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SUMMER / FALL 2019      © 2019 812 Magazine

Daniel Bean, sugar glider handler


Sugar gliders may be native Australian wildlife, but, in Newburgh, they're Daniel Bean's family pets. With bulging, brown eyes and striped, rabbit-soft fur, gliders are Australia's flying possums, closely resembling miniature versions of flying squirrels.


Sugar gliders may be native Australian wildlife, but in Newburgh, they're Daniel Bean's family pets. With bulging, brown eyes and striped, rabbit-soft fur, gliders are Australia's flying possums, closely resembling miniature versions of flying squirrels. Bean bought their first glider, Gizmo, in early 2011. Since then, he has raised, bred and sold sugar gliders as a hobby with his wife and kids with hopes of someday being a full time exotic animal breeder.

Gliders have independent personalities.

Some sugar gliders are completely content with anyone holding them, like our glider, Rocky. Other times, it depends if they are comfortable being handled. If you have a glider that trusts and stays with you, it's even possible to take them out with you. I've gone shopping with one in my pocket before.

Sugar gliders are not for everyone.

You have to make room for a sugar glider in your life. They are high energy, nocturnal creatures, so they require special time and care. Also, these pets, by nature, are colony oriented. It is possible to only have one glider it's much more common for them to need a friend.

As you come to love them, you will want more. They're a gateway pet to more gliders and other exotic animals.

Teaching a sugar glider how to glide is easy.

Captive gliders don't know how to glide, so have to be taught. Training can begin as soon as the glider has bonded to you. You take the glider's favorite treat, such as yogurt drops, and place them on top of an entertainment center or mantel, making them glide to you for the treat. Gliders can glide up to 150 feet and, in theory, can glide a long distance if they start their glide from a high enough place. The training period depends on the glider and how far you want them to glide, for example, 10 feet can take four to five days depending on the glider.