posted: April 27, 2012, 4 a.m. EDT
Q: Should I be worried about one of my sugar gliders? I have two, and they are twins. One sugar glider is really skinny and the other one is about a normal weight. The skinny sugar glider is about 72 grams and the normal one around 106 grams. They both act normally — play, eat. The skinny sugar glider doesn’t show any signs of illness, she’s just more hyper than the fatter one. Is this normal? She lost about 4 grams in two months. They’re both about 2½ years old.
A: It is always possible that the weight is normal for the skinnier of the two sugar gliders. Just as people can have different body conditions, we can sometimes see that in our pets, too.
But a more likely explanation for the size difference in your sugar gliders is either going to be a medical or a behavioral cause. It is not uncommon to have competition for food resources between animals in the same cage. Even if you don’t see aggression, it may still be that one sugar glider is out-competing for the food you give the sugar gliders. Maybe the bigger sugar glider is quicker to the food source or just “bullies” the other sugar glider. The normal-weight sugar glider might eat first and leave less-desirable food items for the thinner sugar glider.
Of course, it is also possible there is a medical reason for failure of a sugar glider to maintain a proper weight. And what is worrisome is that you have noticed a weight loss. A loss of 4 grams in two months is more than 5 percent of this animal’s body weight — that is significant. With weight loss like that, I would not take a wait[and-see approach. Visit your veterinarian soon to be sure your little sugar glider is healthy. You may need to feed these two sugar gliders separately if this is diagnosed as a behavioral problem.
See all of Dr. Rosenthal's Critter Q&A articles>>