Last Modified

January 4, 2024 by Umair Shahid

Prospective owners often worry about the health risks linked to Sugar gliders, particularly the fear of rabies. Rabies is a severe and often deadly illness that affects the nervous system of mammals. The key question here is, “Can sugar gliders catch rabies?” According to the experts, sugar gliders are not known to carry rabies. 

There have been no reported cases of sugar gliders getting rabies, and their small size and low body temperature make it unlikely for them to survive an encounter with a rabid animal. However, it’s crucial to understand that although the risk is minimal, it’s not non-existent. It’s wise to take precautions to ensure the safety of these charming creatures.

Can Sugar Gliders Get Rabies

What is Rabies?


Rabies is a virus that can make you really sick, and you usually get it from being bitten by an animal that has it. This virus messes with the nervous system in your body, especially the brain, and it’s not good news – it can be deadly. The virus spreads when you come into contact with the saliva or nervous system parts of an infected animal.

At first, rabies might seem like the flu, with things like feeling weak, having a fever, or a headache. But as time goes on, it gets worse. You might start acting strangely, having weird thoughts, being scared of water, and having trouble sleeping. Once these signs show up, it’s usually really bad – rabies is almost always deadly.

The virus takes its time, traveling from where you were bitten to your brain through nerves, and this journey can last from 3 to 12 weeks. Surprisingly, the animal that bit you doesn’t look sick during this period. When the virus reaches the brain, it starts multiplying like crazy and heads to the salivary glands.

Rabies is a serious illness that can end a life, but the good news is, you can prevent it. The virus can pass to people and pets through bites or scratches from an infected animal. In the United States, you often find rabies in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. So, be careful out there, especially if you or your pets encounter these critters.

Can Sugar Gliders Get Rabies?

Sugar gliders usually don’t carry rabies, and there haven’t been any cases reported of them getting sick with it. Their small size and low body temperature make it less likely for them to survive if they happen to meet an animal with rabies. Still, it’s important to know that even though the risk is low, a sugar glider can catch the virus if it gets close to a rabid animal.

Unlike some other animals, sugar gliders don’t usually get vaccinated for rabies because there’s no vaccine made for them. That’s why it’s super important to be careful when you’re taking care of sugar gliders and their living space. Keep them away from other animals that might carry the virus and infect them.

Even though the risk is low, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Taking extra care and being cautious with your sugar glider can help make sure they stay healthy and safe.

Why Sugar Gliders Are Unlikely to Get Rabies?

Sugar gliders are usually not carriers of rabies, and there haven’t been any cases reported of them catching the disease. This is mainly because of two things: their low body temperature and their small size. Sugar gliders have a body temperature of around 89 degrees Fahrenheit, which is lower than many other animals. 

This lower temperature seems to help protect them from various diseases, including rabies. The rabies virus likes the warmer temperatures found in most animals, so the cooler temperature of sugar gliders makes it harder for the virus to survive and spread.

Apart from their lower body temperature, the small size of sugar gliders also plays a role in their low risk of getting rabies. If a sugar glider were to meet a rabid animal, their size difference would likely mean the sugar glider gets seriously hurt or killed instead of just getting bitten and possibly infected.

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Even though the chance is low, a sugar glider can get rabies. If a sugar glider comes into direct contact with the saliva or nervous tissue of a rabid animal, there’s a possibility it could get infected. 

But generally, sugar gliders don’t get vaccinated for rabies because there’s no vaccine made for them. So, it’s essential to be careful and take precautions to keep your sugar glider safe, despite the low risk.

Other Health Concerns in Sugar Gliders


Sugar gliders, cute little marsupials from Australia and New Guinea, face a range of health issues, mostly tied to what they eat. The most common health problems for sugar gliders include:

  1. Dietary Imbalances: Eating the wrong things can lead to problems like being too heavy, diabetes, and not getting the right nutrients.
  2. Bone Issues: Sometimes, their bones can get soft because of problems with calcium and phosphorus, often linked to what they eat.
  3. Teeth Troubles: Bad dental health can make them not want to eat and cause other health problems.
  4. Too Much Iron: They can collect too much iron in their bodies, which isn’t good.
  5. Kidney Problems: Issues with their kidneys might come up, and what they eat could be a reason.
  6. Upset Stomach: Eating the wrong things can lead to tummy trouble, showing as diarrhea.
  7. Breathing Issues: Sometimes, they can get infections in their lungs, which might be because of where they live or if they’re stressed.
  8. Cancer: As they get older, sugar gliders can get different kinds of cancer.
  9. Stomach Problems: Things like bladder issues, crystals in their urine, and stones in their urinary tract can happen.
  10. Injuries and Bugs: Physical harm and little bugs inside them can mess with their health.
  11. Mood Problems: Feeling stressed, worried, or not having the right home can make them hurt themselves or act strangely.
  12. Not Enough Water: They can get dehydrated quickly, and if you don’t deal with it fast, it can be deadly.

For keeping sugar gliders healthy, it’s suggested to give them a well-rounded diet, make sure they get regular exercise, and have yearly check-ups, including tests for intestinal parasites and maybe some blood work. 

Also, it’s crucial to know about diseases that sugar gliders can pass on to humans, like Salmonellosis and Giardiasis. Seeing the vet regularly can catch and treat these issues early, making sure these unique pets stay in good shape.

Conclusion

Even though sugar gliders aren’t usually carriers of rabies, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the risk, while low, isn’t zero. Their lower body temperature and small size make it less likely for them to get rabies, but it’s not impossible if they encounter an animal with the disease. 

However, the health concerns for sugar gliders go beyond just rabies. They can face various other issues linked to what they eat, where they live, and stress. Routine visits to the vet, a well-balanced diet, and proper care can help prevent these problems and ensure the overall health of these unique pets.

Author 2

I am a proud veterinarian from Lahore, Pakistan. A passionate animal lover who pursued her passion for animal care as a career.
My eagerness to learn and my love for animals grew stronger even during my teenage days. Having a lovely pet, a German Shepherd, in my home allowed me to bond with animals in the best way.
This bonding with my pet provided me with a firm foundation to research and preach about the best animal care methods.

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