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  • Molly Weinfurter

Sugar Glider Noises: What Do They Mean?

Updated: May 27

Sugar gliders are adorable little marsupials that resemble flying squirrels. They’re legal as pets in many places, and if you’ve ever seen one up close, you’ll realize that they make unique sounds. Sugar glider noises could consist of barking, purring, hissing, chirping, and more, so they express themselves through a wide range of vocalizations. 


But what do the sounds sugar gliders make mean? Can it help their humans learn what they’re feeling and saying? Let’s find out.


sugar glider close up

Do Sugar Gliders Make Noise?

Yes, sugar gliders make lots of sounds. They can be very noisy pets, especially at night since they’re nocturnal. So, anyone who wants to keep one needs to be okay with their numerous sounds or have enough space to keep their enclosure far away from the bedroom.


Sugar gliders are social animals that live in small groups, so they’re loud because they use noises to communicate with each other and express themselves. Thus, their sounds could indicate that they’re happy, mad, territorial, etc. Sugar glider owners should familiarize themselves with what the various noises mean so they can cater to their pet’s needs best.


As a kid, I loved sugar gliders and wanted some as pets. I fell in love with them after seeing them at an exotic pet store. The pet store employee was holding two in a blanket, and they made weird chirping/purring sounds. I was fascinated by their unique sounds. While I'd still love to own sugar gliders some day, I haven't adopted any yet because I don't have the time, money, and space for that right now.


Common Sugar Glider Noises and Meanings

To help you better understand sugar glider noises, below is a list of common sounds and what they might mean. The exact meaning can vary between individual sugar gliders.


Barking

Yes, sugar gliders can bark just like a dog can. However, their barks are typically compared to a yappy Chihuahua. Their cute little barks are fitting since they’re so small and adorable.


A sugar glider barking sound can mean a lot of different things just like a dog’s can. It’s most commonly used as a warning call. In the wild, sugar gliders will bark to alert others that there’s a predator nearby. In a home setting, they may use their barking to warn others of unusual sounds and movements, even though there are no predators in your home.


They may also bark if they’re bored as a way to get the attention of you or one of the other sugar gliders. In some cases, it could even be a sign of excitement or annoyance. Pay attention to your sugar glider’s surroundings and body language to determine what their barks mean.


Crabbing

“Crabbing” is the term used to describe the gurgling, locust-like sound that sugar gliders frequently make. In some cases, it could be described as a sugar glider growl. This video is a good example of what it sounds like. It’s the first sound most sugar glider owners hear their new pet make, and it can be loud enough to hear across the house.


This unique noise is usually a sign of fear or agitation. If you only recently brought your sugar glider home, they’re likely making this sound because they’re scared of their new environment and may even be scared of you. However, once they’re comfortable around you, they’ll do it as a way to tell you to hold them or comfort them because they’re scared.


If your sugar glider makes a sound that’s a mix between barking and crabbing, it’s often a sign that they’re trying to fight with or show dominance toward another sugar glider. They will be jumping around their enclosure if that’s the case.


person holding white sugar glider

Chattering/Chirping/Clicking

Sugar gliders frequently make these sounds, similar to the sounds guinea pigs make when they’re happily eating food. For sugar gliders, these sounds are a mix of teeth chattering, purring, and low-pitched squeaks.


You will frequently hear these sounds whenever your sugar glider is happy and content. They may be enjoying their favorite snack or playing with a fellow sugar glider. Once they’re comfortable around you, they may start chattering and chirping in your arms too.


Purring

A sugar glider purring closely resembles a cat purring. Sometimes, it’s described as the sound of a drum beating or a fast heartbeat. This sound is very faint, so you likely won’t hear it unless your sugar glider is near your face.


Like cats, sugar gliders purr when they’re happy and content. It differs from chattering and chirping because this usually occurs when sugar gliders are relaxed while other happy sugar glider sounds happen when they’re active and doing things they love.


Hissing/Sneezing

Hissing is another cat-like sound sugar gliders make. Sugar glider hissing is closer to a snake’s hiss than a cat’s, sounding like short, repetitive hisses. In some cases, it might sound more like a sneeze. While a sound like this could signify agitation, fear, or pain, it’s not usually a mean noise.


In most cases, sugar glider hissing occurs when the animal is grooming themselves. When grooming, sugar gliders spit into their hands and then use their hands to clean themselves. The spitting sound usually sounds like a sneeze or hiss, which is why some owners assume their pet is hissing like a cat.


Therefore, if your sugar glider hisses, it’s not a cause for concern. It’s most likely just the sound they’re making while cleaning themselves. However, if they’re making this sound while showing unusual body language, such as a stiff tail or a hunched body, it could be a sign of discomfort or pain. Context always matters when it comes to animal noises.


Whining

In rare cases, sugar gliders may whine or cry like a dog does. These sounds are most common in joeys, but sugar gliders adjusting to a new home may make sounds like this too.


Whining is typically a sad sound in sugar gliders. They often make it when they’re missing someone, such as a joey crying out for their mom.


young sugar gliders in basket

Singing

Sometimes, sugar gliders can even make noises that sound like songs. They will make long, drawn-out notes that change in pitch. Believe it or not, this actually occurs because the sugar glider is trying to sing.


These marsupials will sing to comfort others. It’s most common in mothers trying to cheer up their joeys.


Why is My Sugar Glider Making a Weird Noise?

Sugar gliders make lots of weird sounds, so if your pet is noisy, there’s likely not a cause for concern. Pay attention to how they’re acting and what the environment around them is like to determine why they’re making a specific sound.


However, if you know your sugar glider well and they’re making a sound you haven’t heard before, it’s easy to worry. If they’re showing weird symptoms in addition to an unusual sound, it might be a good idea to contact an exotic pet vet just to be safe. If possible, record the weird noise your sugar glider is making in case they stop making it at the vet.


Frequently Asked Questions


Do Sugar Gliders Make Noise at Night?

Yes, sugar gliders frequently make noise at night because they’re nocturnal. So, you need to be okay with hearing your sugar glider at night or you need to have the space to set up your sugar glider enclosure far away from your bedroom.


Can Sugar Glider Noises Indicate Illness?

In some cases, weird sugar glider noises could indicate that a sugar glider is sick. If they’re making a strange noise while also showing signs of pain or discomfort, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet just to be safe.


Can Sugar Gliders Be Trained to Make Specific Noises?

Sugar gliders can be trained for certain tasks, such as potty training, but training them to make certain noises can be tricky. They naturally make lots of noises, so they may not understand that you want them to make noises on command.


Do Sugar Gliders Communicate with Each Other Through Noises?

Yes, sugar gliders are social animals that frequently use vocalizations to communicate with others of their species. Their noises may warn each other of threats, be used to assert dominance, or simply let others know they’re content.


Are Sugar Gliders Good Pets?

Yes, sugar gliders can be good pets for the right person. However, you need to be okay with having multiple sugar gliders at once and you can’t get annoyed easily by their sounds. Make sure you consider those aspects before bringing a sugar glider home.


sugar glider in fuzzy bed

Sugar Gliders Make Lots of Unusual Sounds

Sugar gliders are adorable animals that make lots of strange sounds. Yet, their chirps, barks, and purrs only add to their cuteness.


If you have a sugar glider or are planning to get one, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with common sugar glider noises to better understand your pet. After you’ve had your sugar gliders for a while, you’ll better understand their unique noises and personalities.

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