Do Sugar Gliders Kill Themselves? Know The True Fact

Sugar gliders are popular pocket-sized pets. They are a great choice for exotic pets as they can live up to 10 to 12 years in domestic conditions. The lifespan can be different due to different reasons such as disease and loneliness. However, many also want to know do sugar gliders kill themselves.

It’s a common conception about these pets. You will be surprised to know that they don’t kill themselves directly, rather they engage in self-mutilating. This condition gets severe and finally, they die.

Do Sugar Gliders Kill Themselves?

Do Sugar Gliders Kill Themselves

Sugar gliders are naturally sociable. This is why people choose them as pets. They need attention and loneliness can be a cause of their death. You should treat them with care and affection; otherwise, they won’t live long.

There is a misconception that sugar gliders kill themselves. But it is not fully true. There is no scientific evidence that sugar gliders engage in suicide. They have energetic and active behavior, and they require an enriched environment to thrive.

Like humans, sugar gliders also feel loneliness which affects their behavior. The distress turns to self-mutilation. You can notice that a healthy sugar glider grooms regularly to maintain a clean appearance. But a stressful glider typically grooms excessively and chews itself.

Humans have many options to relieve their stress. Similarly, sugar gliders choose self-mutilation as a way of stress relive. It may be a foolish idea for humans but for sugar gliders, it’s a way of expressing their condition. However, self-mutilation causes serious harm to sugar gliders. If it is left untreated, could be fatal.

You can identify a self-mutilate state by observing bald patches, chewed tails, arms, feet, and cloaca, with visible blood on their hammock and cage bars. Stress is the primary trigger for self-mutilation, and being in captivity without stress-relieving options can exacerbate this behavior. Other causes include pain, poor nutrition, grief, post-surgical issues, and loneliness.

Early symptoms manifest as over-grooming, damaged cloaca, and missing hair. Pay attention to the sounds your pet makes, as they can help distinguish self-mutilation from regular grooming. If you observe such behavior, it’s imperative to contact a vet promptly for professional attention.

Without treatment, these wounds can become entry points for infections. Depending on the severity, the vet may recommend antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, or fluid therapies. Preventive measures involve identifying and eliminating stressors to ensure the well-being of your sugar glider.

How do sugar gliders get distressed?

A distressed sugar glider engages in self-mutilation. So you should maintain a favorable environment to prevent the situation. Here are some common reasons for distress.


Sugar gliders can live alone if the owner shows enough love and affection. But when you have only one sugar glider and don’t pay attention, or another companion dies or separates for any other reason, your sugar glider will feel lonely.

Soon loneliness becomes a cause of depression, distress and you can see the abnormal behaviors in your gliders.


Single sugar gliders may get bored quickly without a playmate, leading to attention-seeking behaviors like barking. Also, if you neglect them for a long time, they feel stressed. Regular interaction and playtime are essential to prevent boredom.

Being high-energy animals, sugar gliders require regular exercise to maintain both mental and physical health. Without this stimulation, they feel bored.

Poor Room Conditions

Inadequate space and poor cage maintenance can lead to stress and insecurity in sugar gliders. Also, extreme temperatures, smoking, and strong odors can make sugar gliders uncomfortable. You should maintain a suitable room environment to make them comfortable.

Sugar gliders are sensitive to sound, so a noisy environment from music, urban noise, or gatherings can stress them. Create a calm atmosphere to alleviate potential distress.

Lack Of Nutrients

A nutritionally deficient diet not only results in bad odors but can also make sugar gliders lethargic and unmotivated to eat, eventually leading to serious health issues. So, you need to provide them nutritious foods along with fruits and vegetables.

Illness or Injury

Injuries, illnesses, or self-mutilation can cause stress in sugar gliders. Timely veterinary attention is crucial to address these issues and prevent further complications.

Sexual Frustration

In captivity, unneutered male sugar gliders may experience sexual frustration due to limited mating opportunities. Understanding their needs and adjusting care accordingly can help alleviate this stress.

How To Stop Your Sugar Glider From Self-Mutilating?

If you’ve observed your sugar glider engaging in self-mutilation, it’s crucial to take swift action to prevent it. Here are effective strategies to stop your sugar glider from this action:

  • Firstly, identify the specific stressors causing your sugar glider’s distress. It can be issues like a small cage, the presence of predators (dogs or cats), or a source of pain. Take steps to eliminate or minimize these stressors.
  • If the current cage size is contributing to stress, consider upgrading to a larger, more spacious enclosure. Sugar gliders need room to move and explore, and a bigger cage can reduce feelings of confinement.
  • If you have multiple sugar gliders and notice signs of aggression or stress, separate them into individual cages. Some gliders may not get along, and individual housing can decrease tension.
  • Move the cage to a location where it is inaccessible or not visible to dogs or cats. This can create a safer environment, reducing the fear and stress that may lead to self-mutilation.
  • Schedule a thorough veterinary examination to rule out any underlying health issues. Identifying and treating medical problems can significantly contribute to preventing self-mutilation.
  • Introduce regular playtimes, new toys, and enrichment activities to keep your sugar glider mentally engaged. Hiding food for them to find during play can distract them from sources of stress.
  • Sugar gliders are social animals, and having a companion can reduce feelings of loneliness and stress. Consider getting another sugar glider as a mate to provide companionship.
  • Lastly, you should ensure a well-balanced diet is crucial for the health and happiness of your pet sugar glider. While replicating their wild diet can be challenging, consult a qualified vet before making any dietary changes. A proper diet for sugar gliders should include high-quality pellets, a variety of insects for protein, fresh vegetables for essential nutrients, and occasional fruits as treats.


Though sugar gliders don’t kill themselves, their self-mutilating condition becomes severe if you can’t prevent it immediately. Sugar gliders get stressed and depressed quickly and finally engage in self-mutilating.

As a responsible pet owner, you have to observe their health and mental condition and find out the underlying problems. Furthermore, consider their needs and provide enough care to overcome the situation. You can also take veterinary help to make your sugar gliders comfortable and happy.

Leave a Comment