If you’ve never seen a sugar glider before, prepare to squee. The tiny marsupials get their name from the folds of skin that line their limbs, allowing flying squirrel-like movements. Gliding is more familiar to them then walking, and so, if you simulate the experience of gliding, a sugar glider will act like that is happening. It’s the cutest dang example of instinct and self preservation I’ve ever seen.
It could be the fact that air is passing over the glider that triggers the glide position, but it could also be a response to insecurity. Exotic animal vet and wildlife educator Noelle Boone told Nerdist that the little animals could simply be preparing for a fall. Sugar gliders only weigh three to four ounces—less than a tennis ball—and so even a slight breeze may trigger the deployment of their skin parachutes, just in case.
Whatever is really triggering the sugar gliders, it’s clear that stabilization is a problem when a breeze hits them. Adorable stabilization…just look at its tail go!
Extreme cuteness aside, while sugar gliders are popular exotic pets in the U.S., these animals (endemic to Australia, Indonesia, and New Guinea) aren’t easy to care for, please, or raise. They are nocturnal, prefer to live in groups, need high surfaces to mimic their arboreal nature, pee on everything, are not domesticated, and do not necessarily want or enjoy the attention of humans.
Not only that, but feeding sugar gliders a diet that varies even a tad from what they’ve evolved to process can lead to serious problems and diseases. Sugar gliders may be cute enough to give them diabetes, but you don’t want to give them actual diabetes.
Image: Sugar Glider by GarettTT