Sugar Gliders Vs. Flying Squirrels: What Are the Key Differences?

There are so many small flying animals in the world that it can become difficult to tell the difference between all of them. Nowhere is this easier to mess up than when it comes to sugar gliders and flying squirrels.

There are many similarities between the two, but also some very important differences. Continue reading to learn more about the key differences between sugar gliders and flying squirrels.


When it comes to animals that look like squirrels, many critters can be included in the list. While creatures like the sugar glider, ground squirrels, and other common squirrel-like critters look similar, there are some differences.

Some of these differences are more technical, while some are more physical and practical examples. Squirrels have some unique characteristics that set them apart from other animal species. Continue reading to learn the key differences.

Animal Classifications

One of the major technical differences between sugar gliders and flying squirrels is that they receive different classifications in their taxonomy.

Sugar gliders belong under the marsupial classification. This is because the female sugar gliders have a pouch that the baby sugar gliders inhabit once they are born. The flying squirrel is classified as a small mammal, and this is because they do not have a pouch like marsupials do.

While this first key difference might be purely technical, it does provide insight into how each of the critters raises their young. If you are curious about flying squirrels learn at and you will know much more about these unique flying mammals that inhabit many habitats.


The physical difference between sugar gliders and flying squirrels is most noticeable when it comes to their overall size. There is a very unique fact about the size of these two rodents, as their overall size and weight do not correspond as you would expect. The flying squirrel is generally much larger than sugar gliders when it comes to their length, as they are usually five to fourteen inches long.

Sugar gliders are much shorter in length, and they are usually anywhere from four to seven inches long in most cases. The interesting part is the weight comparison of these two critters. Flying squirrels typically weigh around two to five ounces in total weight, whereas the typical sugar glider usually weighs three to six ounces in total weight.

It should be very easy in most cases to almost immediately identify these two species, purely by observing their overall length. This is likely the least variable key difference that can provide immediate identification.

Physical Appearance

Another great identification tool that can be used is the actual visual appearance of these critters when it comes to their fur colors and patterns. Flying squirrels are typically found with a red or dark brown colored coat. Sugar gliders are usually found with a gray or brown coat, which can greatly differentiate them from flying squirrels alone.

Luckily, there is one more factor that can help to easily identify sugar gliders from flying squirrels. Flying squirrels usually have one solid color on their coat, with no real noticeable unique markings. This is vastly different for sugar gliders, as they usually have striped or other unique patterns on their coat.

If the size and color of the coat leave you unsure of the exact species you are dealing with, the markings can be the distinctive difference that can leave you unsure of your identification.


One very apparent key difference between flying squirrels and sugar gliders can be determined by simply knowing where you are in the location and habitat that these critters frequent. The flying squirrel is a worldwide species, as it can be found virtually everywhere in the world. This is opposed to the sugar glider, as it can only be found in Australia and New Guinea.

When it comes to the specific habitat that these critters inhabit, they both prefer forested areas. This shelters them from predators while allowing them to find many different sources of food. There is another key difference between the sugar glider and flying squirrel when it comes to their differences in humidity preferences.

Flying squirrels generally enjoy living in cooler climates than sugar gliders, but sugar gliders are much more suited to live in either very dry or very humid climates as well.

Flying Abilities

One major difference that can be seen between the flying squirrel and the sugar glider is the difference in gliding abilities that they possess. The flying squirrel is a much more powerful glider, as they routinely can get around three hundred feet of gliding before they end up making contact with the ground.

This contrasts with the sugar glider, as they usually can only make it about one hundred feet before they come into contact with the ground. With that being said, it might be hard to identify this by eye, as both of these critters rarely reach their maximum gliding distance in everyday life.

Food Habits

There are some unique differences and some unique similarities that the sugar glider and the flying squirrel possess when it comes to their food habits. The similarities have to do with the type of food that both species of animals eat. Both the flying squirrel and sugar glider can commonly be found to eat insects and other small mammals.

More often than not though, sugar gliders will also eat tree sap, while flying squirrels will eat nuts, fruit, fungus, and other foods as well.

Another interesting difference between the sugar glider and the flying squirrel has to do with how they eat their food. Flying squirrels can be found hoarding their food very often, as they like to stock up on certain foods that they find a surplus of.

Sugar gliders usually do not exhibit this hoarding behavior. A unique thing that sugar gliders will do is eat their food while they are right underneath the tree canopy, as this keeps them safe and sheltered.


  1. This article was a fantastic exploration into the world of sugar gliders and flying squirrels! It was so interesting to learn about the unique characteristics and habits of each animal. The comparison provided valuable insights into their evolutionary paths and ecological roles. I especially enjoyed the section on their interactions with humans and the importance of responsible ownership. Thanks for delivering such an insightful and thought-provoking piece!

  2. This article was a delightful dive into the world of sugar gliders and flying squirrels! The way it highlighted the distinct characteristics and behaviors of each animal was captivating. I particularly enjoyed learning about their habitats and how they’ve evolved to thrive in different environments. It’s amazing to see how these small creatures have adapted to their surroundings in such unique ways. Thanks for providing such an interesting comparison!

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