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Can Sugar Gliders Eat Grapes? [The Grape Controversy]

When it comes to feeding your pet Sugar Glider treats, its important to know what is safe and what could be potentially harmful. But what about grapes? Is this fruit a good option when it comes to feeding your Marsupial? Intrigued, I decided to conduct some research. I’d like to present my findings here to you today.

So, can Sugar Gliders eat grapes? Sugar Gliders should be able to safely eat grapes – if fed in moderation and infrequently. Many Sugar Glider owners report they have been feeding grapes safely for years. There is no conclusive evidence to suggest grapes cause harm to Sugar Gliders, however, there is anecdotal evidence from other Sugar Glider owners stating that the skin/seeds may cause harm.

The ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Center) is currently researching a potential connection between kidney failure caused by the ingestion of grapes and raisins in dogs.

However, no direct connection or empirical data has been released with Sugar Gliders to date.

For this reason, if you plan to feed grapes, you should do so infrequently and be sure to prepare them properly, cutting off the ends, removing the skin/seeds, and offer small servings at a time.

Grapes are considered a great addition in the human diet due to being high in several important nutrients – including Vitamin C, K and several B Vitamins.

For Sugar Gliders, despite all the nutrients and vitamins, there are other considerations which could potentially lead to them being off limits.

Let us take a closer look in the following sections.

Sugar Gliders and Grapes

It is first important to note that there has been no conclusive evidence that grapes are harmful or cause health complications in Sugar Gliders. This is true for both red and green grapes.

This being said, there are reports and anecdotes whereby Sugar Glider owners suspect that grapes contributed to or could have caused health complications in their pets.

This confusion, and lack of clarity, has led to what is now known as ‘The Grape Controversy’.

There is essentially a divide among Sugar Glider owners as to whether grapes are hazardous, and whether they choose to feed grapes or not.

Some owners report feeding grapes infrequently, without harm. These owners state that they have been doing so for many years without any signs to be concerned.

Others have suspicions, particularly those who have lost their Sugar Gliders to health complications like Kidney Disease where grapes were present in the diet.

And then there are a third group state that they cannot see past the potential risks and therefore choose not to feed grapes and would rather play it safe.

This is the controversy, and at time of writing (March 2020), there is no conclusive evidence or group in which merits definitive support.

For this reason, whether you feed grapes or not is not as black and white as some other foods may be.

Yet, what we can safely conclude at this point is to date, there has been NO direct connection nor direct studies done with sugar gliders and grapes/raisins. 

The ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Center) are an organisation dedicated to keeping animals (and pets) safe from abuse and mistreatment – but they also look at accidental harm caused by pet owners. They’ve released several resources around foods unsafe for consumption by pets. This is one such example. It lists grapes, specifically for dogs.

Their ‘Wrath of Grapes Article’ is another that outlines the potential dangers of grapes. However, all such documentation provided by the ASPCA references dogs, and there is no such mention of Sugar Gliders within their findings or recommendations.

So what can we take from all of this?

It is unlikely that studies into grape consumption by Sugar Gliders is ever going to be funded. We also should not extrapolate data from studies on other animals either because Sugar Gliders are unique and have their own biology and genetic makeup.

Therefore, with this information at hand, it is going to be a personal decision as to whether you decide to feed grapes to your Sugar Glider.

You may want to remain cautious and avoid grapes altogether. Or, you may want to offer a few sparingly and infrequently.

If you do so, be sure to prepare them properly. Purchase organic grapes where possible and wash them before serving. Only offer a couple at a time and cut them down into manageable pieces. It is also a good idea to cut off the ends, remove the skins and seeds too.

Can Sugar Gliders Eat Raisins?

Raisins are essentially dried grapes; so can a Sugar Glider eat these either?

Well, the same sentiments as outlined above still stand. Raisins are included in the Grape Controversy.

This means that whether or not you are going to want to feed raisins to your Sugar Glider depend on your attitude and aptitude towards the potential risk of feeding them.

You’re Sugar Glider should be okay eating raisins, but we do not have any conclusive evidence to confirm that this is the case. The same is true for if they are harmful, so you will need to make a judgement call.

There is however, another consideration when it comes to raisins that is not true of regular grapes.

Raisins are higher in sugar, and due to the fact that they have been dried and the water has been removed, they are easier to provide in excess. You also need to be wary of how they are processed, and if any chemicals or vegetables oils have been added by the food supplier.

Therefore, if you plan on feeding raisins, you should again offer very small amounts and infrequently. You should look to source organic raisins and be sure to check that vegetable oils and other additives are not included on the label.

Regardless of whether you decide to feed grapes/raisins, Sugar Gliders require require a variety of fruits and vegetables in their diet.

Let us now take a closer look at some of your options.

What Should A Sugar Glider Eat?

Your Sugar Glider’s diet should contain a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. Around 25% of the diet should also consist of protein sources.. Gliders are known to prefer fruits and vegetables that are sweet.

That being said you should refrain from feeding raw sugar, sweeteners or sweets. Also only feed fresh fruits and not canned varieties.

Here are some good options to feed:

Fruits and Vegetables: Apples, Bananas, Carrots, Corn, Mangoes, Oranges, Pineapple, Sweet Potato.

Protein Sources: Small chunks of plain lean meat (chicken, turkey), hard boiled eggs and low-fat greek yogurt.

What Are Good Treats For Sugar Gliders?

Like most pets, we want to treat them from time to time. We also want to give them satisfaction, diet variety and a chance to experience new tastes.

For Sugar Gliders we can do this with a couple of different options. These are:

Nuts: are common treats fed by owners. There are a variety of nuts that can be fed, but they need to be raw, unsalted and provided infrequently. As nuts are high in fat you need to be especially careful with the quantity fed.

Other Treats: Sugar Gliders in the wild frequently consume Insects and Bugs. Therefore, it makes sense to provide these to your pet Sugar Glider(s). They are also abundant in a lot of vitamins and minerals so they also a nutritious treat.

Crickets, mealworms, and earthworms are easily attainable and a re great to provide. Its important not to feed your glider insects that you have caught, as they may be carrying pesticides. You need to source them carefully. I actually purchase this bag of Mealworms off Amazon. Its cost effective and they last a long time!

Insects are a great way to ensure your glider meets their protein requirements. However, the do naturally contain a lot of fat so again you should only feed infrequently and in moderation (1-3x per week).

In Summary

Whether Sugar Gliders can safely eat grapes or not is a subject that has led to much controversy among the Sugar Glider Owner community.

Whether or not you decide to feed your Sugar Glider Grapes and/or Raisins is a decision that ultimately you will have to make.

While some owners will not look past the potential risks, we have no conclusive or hard evidence that states Sugar Gliders cannot eat properly-prepared grapes in moderation.

So, if you do decide to feed them – source organic, cut the ends off, remove the skins/seeds and feed a small amount infrequently.

From there, look at offering other potential treats – like Insects and in particular Mealworms.