Sugar gliders that live freely in the wild, usually choose a hollowed out tree as their nesting place. In captivity, that is a tough thing to duplicate so we need other alternatives for their safety and enrichment.
Pouches are the most favored, but there are a few things regarding pouches that must be considered to avoid injury/accidents. Loose strings and improper stitching are the leading cause of most of these accidents/deaths. Checking all pouches daily, and replacing worn pouches immediately will help reduce these incidents. In addition, there are a few other suggestions for safety. Fleece is currently the most common and safest fabric being used, since fleece does not fray on the ends causing loose strings. The higher quality of fleece will last longer than the less expensive. Pouches should be lined inside not allowing exposed seams, and stitches tight. Examine the loops that hold the hardware for attaching to the cage also, and avoid anything like cording/rope. Fleece allows a little "give" should a glider's nail get stuck, allowing them to get free more often than not. Cotton and flannel fray terribly, and should be avoided as lining. Using pinking shears to cut cotton/flannel, will help the fraying issue between layers. Should a glider's nail catch on these fabric choices, there is no "give", and far greater chance of the nail getting entangled. Faux fur and sherpa are other fabrics to avoid. The advantage of pouches are they can breathe and absorb, and are easily replaceable.
You must be overly cautious with the glider that dig's if using fabric sleeping pouches. They are known to chew or dig to get inside the lining of the pouch and thus trapped inside. Adding fleece blankets to the pouch will sometimes help. Choosing another option such as a nest box or chin house may be better for you and your glider. A specially designed unlined pouch is another option, but again, you must be very vigilant with these digger's.
As with any fabric product for glider's, nails MUST BE MAINTAINED for the greatest safety, as well as the health of you glider.
When choosing what is best for your glider and yourself, buyer beware. There are many safe products available, as well as unsafe. Research what works best for you and your glider.
THANK YOU Karin for this valuable information.
Toys or parts that should only be used during supervised playtime if used at all include but are not limited to:
*Toys with openings that are small enough to have a glider become entangled by his/her limbs, neck, or tail.
-Jingle bells. It's best to use liberty bells or cow bells as gliders' nails may get stuck in the small openings of jingle bells.
-small metal or plastic chain. Larger plastic chain would be best to use, but chain with openings of ¼“ or similarly sized risks limbs becoming entangled.
*Toys that are wide enough to get stuck in.
-cardboard toilet paper or paper towel rolls.
-Wire hamster wheels with an axle that could catch a limb, neck or tail. Also be aware that with these wheels the running surface spaces are large enough for a limb to slip through and become injured.
*Toys that gliders could choke on or ingest that should be used with caution during supervised playtime only.
-Cardboard (Never use cardboard with glue)
-Bean bag stuffed animals or toys.
-Tennis balls or dog toy with tennis balls attached.
*Toys with strings that could get tangled around limbs or throat or get caught in nails.
-Rope or rope perches that have frayed. This may include nylon, sisal, cotton, etc...
*Toys that are made from unsafe fabric such as terry cloth, socks, long length fake fur. These can cause loops that could loop around toes, feet, legs, neck, body, etc...
*Toys that are possibly toxic or may contain toxic material.
-Glue on paper towel and toilet paper rolls.
-Wind Spinners are known to have a toxic substance that will make gliders ill.
-Cat toys sometimes have catnip on them or in them, which is toxic to gliders.
Thank you to GliderCENTRAL for this valuable information.