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North American Sugar Glider Association (NASGA)

See also the review of, run by the same people who operate or influence The North American Sugar Glider Association (, along with a number of web sites that appear and disappear like and The Association of Sugar Glider Veterinarians (  Generally, any material that refers to sugar gliders as "sugar bears" originates from this franchise group that sells gliders in malls and at events, which is why they insist the only "safe" way to buy a sugar glider is in person.  They also spend a lot of time telling people to "ignore the internet message boards" where 1000's of people who have dealt with these folks routinely post horror stories about their experiences.

These web sites are not impartial sources of information despite their claims.  But don't take my word for it; you should do your own research.  Do you honestly believe there is some kind of mass conspiracy involving thousands of people on the sugar glider message boards ?  That somehow all these owners of sugar gliders could be wrong and this one source - who is actually a major distributor of sugar gliders - has all the right answers?  Don't take my word for it; do yourself a favor and check out Glider Central or Glider Gossip.


Someone has put up a web site for the “North American Sugar Glider Association” ( that we felt a need to respond to.  I use the word “someone” literally because the registry for this site is cloaked, you can’t find out who owns it or where they are located without a court order (look it up for yourself here). This lack of transparency seems odd for a web site proclaiming to be a “TRULY independent source of OBJECTIVE information” on sugar gliders.

On this site, which generally bashes sugar glider chat boards as being inaccurate sources of information, there is a story told about “one of the most prominent Sugar Glider websites” that sells “sweet hand-tamed joeys”.  Generally, sites like these recommend a very human-centric, hamster-like approach to caring for sugar gliders that won't kill them, but won't make them very happy either.  We call this the Thrive versus Survive issue.

Since this phrase has been used in our ads since the beginning and is still in use today, I can only assume this person is referring to SunCoast Sugar Gliders.  Assuming our company is indeed the target of this article, I’d like to simply be very transparent about the allegations in this article, even though we no longer breed sugar gliders or offer gliders for sale. 

SunCoast has always owned and bred our own sugar gliders.  The original breeding pairs came from a number of sources including a large exotic animal breeder who is also my sister. Our breeding colony grew over the years up to about 200 pair.

In March of 2005, my business partner Debbie, who was the primary caretaker of these animals, for personal and medical reasons had to leave the company, so we immediately had to downsize the colony.  This move was announced to all our customers and subscribers to our newsletter here.

Because we downsized the colony, the demand for our sugar glider joeys would sometimes outstrip supply.  So we started seeking additional sources for babies, and were very open about this, again, announcing it to our customers and newsletter subscribers.  One example of this open discussion with the glider community is here.

We in fact did establish relationships with different breeders and to this day, because of the hurricane threat to our single colony on the coast of Florida experienced in 2004, I believe it makes good business sense to have control of several colonies distributed around the US.  For a time, one of those colonies was owned by my sister, who then sold the sugar glider business to another breeder.  After this sale, we began development of our own colonies, and now directly control all the colonies our sugar glider joeys come from.

Now, let’s address the inference that somehow we’re not being honest about our sugar glider babies being “hand tamed” because some come from other colonies.  

Babies from other colonies and our own colony spend 10-14 days in our nursery where they are handled multiple times each day.  The nursery is actually located at my home in St. Pete, and many of our customers have seen it.  Handling the babies is the highlight of my day.  I personally hold our babies, carry them in pouches and fussier babies are bra trained.  

I encourage my three part time helpers to pet and hand feed the babies every time they are in the nursery.  I think exposure to multiple people is good for them and a treat for my employees as well.  After all, I don’t want them to get so bonded to me it makes it harder in a new home.  I often have friends over as well, who I think are sometimes more interested in seeing and playing with my babies than they are to visit me!

During this handling process, we discover the personalities of the babies and find some not to be good immediate candidates for adoption.  If there is a baby that is a handful for me, I’m not going to put that off on a new inexperienced glider keeper.  This isn’t a problem, it just means we decide certain animals would lead more fulfilling lives as breeders rather than as pets.  It also gives me several months to work with the more challenging babies as our breeders are all ultimately quite tame.

If you buy a sugar glider that comes straight from a commercial breeder without any prior handling, you may find the glider to be too frightened and totally not used to people. This can be a bigger challenge when starting off with new pets.  Many small or “hobby breeders” also spend time hand-taming their joeys, so it’s not like we’re the only source of hand-tamed babies.  However, I’d like to think we established the “hand-tamed” approach as a standard for others to follow, as we were the first breeder online to emphasize “personality” as an important idea when deciding which joeys to offer to our customers.

As you can see, there has been nothing “secret” or deceptive about any of our practices, as the North American Sugar Glider Association implies.  We’ve always been completely open with anyone who was willing to listen or ask questions, and have gone out of our way to be transparent about our business.

This as opposed to a web site that claims to be a “TRULY independent source of OBJECTIVE information” but starts off by telling people they should never buy sugar gliders from Pet Stores or Online.  They then state why sugar gliders should instead be purchased “face-to-face” and at a price much higher than average for these animals.

That does not sound “TRULY independent” to me.

SunCoast has always been about the animals; we even run a free listing service to help unwanted sugar gliders find new homes despite whatever impact it might have on our own sales.  I care deeply about the issues surrounding the way sugar gliders (or any animals, for that matter) are bred and cared for.  Our customers know this.

The interesting thing about the allegations of me “actively bashing so-called “glider mills” as the root of all evil” on chat boards is there is no way for me to prove I have never done this.  I’m just not that kind of person and I am very rarely on any message boards.  I wish I had the time, but caring for my breeding colony, my customers and hand taming babies is a time consuming commitment.

If I’ve carried any banner on the way sugar gliders are sold commercially, it is more about irresponsible selling of animals and the encouragement of spontaneous purchases.  I think that is at the root of so many gliders ending up unwanted and bounced from home to home.  I’ve met large breeders that do a great job.  I’ve met small breeders who do a terrible job.  It’s about the people and the commitment of the people more so than size of an operation.

Some people consider anybody who raises animals and sells them to be a "mill" regardless of size.  I’ve gotten emails being accused of being a mill myself, but I know we do a great job and I sleep well at night as we have always limited our breeding operation only to a size that we can consistently manage while maintaining the highest level of quality.  Our waiting lists are sometimes long as a result, but the well-being of our sugar gliders has always been priority one and we’ve never wanted to be bigger than we can manage well.  

I would rather ask a customer to wait for a good, hand tamed healthy baby than catch every sale that comes my way.  I know we lose a lot of business because some people don’t want to wait.  That's is OK with me.  Good relationships with my critters and customers are much more important.

If you have questions on any of the above, you KNOW WHO I AM and how to reach me.  The anonymous expert at the North American Sugar Glider Association who has so much critical judgment of so many is just a chicken in my book.

I wonder who or what they are hiding from, don’t you?

(Lisa Added later)  You might also want to read the related article on another new web site called, run by the same people who run the NASGA site.  None of these sites are "independent", they are set up to intentionally deceive people.

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