Glider Safe Wheel Brands
- Raptor made by My Glider Wheels and More
- Apollo or Titan made by spinzoneglobal.com
- Custom Cruiser made by Custom Choice Cruiser
- Stealth Wheels, which were made by Atticworx, now closed.
- Freedom Wheels made by Free Runner Inc (as of autumn 2020)
- Freedom 19, As far as I have heard, these redesigned Freedom 19 Wheels are not known to have issues like the previous version. Atticworx is out of business, but these can still be purchased from distributors
- Honorable mentions for Floor Rollers and Treadmills, two other styles of exercise toy.
- My Glider Wheels and More website
- The Pet Glider website
- White Oak Gliders and Supplies Etsy or FB page
- Sugar Glider Toyland Etsy
- Custom Choice Cruiser website
- Stephanie Branch-Gratton Facebook
- White Oak Gliders and Supplies Etsy
- My Sugar Glider Toy Box Etsy site
- Spin Zone Global website
- S.A.F.E. Sugarglider accessories for everyone
- Mon Petit Sugar Love Website or Etsy
Floor Rollers/ Treadmills
- Spin Zone Global website
- Gliders & Designs by Johanna Facebook Page
- Sarcastic Diva Designs Facebook group
Note: This is not a complete list of wheel vendors. Please message me or The Sugar Glider Directory to name drop your favorite wheel maker or distributor.
Exercise toys, such as wheels, are essential for gliders to be emotionally and physically healthy. A glider without a safe wheel may take their anxiety out in other ways. Wheels and other exercise toys are also fun ways to prevent glider obesity. Here’s the catch, you can not buy a safe glider wheel from a commercial source as of today. Glider safe wheels are handmade by vendors in our community to address the specific needs of gliders.
Community made wheels have the following traits:
- No center axle, or center bar
- No moving parts accessible to the glider inside the wheel
- Open fronts
- Mesh tracks
- Adequate space behind and below
- Hidden pinch points at the axle coming out through the back
- Usually effort is made to protect bearings from water
Making your own wheel isn’t particularly difficult for the crafty and creative. Video tutorials on YouTube can guide you. There is one for a treadmill too. In general, I give the benefit of the doubt to any home-made wheel that meets the above criteria. Buy/make/use these at your own discretion with the knowledge that they haven’t been tested.
My personal experiences using unbranded or homemade wheels have been free of safety concerns, but often have minor annoyances. One squeaked from some rubber tubing rubbing inside it for instance.
What to avoid
Traits I avoid in a glider wheel
- Center axles
- Front covers
- Solid tracks
- Close spacing to the floor
- Close spacing to the cage wall
- Pinch points
- Restricted jump path
Hamster wheels and anything found in pet stores are very dangerous to a gliders tail and patagium.
The wheels marketed to sugar gliders by the Exotic Nutrition website are considered unsafe by many in the community. Though EN wheels are arguably better than most pet store options, they do still have design flaws that make them inappropriate for gliders. There are community reports of injuries associated with Wodent Wheels and Silent Runners, and a documented fatality from a Wodent Wheel.
Atticworx.com closed in February 2020. They created “Freedom” style wheels, which was an attempt at mass manufacturing a glider safe wheel. Though they were originally embraced by the community, they have now been removed from many of the FB groups safe wheel recommendations. There have been numerous community reports that certain batches of Freedom Wheels’ plastic back cracked or broke, and there was a report of a glider fatality from a broken wheel that fell.
What if I already have one of those wheels?
Replace it when you can afford to upgrade. A glider safe wheel should be priority 3, after diet and cage. Glider veterinary bills start at the price of the most expensive wheel and they go up fast when surgeries are needed.
In the meantime, here are some..
Tips to Mitigate the Risks
- Solid tracks – Wash daily
- Smooth outer surface – hang bridges 3 inches over the wheel to catch a falling glider before they land on the outside of the wheel
- Front Cover – mount the wheel low, hang a bridge or tight rope diagonally near the front cover so they have easy access into the wheel and no need to faith leap into it while its in motion.
- Center axle –make it into a ballpit instead of a wheel.
Wodent wheels have white plastic tail shields that can help prevent the worst case scenarios. If you choose to ignore the warnings and use a Wodent Wheel anyway, please be sure it has the white guard. These shields do not make it good enough to recommend using this wheel even shielded.
For older model Freedom Wheels, Atticworx created a black disk that the customer can fit onto their wheel to reinforce the weak point. There are two vendors I know had them recently. Sugar Glider Shop in the UK, and My Sugar Glider Toy Box in the USA. My Sugar Glider Toy Box also has a cap hardware enhancement disks designed to stop a fall in the event of product failure. Free Runner brand Freedom Wheels have the cap built in, and the backs are reinforced to prevent cracks, you can recognize these improved models by their serial number on the back of the wheel.