A sugar glider rests in its owner's hand.

They're tiny, soft, love sugar and have their own way of flying. Although often mistaken for their lookalike non-relative the flying squirrel, sugar gliders are more closely related to koalas.

Actually, they're not too far removed from our backyard marsupial friend the opossum, as they are in fact a kind of opossum that originated in Australia. These adorable little critters have become household pets worldwide for not only their obvious cuteness, but for a handful of very desirable traits that make them exceptional to own.

If you were to ask a person what they want in the perfect pet, they would probably say a low maintenance animal that's interactive, bonds with them, and is entertaining. Surprisingly, sugar gliders are all of these things. Whether you consider their ability to fly short distances with the use of extra skin that spans between their front and back legs, or the fact that they have been compared to the dog’s ability to bond to humans, it's hard to deny that they sound pretty great.

These animals enjoy human company so much that when they have proper training they are known to contently travel with their human without a desire to escape. An added plus: a healthy sugar glider needs almost no help from their humans to stay clean, and has virtually no odor.

As with any captive animal, sugar gliders have some special needs. The most important element of their care is a diet, which should be half protein (like insects) and then equal parts fruits and veggies. Owners need to be careful to avoid providing too little calcium, and too much iron as well. Luckily, there are legions of people that know and love these creatures and have created helpful literature to ensure proper education so that they can get the best care possible.

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