All of us know that cats and dogs make great pets. However, there always are people who want to get an exotic pet for themselves. When looking for terrestrial exotic pets, I believe that Sugar Gliders are your best choices. They are small, endlessly cute, and make great companions. They are also very friendly with everyone and love to spend their time playing with you. Being omnivores, they also give you a lot of choices when it comes to feeding them. But what about watermelons?
Can Sugar Gliders eat watermelons? Yes, they can safely eat watermelons. In fact, being suckers for sweets, they enjoy it immensely. Watermelons have high water content and are rich in other nutrients as well. Adding these to the daily diet of your pet Sugar Glider is a great idea. The only parts of watermelon they shouldn’t be eating are its rind and seeds.
Although Sugar Gliders are flexible eaters, they are also extremely small in size, which can pose a problem for their owners.
It is very easy to over-feed them, and if they eat anything toxic, even a very small amount of it can potentially affect their health badly. Therefore, it is essential to understand their dietary needs properly before bringing them in home as pets.
In this article, I’m going to answer all your queries regarding feeding watermelons to Sugar Gliders.
Do Sugar Gliders like eating watermelons?
Before feeding watermelons to your pet Sugar Glider, it is natural for you to wonder whether or not will they like eating it. In most cases, Sugar Gliders love eating watermelons. Watermelons are, after all, sweet, juicy fruits, and they have been named “Sugar gliders” for a reason.
However, these adorable little pets are also known for being picky eaters. So, there is a slim chance that they might not eat it. The only way to find that out is to try to serve them melons twice or thrice to check their response. If they don’t touch it, you will have your answer.
Are watermelons healthy for Sugar Gliders?
Once you have figured out whether or not your pet Sugar Gliders like eating watermelons (they most likely will), we can move on to talk about the health benefits of watermelons for your pets.
Sugar Gliders are small animals with an equally small diet. Therefore, it is essential to squeeze in all the nutrients they need in their diet, and not feed them anything that doesn’t add to their health.
To determine how watermelon adds to their health, we need to take a look at the nutritional value of watermelons first:
|Vitamin A||569 IU|
|Vitamin C||8.1 g|
|Vitamin E||0.05 g|
|Pantothenic acid||0.222 mg|
|Total fat||0.16 g|
|Dietary fibres||0.4 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
Sugar Gliders can synthesize Vitamin C on their own and, thus, don’t depend on their diet for it. However, they get the rest of the Vitamins (Vitamin A, B-complex, D, E, K) from food. Out of these four, watermelons contain Vitamin A, E, and B-complex (thiamin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folates, niacin) in abundance, enough to meet their nutritional needs.
Watermelons are also rich in Calcium, a nutrient that is quite essential for the health of Sugar Gliders. Most of the Sugar Gliders who live in captivity seem to suffer from the deficiency of Calcium to the extent where their body begins to leach out calcium from their bones. Thus, it is vital to add a sufficient amount of Calcium to their diet.
Protein also performs a number of functions in the body of the Sugar Gliders: it ensures the smooth-running of liver and kidney functions, repairs damaged tissues and maintains a hormonal balance. 100 grams of watermelon contains about 0.7 grams of protein, which is enough for your pet friend.
Watermelons are almost 90% water, which is essential for your little pets that need plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Thus, we have established that watermelons have a lot of health benefits for Sugar Gliders, and can, thus, be added to their daily diet.
Can Sugar Glider Joeys eat watermelons?
The younger ones of Sugar Gliders are known as “joeys”. Their main diet is the milk of the female Sugar Gliders. However, if you have brought home a Joey as a pet, you should start by feeding them using a milk replacer.
Only once they are older than 8 weeks should they be weaned off of milk. Then, you can add fruit and vegetables, including watermelons, to their daily diet. Feeding them a variety of fruits and vegetables when they are young makes them less of a picky eater when they grow up.
However, in the case of Joeys, you will have to be more careful about the number of melons you are feeding them. Over-feeding Joeys has often been a problem with most of the Sugar Glider-owners.
It is safe for Sugar Gliders to eat the rind of watermelons?
Although the rind of the watermelon is not outright toxic for your pet Sugar Gliders, feeding them these might not be a good idea for two reasons.
The first reason is that the watermelon rind contains fibers in abundance, which is much more than what the digestive system of your little pets can handle. They might suffer from digestive issues if they consume them.
The second reason is that the rinds are simply too tough, even for humans. Even if your pet friend manages to eat some, it could hurt their stomach. Thus, you should keep them away from all the greens of watermelon.
What about watermelon seeds? Are they safe for your Sugar Gliders?
Whether watermelon seeds are safe for your pet Sugar Glider depends on your definition of safety. It is true that watermelon seeds, unlike apple seeds, contain no toxic element that is fatal for your pet’s health. However, there is a possibility that these seeds can pose a choking hazard for your pet.
Sugar Gliders are smart and intuitive animals that avoid eating anything that might be bad for their health. However, you can never be too safe with pets, especially ones that are as small and fragile as Sugar Gliders.
Watermelons for Sugar Gliders: serving ideas
The first step of feeding watermelons to Sugar Gliders is to chop off the rind. Once you have gotten rid of all its greens, start by cutting the inner flesh of the watermelon into smaller cubes. Carefully remove all the seeds you can find, both the white as well as the black ones. These cubes can now be fed to your little pets.
You can either serve your Sugar Gliders melons in their serving dish or feed them these from your hand. Your pet will respond better to the latter.
Moreover, if you have any other fruits at home and are feeling creative, you can also cut them up into small pieces and mix them together, treating your pets with a fruit salad. Remember, you don’t need to add salt or any other spice to enrich the taste of the salad. They are going to love it as it is.
Frequently asked questions
Apart from watermelons, which other fruits can I safely feed my Sugar Gliders?
Fruits and vegetables make up a large portion of the Sugar Glider’s diet. Some of the fruits that you can safely feed them are avocados, bananas, sweet corn, grapes, figs, pineapples, pears, apples, peaches, mangoes, oranges, grapefruits, sweet potatoes, etc.
What can I feed my Sugar Glider as a treat?
If you want to treat your pet Sugar Gliders, be prepared to catch some living insects. Sugar Gliders love feeding on live insects such as mealworms, earthworms, crickets, etc. However, while catching insects, make sure they are not contaminated with pesticides. Eating such insects can be detrimental to the health of your little pets.
What are the foods I should avoid giving my Sugar Gliders?
Following is a list of foods you should never feed your pet Sugar Glider:
- Bird food
- Processed meat (salami, ham, etc.)
- Processed foods (French fries, potato chips, etc.)
Can I feed yogurt to my Sugar Glider?
No, you shouldn’t be feeding your pet Sugar Glider yogurt or any dairy product for that matter. Remember, Sugar Gliders are highly lactose-intolerant. Even a little lactose in their system can do them considerable harm.
Can Sugar Gliders eat watermelons? (bottom line)
To sum it up, if you bring home watermelons home in the summer and are wondering whether or not to share them with your pet Sugar Gliders, go ahead by all means.
These fruits are not only sweet and juicy but also a powerhouse of nutrients that add to your pet’s health. Just make sure to remove all the seeds from the melons before putting in their serving dish, and keep the rind away.