Can Sugar Gliders Get Wet? {Can They Swim?}

Our female sugar glider knocked over a water dish and water spilled on the cage floor. Can sugar gliders get wet?

After getting wet, she suffered from the experience where she retreated, refused to eat or interact with us for the rest of the day.

We learned our lesson and switched to a water dispensing bottle. This article ranges from wetness, bathing, swimming and general questions surrounding whether or not sugar gliders can get wet.

Can Sugar Gliders Get Wet?

No. Although it is not going to be an emergency situation if your sugar glider gets wet, they should remain dry at all times. They don’t need a bath and they are unable to swim well.

If you have experience with other pocket pets, you may have used dust baths in the past. Sugar Gliders do not need this. If they get wet, their body temperature gets lowered and they may go into shock.

Sugar glider immune systems are weak in captivity. Wetness can leave them stressed, compromised, susceptible to pneumonia and respiratory infections that can all lead to death.

Can I Give My Sugar Glider a Bath?

You really shouldn’t do this. There is no reason to give a sugar glider a bath. What they do in the wild is groom themselves. This is the marsupial’s way of doing things.

Giving them a bath is completely unnecessary. If you notice a strong musky smell, you can try a light dabbing of baby wipes.

Some people have told us that they use warm water, baby shampoo and dry their sugar gliders with a warm towel to make sure that they are completely free of moisture at the end of this unnatural bathing experience.

You may experience a bonding moment with your little marsupial when you are bathing them, but you could also be doing the opposite and creating a world of stress as a result. In our opinion, it is not worth giving a sugar glider a bath.

Can Sugar Gliders Swim?

No. Sugar gliders and bodies of water do not go well together. There are instances of sugar gliders accidentally falling in toilets and drowning. They should be nowhere near:

  • pools
  • bathtubs
  • toilets
  • any source of standing water

Slightly getting wet is not an immediate concern if you can dry them off right away. The fact is, once they enter into water, their body temperature drops immediately.

They will try to save themselves from drowning if they have to swim. As arboreal creatures, they are suited to life by up in trees and as far away from water as possible.

Swimming is a highly stressful experience that will induce panic. It is only out of desperation that a sugar glider would resort to swimming to save their life.

YouTube video

What Happens When a Sugar Glider Gets Wet?

Did you know that sugar gliders have fur and scent glands full of natural oils that they use to interact with their world? These oils mixed with their scent glands are used to communicate with their mates, offspring and mark their territory.

If they are completely free of these oils after a thorough bathing, it can lead to stress because they may not be able to recognize their partner, offspring or their own scent.

A wet sugar glider can develop:

  • respiratory infections
  • skin problems
  • pneumonia
  • lower body temperature
  • shivering
  • stress

How Do I Clean My Dirty Sugar Glider?

Sugar gliders may get dirty from time to time. You may notice clumpy fur or sticky dirt on their coats. They may have a difficult time trying to remove it with their regular grooming techniques.

If you notice this, they may end up getting more stressed out as a result. They can pull at these hairs and lead to bald spots or self-mutilation.

  1. You can decide if you wish to use a damp warm towel or baby wipes.
  2. You can pat the area gently and see if it’s enough to clean off the dirt.
  3. Always remember that once you have completed this spot cleaning task, drying the area thoroughly is very important.

In my experience, I interact with my sugar glider at the same time to make the experience comfortable and soothing with my gentle voice and I offer a treat at the end of it.

What Do I Do if My Sugar Glider Gets Wet?

This happened to me before when I introduced one of our sugar gliders to our young nephew. He thought it would be funny to dunk our sugar glider in a bowl of water. I blame myself because I didn’t tell him about how dangerous this could be for these marsupials.

Children are curious and inquisitive. We have to communicate with them to let them know that your glider getting wet can lead to illnesses or sudden death when their body temperature drops.

Dry off your sugar glider with a warm towel. Bringing them into a warm, dry room is enough for the ambient temperature to warm them up.

You do not have to place them underneath a heat lamp or next to a heating vent. Also a blow dryer will cause more stress than good. Direct heat is not recommended.


Sugar Gliders can develop fungal infections, respiratory infections, discomfort, stress, pneumonia as their body temperature lowers when they get wet.

The immune system of your sugar glider is at risk of being lowered and compromised. Be careful with a drinking water bowl if you are not using a water bottle. Water can fall on the enclosure floor and they can step on it with their feet our bodies.

This could lead to unsupervised or unnoticed wetness. Check their water drinker for any leaks as well. The tropical forest that sugar gliders enjoy living in the wild, atop trees, do not experience much rain or precipitation. This means that they are not well adapted to getting wet or swimming.


Thank you for visiting for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.


My name is Anna and I work full time in my local pet shop where we sell many animals that I write about on this site. I love all animals and love writing about them.