Last Modified

January 14, 2024 by Umair Shahid

Caring for sugar gliders, those cute little creatures with their playful antics, involves some attention to detail, especially when it comes to water. It’s crucial to keep in mind that these tiny marsupials prefer to stay dry. While a bit of moisture is not a cause for panic, prolonged wetness could spell trouble for their health. 

Getting wet can cause their body temperature to drop significantly, possibly resulting in shock. In captivity, their immune systems are delicate, making them more prone to stress, pneumonia, and respiratory infections when exposed to moisture. 

Therefore, it’s vital to be cautious around water sources and ensure their living space remains safe and dry to prevent any mishaps. Taking these precautions can make a real difference in their well-being.

Can Sugar Gliders Get Wet

Do Sugar Gliders Like Swimming?

Even though sugar gliders are small and nimble, they have a built-in aversion to water. Despite what some may think, these marsupials don’t find joy in swimming. For them, being in water can be stressful and even panic-inducing. 

Their bodies aren’t equipped for swimming, and they can quickly become overwhelmed, putting them at risk of drowning, particularly in deep water sources such as toilets. Unfortunately, there have been cases where sugar gliders couldn’t escape and drowned. So, it’s of utmost importance to safeguard their well-being by preventing access to potential drowning hazards.

Do Sugar Gliders Like Water?

Ensuring sugar gliders have access to safe drinking options is vital for their overall health. The quick dehydration tendencies of these small marsupials make freshwater availability a key concern. Sugar gliders exhibit varying preferences when it comes to how they drink water, with some favoring water bottles and others leaning towards open water dishes. 

Regularly monitoring and maintaining the cleanliness of their water sources is crucial. By providing multiple water options, you can accommodate your sugar glider’s individual preferences, contributing to their hydration and overall well-being.

Is Sand Harmful to Sugar Gliders?

While sandy perches might appear to be a natural solution for keeping a sugar glider’s nails in check, they come with significant risks for these small marsupials. The abrasive nature of the sand can lead to painful injuries, including scraped abrasions and a condition known as “bumblefoot.” 

Bumblefoot is an inflammatory reaction and bacterial infection that affects the feet of birds and other animals, including sugar gliders, often caused by rough surfaces like those found on sandy perches. Therefore, despite the initial appeal, the potential harm outweighs the benefits, making sandy perches a risky choice for maintaining your sugar glider’s nails.

Why Can’t Sugar Gliders Get Wet?

Sugar gliders are sensitive to moisture because their bodies struggle to regulate temperature effectively when wet. When a sugar glider gets wet, its body temperature can significantly drop, potentially leading to hypothermia. 

Hypothermia in sugar gliders can show up as lethargy, slow response, unusual behavior, and in severe cases, it can become life-threatening. These creatures have a unique way, akin to dogs, of regulating body temperature through their feet by evaporation. When they get wet, this natural temperature control mechanism can be disrupted, posing potential health risks.

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Moreover, being wet can make sugar gliders more prone to bacterial infections and other health issues. A wet sugar glider is more susceptible to illnesses compared to a dry one, and it takes them a while to regain their ability to regulate their own heat. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to keep your sugar glider dry and warm consistently to prevent these potential health risks. If, by any chance, a sugar glider does get wet, it’s strongly recommended to promptly seek the assistance of a vet to address any emerging concerns.

Do Sugar Gliders Swim?

While sugar gliders do possess some swimming capabilities, they aren’t adept swimmers due to their small size and light body weight. Their petite frames make them susceptible to drifting in water currents, and returning to shore unassisted can be a challenge. 

Despite having short legs and webbed toes, designed for movement through water, this adaptation doesn’t grant them proficiency in swimming; rather, it aids more in land traversal than aquatic activities.

Although there have been instances of sugar gliders swimming, these are usually born out of desperation rather than preference. As creatures adapted to an arboreal lifestyle, they are naturally inclined to stay away from water. Swimming is a stressful experience for them, inducing panic, and they will only swim if absolutely necessary to avoid drowning, not out of enjoyment.

Furthermore, sugar gliders don’t fare well when wet. Their body temperature can significantly drop, leading to hypothermia. Wetness also heightens their vulnerability to bacterial infections and other health issues. Thus, maintaining the dryness and warmth of your sugar glider is crucial to ward off potential health risks.

Can Sugar Gliders Swim?

Sugar gliders, though capable of swimming, aren’t skilled swimmers and don’t naturally feel drawn to water. Their small size and light body weight make them prone to drifting in water currents, and returning to shore without assistance can be a challenge. 

Additionally, getting wet poses significant health risks for them, including a drop in body temperature and increased vulnerability to bacterial infections. Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain the dryness and warmth of sugar gliders consistently.

In the event of accidental wetness, it’s important to promptly dry off the sugar glider and ensure it stays warm. To enhance their safety, it’s advisable to keep sugar gliders away from open bodies of water and educate all family members about the potential risks associated with a sugar glider getting wet. This proactive approach contributes to the overall well-being of these small marsupials.


I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and have a keen interest in animal health care. Working as a veterinary content writer, I intend to stay with professional approach in producing quality content. I like research-based reading and currently seeking my veterinary profession. My hobbies are travelling to exotic places and observing nature to the fullest.

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