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Page history last edited by Miss Capri 4 years, 11 months ago

 

Sugar Glider, NOT A "Sugar Bear!"

Are you interested in other animals as pets besides cats and dogs?

Have you heard of or given any thought to owning a more exotic pet?

How about a small possum called a sugar glider?

I will try to help you get the best info from various sources and tell you what to watch out for when it comes to pet gliders and the internet, because the net is where you're most likely to find anything to do with gliders. Most people I've met offline had never heard of them when they were introduced to Mia.

--

 

Shopping Online for Gliders and Supplies

exoticanimalproducts.com Sugar gliders For Sale Exotic Animals For Sale thepetglider.com critterlove.com ExoticNutrition.com HelensLittleCritters.com Sugar-glider-store.com exclusivelyexotics.com cccruiser.com gliderali.com go-fast-track.com hammockhavenpetsplus.com newbysglidernook.com thepamperedglider.com sugarglider63.com glidersanonymous.com sugarglidertoys.webs.com stowawaygliders.wordpress.com ToughCheeseSmallPaws on Etsy wildernestcreations.com

sugarsweetpets.webs.com suggiesmartmart.com sarahssuggieshoppe.com *Twinge*

--

 

What To Expect - Brief Summary

If you are wondering just how full of character and love these little handful sized critters can be, Mia has shattered the myth many uninformed people have that exotic animals don't make good pets.

If tightly bonded to you, your glider is likely to be always more than willing to cuddle, giving kisses, and sometimes begging for attention, and if they remain calm and quiet during the day, they can be taken anywhere in public without any problems. With a glider in a pouch around your neck, you are never alone, you're in good company.

Here is a video of someone's super tame and bonded glider

But not all gliders turn out this way.

Some gliders don't like being disturbed or riding in the car, and the noise they make when upset can seriously bother the driver or fellow passengers. No problem for Mia, though.

 

Statement And disclaimer:

this is a no-nonsense, non animal rescue/welfarist/rights/fanaticism, no-mush zone.

Unlike so many animal lovers out there, I do not and can no longer tolerate a number of things you will, not just might, run into on pet related sites, including those with otherwise great information and animals for sale:

Anthropomorphizing and/or baby-talking about our animals.

I see "suggies" (referring to sugar gliders) who on earth actually talks that goofy self-indulgent baby-talk nonsense? No self-respecting Capri would… Keep in mind, I also dislike "twonie" as a nickname for the Canadian two-dollar coin. "Bullies" or "bully breeds" (referring to bulldog breeds) Excuse me but, that is not going to in dear large-breed dogs to anyone. The media and animal activists already have used any case they can scrounge up to make the general public believe that all pit bull dogs and their owners are bullies.

"monkids" (referring to pet monkeys) "Furkids" "Furry children" "fur child" "fur babies" "Four-legged/feathered/winged children/kids" (referring to pets.) "pet/pouch-parents" "glider-slaves" "owned by (insert pet's name)" "gardian/care-taker/steward/mom/dad of (insert pet)" (referring to pet owners.)

Talking of "adopting/fostering" animals (adoption and foster parenting is for children… Animals are not children…) The exception where "adopt" is fine in reference to animals is when animal adopts animal - a mother cat suckling a kitten that wasn't born to her for example.

"skin kids" People referring to their actual children. *Gags*

This isn't cute, it's insidious. This is playing right into Peta's animal rights and ultimately no pets mission.

--Quotes:

"What we must do is start viewing every cow, pig, chicken, monkey, rabbit, mouse, and pigeon as our family members." Gary Yourofsky, Humane Education Director, PETA, The Toledo Blade, June 24, 2001

"The life of an ant and that of my child should be granted equal consideration." Michael W. Fox, Scientific Director and former Vice President, The Humane Society of the United States, The Inhumane Society, New York, 1990

"I don't use the word "pet." I think its speciest language. I prefer "companion animal." For one thing, we would no longer allow breeding. People could not create different breeds. There would be no pet shops. If people had companion animals in their homes, those animals would have to be refugees from the animal shelters and the streets. You would have a protective relationship with them just as you would with an orphaned child. But as the surplus of cats and dogs (artificially engineered by centuries of forced breeding) declined, eventually companion animals would be phased out, and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship enjoyment at a distance." -Ingrid Newkirk, PETA vice-president, quoted in The Harper's Forum Book, Jack Hitt, ed., 1989, p.223.

"Liberating our language by eliminating the word 'pet' is the first step ... In an ideal society where all exploitation and oppression has been eliminated, it will be NJARA's policy to oppose the keeping of animals as 'pets.'" -New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance, "Should Dogs Be Kept As Pets? NO!" Good Dog! February 1991, p.20

"Pet ownership is an abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation." -Ingrid Newkirk, President, PETA, Washingtonian, August 1986

"It is time we demand an end to the misguided and abusive concept of animal ownership. The first step on this long, but just, road would be ending the concept of pet ownership." -Elliot Katz, President, In Defense of Animals, "In Defense of Animals," Spring 1997

"The cat, like the dog, must disappear..... We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist." -John Bryant, Fettered Kingdoms: An Examination of a Changing Ethic, PETA 1982, p.15.

"Animal Fancies provide an escape from the real world, a sense of purpose in a lot of purposeless lives, a chance to play God by breeding animals, and a chance to play celebrity by showing them." Phil Maggitti, The Animals' Agenda, December 1991.

"The bottom line is that people don't have the right to manipulate or to breed dogs and cats ... If people want toys they should buy inanimate objects. If they want companionship they should seek it with their own kind." -Ingrid Newkirk, President, PETA, "Animals," May/June 1993

--end--

I have the same reaction when reading the other side of that same animal welfarism coin that says we shouldn't have exotic pets and that by keeping them we aren't allowing them to "be a (insert animal species here). A dog is a dog, a monkey is a monkey, a glider is a glider. they are not 'being' their species, they ARE that species no matter what their environment.

--Quotes:

"You don't have to own squirrels and starlings to get enjoyment from them ... One day, we would like an end to pet shops and the breeding of animals. Dogs would pursue their natural lives in the wild ... they would have full lives, not wasting at home for someone to come home in the evening and pet them and then sit there and watch TV." -Ingrid Newkirk, President, PETA, Chicago Daily Herald, March 1, 1990.

--end--

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. There is more, much more, and it is very ugly.

don't even get me started on the forums that have "pet chatters" where animal owners make posts supposedly from their pets' point of view. These areas are crammed with mangled english, a sort of nightmarish Tweety Bird and elmer Fud combination style to make it sound as if the pets are thinking in extreme baby-talk. *Grimace* At least if I was into that sort of pre tense, (which I'm not,) I'd try to make my pet's character voice come out sounding somewhat intelligent and use proper english and none of this "Mommy did dis" and "Mommy did dat" stuff. I would have my pet refer to me by name or as "My human" or "my owner".

That and all the other drama/aw religion/gossip, plain hateful, self-righteous over-opinionated judgemental people such as these Youtube commenters, etc. whatever has pretty much driven me away from pet communities on the net, and keeps me from coming back to be a participating member. That and frauds who continue to call sugar gliders by wrong names and dupe people fraudulently into buying their bad diet and phoney vet advise. And people insist on believing them even when you try talking some sense into them. I see all this stuff and it puts me into fits of grimacing twitching convulsions of cringe.

I do not suck up to "rescues" or condemn any particular pet owners and breeders or their choice of diet plans for their pets or concerning what type or how many animals they own.

I will, however, caution you against fraudulent operations posing as vets or veterinary associations that dole out bad advise, bash all other people's glider care regimes, tell you to listen only to them (for your glider - excuse me - "sugar bear's" sake' and do their best to brainwash and scare anyone they can dupe into turning a blind eye to anything anyone else has to say that disagrees with them.

Such is the rescue outfit known as Perfect Pocket Pets.

Beware people from either camp. Both the animal welfarists who get on board with the likes of Peta for anything and will gladly turn on anyone at the slightest whiff of an animal abuse rumour, and the "sugar bear" people who misrepresent and sell gliders to impulse-buyers at malls and show events, telling people to feed gliders -they call them "sugar bears" - on only gliderchow/Nutrimax/Vitamax/Smarthpw pellets and apples.

Anyone deliberately showing and selling animals under a wrong name, regardless of how well they handle these animals, is not on the up and up, and you don't want to end up with a sick glider that dies prematurely, not to mention your getting burned by a scam.

45 complaints registered with the Better Business Bureau. Check them out here. Ugh!

More on tPerfect Pocket pets and the big "sugar bear" deception shortly.

I make no claim to be any sort of expert. I can only offer you some suggestions, guidelines, and what little experience I've had first hand, and include what I personally believe to be some of the most interesting and well-put information taken from various sources, and provide you with some resources where you may be able to get gliders and the supplies they need. There are so many differences among glider resources, and citing them does not mean I agree with or indorse everything on their pages. Information, accessibility, experience and support, not animal welfare dogma, are the best teachers.

here is Mia's story and a load of glider info besides, minus the fanaticism and the sickly sweet.

yIf you are looking to buy, you might want to keep a site to an online buy/sell service such as Kijiji or Hoobly handy and check often for possibilities of gliders for sale in your area. Or you can check out a other online sites that specialize in sugar gliders and their supplies. I put a list of these at the top of this article for your convenience.

 

What Is A Sugar Glider?

One of the first things we need to be clear about concerning potential animal owners is knowing the type of species of animal and its proper name, and then what other names it commonly goes by. We also need to be clear on what it is not.

Q: So what are sugar gliders?

A: Sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps) are possums, (not to be confused with 'opossums) both of which are marsupials. They are much smaller and look nothing like the Virginia opossum that's more familiar to people in North america.

Q: 'Possum' 'opossum' what's the difference?

A: Genetics and geography. Australian 'possums' and american 'opossums' are only distantly related, and one was basically named after the other. The differences are species history/origin, genetics, and other things that would probably take ages to write down and read through.

This gliding possum originates in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and Indonesia.

When it's from Australia and New Guinea etc. it is just called a 'possum' and when it's from the americas, it is correctly termed an 'opossum', though often shortened to 'possum'.

Q: Why are they called sugar gliders?

A:

Sugar gliders are known by that name because of their fondness for sweet things like fruit or nectar, and because, like flying squirrels, they have a flap of skin on either side of the body, running from the wrist of the arm to the ankle of the leg, which they spread out to glide from tree to tree. It is said that wild gliders may glide for several yards in one leap.

Are there other species of possums that glide?

A: Yes. There are other gliding possums living in the wild in these same areas of the world as sugar gliders, but are not yet kept as pets, probably due to their status on the endangered species list. They are the greater glider, the squirrel glider, and the feather-tail or lesser glider. They all glide, using the flaps of skin that extend and stretch out along both sides of their bodies like those of a flying squirrel. I think they're all irresistibly charming, it's too bad we can't have squirrel gliders and lessers as pets. If they have the potential to be as affectionate as sugar gliders, they would make great pets. On the other hand, if they are anything like the Chinese dwarf hamsters and 12 inch long European hamsters said to be more likely to have unsuitable temperments, then simply admiring from afar is enough. :)

Q: Any other possums or opossums kept as pets?

A: There is a small opossum that is kept as a pet, called the short-tailed opossum (STO) a South american species that does resemble the "possum" most of us think of, but it is the same size as the glider, but there are some huge differences.

The STO has a considerably shorter life span, anywhere from 1 to 4/5 years. Their diets used to be very different, but I don't know any more, since I haven't been keeping up on STO info, and glider diet info has changed vastly since I first got Mia.

Short-tailed opossums can't be housed together unless during their breeding seasons. Their babies attach to nurse like other marsupials, but STO mothers do lack a pouch.

STOs make a considerable stench with their waste - not quite as strong as a mouse, and not the same type of rodents stink, but much more like dog/cat/human stink - like a newborn toy breed puppy having just eliminated. YUCK!

Of the two marsupials, the glider is definitely much easier on the nostrils, and understandably from my POV, more common as an exotic pocket pet.

Just for curiosity's sake, here's a rather old but still interesting discussion that deals mostly with flying squirrels, but has a section within a post that compares and contrasts gliders with squirrels. Here's another archived discussion comparing and contrasting the two.

Q: Are sugar gliders called by any other name I should know about?

A: They are often called simply "gliders".

The findsounds.com site erroneously put glider sounds in the squirrel category.

Gliders are not "sugar squirrels", they are not squirrels at all. Squirrels are rodents, and possums are marsupials.

Gliders are definitely NOT "sugar bears"!

This "sugar bear" stuff is particularly annoying and frustrating on so many levels.

Sugar Bear is that goofy bear on those cartoony commercials for Sugar Crisp serial, which is NOT fit for a glider to eat! Corn is a main ingredient and it has a high phosphorus content.

gliders are about the furthest a mammal can get from being a bear of any type. Would you be fine with calling a finch a "pygmy seed-eating eagle?" Or a canine the size of an Irish wolfhound a "giant ffox chihuahua?" Or a type of hamster a micro-short-eared rabbit?"

We all know that finches are not eagles, there are no chihuahua dogs the size of Irish wolfhounds, and hamsters are not rabbits.

Gliders are possums, which are marsupials. Bears are not.

Here is a video of a glider giving birth. The baby comes out of the uterus and then has to make its way up and into the pouch to attach and suckle from the nipples there.

Here is another birthing video.

And here is a glider joey just having been weaned off its mother completely.

There is another animal that has sometimes been termed the "honey bear" but it is not a marsupial and is considerably larger than any glider. It is the kinkajou and it belongs to the same family as raccoons and coatis, the procyonids.

The only excuse one particular organization known as Perfect Pocket Pets insists on calling them "sugar bears" at all is because gliders growl fiercely when they feel threatened. In addition, they may assume a stance that has been said to resemble that of a grizzly. But Pocket Pets, with a number of Youtube channels and web sites such as thesugargliderpro is the only group selling gliders that calls them bears. This is exceedingly flimsy. Should we also call them "flying dogs" because they bark too?

There are a some cases where a species has been given the name of another that is completely unrelated, such as the bird known as the titmouse, but that isn't the same as deliberately dubbing a species with a wrong name just for the heck of it or to be 'cute' or for some other agenda.

Contrary to what Pocket Pets and their dupes claim, the name "sugar bear" has not been recognized officially for this animal, and it should never be referred to and sold as such. Programs that use gliders to educate people on exotic pet care need to avoid using the term and stick to "sugar glider" to avoid confusion and misunderstandings. There is no such thing as a "sugar bear." A sugar glider by any other name, is still a glider, and anyone who insists on calling them by a wrong name while posing as some kind of expert such as a vet or researcher is not to be trusted.

This goes beyond just an irritating wrong name, and into the realm of insidiousness, and for that reason, it needs to be addressed.

If you see a "sugar bear" display in a mall somewhere and then you impulse-buy, not knowing its true recognized name and species, and it falls sick, (which it is very likely to on the Glider Chow diet Pocket Pets peddles as a mainstay,) your vet may not even know what the animal is and be unable to treat it if he/she has never been introduced to sugar gliders. Here is an alarming story about someone who lost a sugar glider because she was unable to find anyone to treat her "sugar bear".

Who's to know for sure if the sugar bear people really do feed the glider chow themselves as 75% of the diet or not? I have a hard time believing they would really stick to their own recommendation given the first two ingredients of the Nutrimax and Vitamax and Glider Chow they sell.

On this link, they bash all other diet plans, both home-made as well as pellets put out by other companies. A pretty scary read if you don't realize what they're up to and what their own formulas are. They claim other pellet foods are much worse than theirs, making sure to beef up the scare-off factor with the lie that says other glider pellets are just repackaged rabbit foods and other things of that sort. But keep in mind, these people also want you believing gliders are "sugar bears".

As to their own pellets, let's see what the top ingredients are.

Nutrimax

Ingredients: soybean meal, whole grain yellow corn,

Ouch! Soy is loaded with iron, and corn, with phosphorus, both minerals need to be kept lower. You won't get the required level of proper protein VS. fruit/veg when corn and soy meal are at the top of the list.

Glider Chow Meat by producs, soybean meal,

And just because a few nights or even a few months go by without a glider showing signs of becoming ill on the diet, doesn't mean it won't eventually happen.

Please stay tuned, because diet info and resources are coming up later on this page.

Pocket Pets, AKA the "sugar bear" people, have several different web sites, sugarbears.com SugarBearvets.org. bearsareawesome.com, pocketpets.com mynasba.org (bogus North American Sugar Bear association,) asgv.org (bogus American Sugar Glider Vetrinary Association,) vetspride.com, SugarGlidersHere.com, SugarBearReviewSite.com, SugarGliderReviews.org (where they bash all other diets and other people's glider care ideas in the form of shill reviews, but never let you post reviews to debunk this crap,) sugargliderinfo.org, and Youtube channels, thesugargliderpro, all to make it appear that many sources are referring to gliders as bears.

A new owner is likely to trust anyone who tacks the title of "vet" on to themselves and whichever site/methods they are pushing. Pocket Pets knows this, and as you can see from the various links, have taken advantage of it. But how do you know for sure they really are vets or a real association of vets? You don't. If they can lie about gliders by claiming they are sugar bears, they can lie about themselves being glider vet associations too.

And they have.

Fraud: Vetspride

Fraud: Association of Sugar Glider Veterinarians

This article explains the results of a small investigation into this, showing the sugar bear people to be hiding behind many web sites, pretending to be independent from themselves while promoting their sugar bear methods.

ASGVa/NSGA/Perfect Pocket Pets are always telling people to stay away from other internet message boards and chats because of all the misinformation on them.

Yes, there is a lot of misinformation and heated debate on glider message forums, but there is also a lot of good information, and it is sometimes hard to determine which is which, especially when reading heated debates.

Yes, there are lies being spread about them, but there are legitimate complaints too. The reason Perfect Pocket Pets doesn't want you checking out internet chats and forums is because they don't want you finding out about any bad experiences people have had after buying one of their sugar gliders, which they insist on wrongly dubbing as "sugar bears" and what a misleading scam they're running.

Well then, if you're not supposed to get info about them from web forums, try the Better Business Bureau.

The lies consist of crap coming from Peta that claims the "sugar bear" people are a glider mill and they teach their gliders to glide by throwing them in the air and by squeezing them to death as a means of bonding.

Typical sick Peta fantasizing Buttkiss.

The real concern is disinformation - on all sides.

Go ahead and look around at multiple sources but just be careful and use common sense.

looking at the diet issue alone, which seems more reasonable as a nutritionally sound diet, glider chow, consisting of who knows what, - or something you make with your own human-grade ingredients at home with the supplementation the diet calls for, especially when so many people have had success with these non-glider chow diets?

One Youtuber fell so hard for the "sugar bear" thing that he flatly explained to me that wikipedia was not a reliable source of info when I showed him the page on gliders. But Wikipedia isn't the only place where gliders are not referred to as bears. Zoos and researchers don't apply this term to gliders. check out any zoo or animal research web page and see if they have any info on gliders, what they call them. You won't see "sugar bears".

Whenever you talk about gliders as "sugar bears" you are: 1. misinforming someone who doesn't know it's the wrong term and will repeat the error when talking about gliders to anyone else. 2. You are telling anyone who actually knows about sugar gliders that you are a useful idiot for Pocket Pets or you have been misinformed by a useful idiot for Pocket Pets.

So kindly do not refer to gliders as "sugar bears" within earshot or internetshot of me because it will cause a seizure of face palming and cyber-whacking.

Appearance?

Q: What do sugar gliders look like?

A: Its fur is generally gray with black markings and stripes. It's face is pointed with two black stripes going from the nose to its ears which are bare and fairly large for its size. The ears move independently of one another like those of a cat, but they are positioned more to the side of the head and stick out or flop down a little. They're not as floppy as a puppy's but may give a similar impression when down. The eyes are large and black, the nose is petite as a kitten's would be at that size, but more slanted like a squirrel's. In addition to the two black stripes going from that little nose to the ears, there is one going down the back, and one on each leg. The tail is long and fluffy as the rest of the body, and usually tipped with about an inch or two of black. The underside of the animal is usually white. The paws are like those of a small primate such as a marmoset, tamarin or bushbaby, with little sharp claws on each digit except for the hind big toe. The tail is not fully prehensile like those of spider monkeys or some other species of possum. Sugar gliders can not hang by their tails,but instead, may use them to add security when sitting on tree branches by curling the tail around the branch. It also helps with direction during gliding. The hands and feet, equipped with the claws are excellent for maintaining grip.

At first sight, people may mistake a sugar glider for any number of animals or at least say they resemble other animals. Gliders have been compared in appearance to chipmunks, raccoons, skunks, bats, bush babies and lemurs, (primate species) flying squirrels, or even badgers. They are only about 4 ounces fully grown, with the head and body being 5/6 inches long, and the tail at least that if not a bit longer.

Gliders are sometimes mistaken for flying squirrels, but are not related as squirrels are rodents.

Flying squirrels are sometimes kept as pets, but they don't breed year-round like the glider.

The only place that seems to have flying squirrels for sale is Helen's Little Critters and they only have few babies throughout the late fall and winter months from what I understand. They have young adult and adult squirrels year round, but I have no idea how tame they would be. I would have to get one to find out. And yes, it's very tempting.

So chances are much more likely that if you should meet someone who has a pet with a gliding membrane, that it is a sugar glider and not a flying squirrel.

I've described to you standard appearance of the glider, and this is the coloration seen in the wild. In the pet population, gliders come in different colours now, as you can see on this page. Color will determine the price of the animal. The less common, more unique the color, the steeper the price. A classic glider like Mia can go for 5 to 10 times less than the all white (leucistic).

they live in the wild anywhere from 2 to 8 years, and in captivity anywhere from 7 to 12 to 15 years, depending on which sites and sources you read. Generally, they live twice or three times as long in captivity as they do in the wild.

Sugar Gliders as Pets

Q: How big do they get?

A: Sugar gliders are the size of hamsters so can't be kept loose in the house. A medium to large bird cage with the wire spaced half an inch apart, or the specially marketed glider cages will keep them from escaping at night. During the day, they can be with their owners, carried in a sleeping pouch.

A sign that a baby is too young to leave its mother is when its tail isn't fluffed out. But even at the same age, baby gliders can differ in size. This can depend on a couple of things - is the baby the only one in the litter, or a twin or triplet? Naturally, twin babies from one litter are more likely to weigh less than a joey born singly.

This page also explains something really interesting. Apparently gliders from New Guinea are a bit larger than those from Australia, and that also makes a difference in the size of the young.

Q: Are they clean, and do they smell?

A: The answer to these questions depends on your idea of cleanliness and how sensitive you might be to various smells.

The short answer is - yes, they smell a fair bit if you have more than one cage with pairs of gliders in one room. Yes if you have a single glider in a temp travel cage with a shallow base, and even the toys and cage wire can begin to smell when active gliders mess it up. Definitely with any of those conditions plus a running wheel!

But a single or even a pair of gliders in a cage with a deep base to hold enough litter, might not smell any worse after a week than a hamster in its Habitrail - probably even less, all depending on how much your glider has run and whizzed on the wheel or cage wire. A very different kind of smell anyway. In my experience, it isn't all that noticeable after even a few days after a cage clean, even if I keep the window open. But when it starts to get noticeable, it seems to be much more so with the window open and the circulating air wafting it all over the room. Glider pee plus toys/cage wire seems to smell like a combo of doggy door and rust. Or, something like that. What's more, it tends to come and go. For some reason, it might be there during one part of the day, then later it seems to be gone. I have no idea why that is, but wrapping something around the cage such as a sheet, or placing the cage in a big storage bin really helps cut down on this. Also washing the wheel frequently and scrubbing down the wire weekly should help. It's not easy, though. Those wire bars are too numerous and close together to do a perfect job by hand and the cage still needs to be hosed or placed in a tub or shower with water running over the wire to really get it clean. As for the toys/wheel, eww, who wants to actually touch those? Use rubber gloves!

Cleanliness can vary quite a bit between individual sugar gliders. They do keep their own fur clean, but that doesn't mean they don't mess up their surroundings. And they do mess up their environment, big time! So, clean as in they groom themselves well. But otherwise, horribly messy.

If you have more than one glider, they do dirty up each other's fur by scent marking with urine and scent from their cent glands. Sure, they don't consider that dirty since animals have no such concept. A lot of animal enthusiasts are too hard on us for viewing urine and other body fluids getting on us or anything else as dirty. But let's be honest. A lot of us do consider that dirty.

Having said that, gliders are always grooming themselves, so whatever mess they make at night, it is usually not evident in their fur by morning when you are up and ready to take them out of their cage to be carried around with you. They don't smell like urine, and if you see anything in their fur, it is just a bit of cage litter, the drinking water spot on the fur that hasn't dried yet, or a bit of their food that got smeared or tangled in their fur. You can gently bathe that spot and get it out that way if you have a well-bonded glider, but mostly you can just let them take care of it on their own.

Q: Will they go on me?

A: Yes, at least once, to at least some degree.

Sugar Gliders will eliminate if nervous or excited, and a new glider may urinate and mark everything with scent glands frequently. A single glider will decrease this activity a great deal when she's settled and feeling secure in her environment and she's totally at ease with you. And that's if you happen to have a really calm glider. They engage in this behavior mostly at night during their pique activity periods. This occurs much less frequently during the day, a glider who is laid back and trusting of you should not usually go on you unless something has her too excited or nervous, or else she is just getting too active. But if you stick your hands into the cage to play with her at night, she will eventually go on you.

Depending on the glider, the sleeping pouch may have to be changed or washed every day, or once every few weeks. Some gliders are cleaner or less highstrung than others. Mia's carry pouch only needing to be freshened up once every few weeks. But that's an exception.

Q: So what about smell?

A: There are two sorts of smell to address when dealing with pet ownership. One is the question of if holding the animal will make you smell like it. The other question is if their waste will stink up a cage and your living area in a hurry or if having the pet will not be hard on your nose.

I haven't had experience with male gliders, some people who've had them complained about the slight musk they sometimes give off, and others say their males don't produce a smell from their glands at all. So I think it depends on the individual's sensitivity and the male glider. Females don't generally give off any odors other than the odd time they mess in their pouch and as it dries, the pee can smell when you are wearing the pouch around your neck. That has happened to me, though no one ever complained about smell - I was the one who was bothered by it. And it doesn't stink up a room when a cage pouch gets sprayed. You have to be very near the cage to notice and by that time, it is time to clean the pouch anyway.

a short-tailed opossum on the other hand, when he goes in his pouch, or takes a dump in his cage, you can smell it clear across a large bedroom!

Q: Why?

A: I can't answer that other than to say that it's species specific. Mice and gerbils have similar diets, and are similar sized creatures, with mice being the smaller species. But mice STINK! Rabbits and chinchillas - similar diets, and some dwarf rabbits are similar sized as chinchillas, and yet rabbits put out very smelly pee that stinks to high heaven in a hurry, so their litter needs to be cleaned out often - like a cat litter box.

Neither rabbits nor chinchillas I've held, ever made my hands smell, and I could put my face up to them and smell nothing but hay or their environment. Gerbils didn't make my hands smell, hamsters did a tiny bit, guinea pigs a bit more, and once again, mice sure as heck did.

I've read ferret owners saying how their animals didn't smell, but honestly, in all of my experiences handling ferrets, including one at a zoo, they all smelled strongly enough of musk to leave that odor behind on my hands and for me to more than notice. That's because ferrets, even with their primary musk glands are removed, still have musk producing glands about their face that produce a very noticeable odor.

In my experience with Mia and other gliders, they never gave off any body odor beyond the just being alive smell that every living thing has that's unique to its own kind.

I do not agree with this video that says a glider smells similar to a puppy when held. For not thing, they don't have puppy breath, which is the main thing you'll smell with puppies. Certainly when a puppy craps on you it's going to stink nauseatingly! You aren't likely to smell when a glider eliminates on you unless you happen to have your nose near enough to where it happened.

The doggy smell comes in with what I described in the above about what can make a glider's cage smell. I've been in places where there were multiple gliders to one room and it was comparable to going to an apartment where there was a large dog. I have become extremely sensitive to this particular smell to the point where I can no longer tolerate it.

1. Place the cage inside a large plastic bin, and vacuum it out and wash down the inside when you clean the cage. I know, more work, but there's just no way around that.

2. make or buy a cage barrier. The Exotic Nutrition Company/Sugar Glider Shop sells cage barriers that wrap around your cage to keep mess inside. glidernursery sells "glideriums" which I believe are a kind of breathable fine mesh terarium type.

3. Another option is Hagen Vision bird cages - these have a wonderful deep base that keeps more of the mess inside than shallower ones. Unfortunately, not even they can keep mess from going out of the cage, and smell is just as hard to combat.

Other sites selling cages and supplies are Critterlove, and Thepetsugarglider.com.

Vision bird cages from Hagen, medium and large sizes, have drop in pans and debris guards, all combining to make about the best deep base I've seen on a cage yet, and you can get the cage covers to go with them. However, I think the wire spacing on the large cages is too far apart. 1-inch wire spacing is too large, and gliders will escape. The wire needs to be 3/8 to 1/2 inch spacing. From the description, it looked as if it could be somewhere from half to nearly one inch.

A drop in pan is much simpler to clean than a cage with a slide-out tray. This is because urine can run down between the tray and the bottom pan, creating a sticky, smelly mess that requires gloves to handle. Yuck! Ugh! And I'm speaking from personal experience. Not so with a drop in pan. Just remove the wire, take the pan, dump it out, put it in the shower with hot water and disinfectant, put in a pet safe deodorizer, even a little of your own liquid soap should be fine. Leave the cage bottom there for several minutes, then rince it out.

Glider cages with drop-in pans and w/o slide-out trays are extremely hard if not impossible to find, though. I had to convert a bird tray base into a drop-in pan by stopping up the part the tray goes in and out of with duct ape or something similar.. Sticky part facing out, not into the cage, of course! It worked, but I still didn't like it. The other thing I tried was getting a large storage container, big enough for me to sit in, put the litter in the bottom and place the wire cage in. That meant dumping out a huge container every time the cage needed to be cleaned.

Then I discovered the Vision cages and IMO it's the best option.

What should I use for cage litter?

Aspen, carefresh or wood pellets are fine for cage litter. Yesterday's News stunk after a day in Mia's cage after coming in contact with what fruit and vegetable juice fell on it. Maybe it was just my own nose reacting violently, no one else had any complaints. but I couldn't stand it! Ugh! Since putting her on baby foods and combinations of other things that don't drip so much juice on the cage bottom, I've found Yesterday's News to be okay. So it was probably just the chopped up, juicy fruit that did it.

Q: Do they bite?

A: To be safe, or at least prepared, always assume a glider that is unfamiliar to you, will bite. A scared glider is not like a nervous puppy that you can win over without it putting up a heck of a frightening defence display, and some snapping to go with the growl.

An untame glider can and will bite very hard. But in my experience, a young glider is much easier to socialize than an adult that is not accustomed to human contact and will not bite as hard.

A defensive glider may cower, but lunge at your hand with teeth bared, growling furiously to frighten you off. A sleeping pouch made of fleece or shirt material, hung in the cage can give her a place to settle down for the day. Then, take the pouch out of the cage with the glider inside, making sure you have it done up so she can't get out or bite you, means she can growl all she likes but she should eventually settle down. If you carry her around daily in this pouch, worn around your neck so she is up against your body, she'll learn to see her pouch as a secure place, and you as her friend. This can help cut down the mutual fear so bonding can begin. From there, you can gradually move closer to trying to get your hand into the pouch. With some, the progress may be surprisingly quick, and with others, it takes longer.

Suncoast Gliders, a very well respected name in the glider owning community has a Sugar gliders learn well through positive reinforcement. If they like contact but find themselves getting threatened with being ignored whenever they nip, while a lick will earn them extra attention, they can learn to be very kissy. Mia learned that staying with me instead of running off, got her more attention. Escaping only got her caught and put back in her cage.

Q: Do they get along with other pets?

a: To be safe rather than sorry, assume they will not. They will be frightened by larger animals and treat creatures smaller than themselves as prey. Sometimes people are able to get their gliders getting along with some of their other pets, but that doesn't happen over night, and never without very close supervision. You have to have pretty laid-back pets in the first place for this to happen.

You need to keep in mind the nature of any pet species and keep any apart that will harm each other. For example, gliders and hamsters or gliders and gerbils will result in one or more of them seriously injured or killed.

Q: What about other pets similar in size, could they ever be in the same cage together? I.E. a glider and a flying squirrel?

a: Cute as this ideal is, it is only that, an ideal that can't be managed for a few reasons.

To start with, each animal species has a specific diet, and gliders can't have too many nuts or seeds. Even if by some amazing chance you had a glider and flying squirrel that got along, there is no way you could keep them out of each other's food when they're housed in the same cage. I don't know what the effect of the BML diet or any of the Wombaroo etc. glider diets would have on squirrels if they got too much of it, but too many nuts and seeds will make a glider too fat and otherwise mess with the nutrient ratios, causing more problems.

Q: but what about short-tailed opossums or hedgehogs and gliders? They have more in common with their diets, right?

A: A bit closer than with rodents, but short-tailed opossums are solitary. They don't even get on with each other except for mating, and these two marsupials would kill each other! Do not try this idea!

Hedgehogs are larger and would probably view a glider as prey. And I don't know what kinds of diseases one species could get from the other and how much worse they effect one than the other.

If you're going to have more than one animal in the same cage, it is just safer all around to not try mixingg the species.

Q: I was told that a glider adjusts as easily with no more fuss or trouble than a new puppy or kitten to a new environment. Is this true? Will my glider love me right away or very soon after I bring it home?

a: No, that is wrong. You might be fortunate to get one like the newest of mine who has not been fussy or defensive, but you are more likely to get scared to death by a frightened and defensive new glider.

gliders are extremely wary and they don't like change. They notice changes to their environment and a move can upset them. In reaction, they can put on a fierce display of growling, snapping, lunging. This might not always be the case, you might be very lucky and have a glider that didn't react much, but it is best to assume you will get growled and snapped at, many times within the first few weeks.

I went to visit Mia weekly as soon as she was out of the pouch, right up until I took her home. On these visits, Mia slept in my hand, and I was told she never reacted to anyone else so calmly. So we were meant for each other, that was clear to me.

However, when I brought her home, she turned into this frightened, defensive, growling, lunging little monster, and it took a few weeks and my constantly having to fight the urge to chicken out and back off before we eventually became truly comfortable with each other. She eventually became so lovey that any little kid could gently stick their fingers into her day pouch and she would lick the heck out of them.

A new pup will sniff you out, cry at night, and maybe show a bit of shiness, a kitten will probably be shy and squireely, but generally when you take those new pets home, you can do hands on without getting growled and snapped at. Assume it won't be so easy with a glider at first.

Q: what about their life from birth to adulthood?

A:Mia was born into the pouch in February or March years ago, and emerged out of the pouch for the first time in late April or early may. It is usually this second date that is considered their birth. Gliders still have their eyes shut and need to suckle for two more months before they are ready to leave their mother. Mia was ready to come into my home in July of that year.

Diet

"Got any treats? Huh?"

Q: What do gliders eat?

A: Sugar gliders eat fruit, nectar, insects, and smaller mammals and sometimes young birds and eggs in the wild.

But your pets are not wild, and you are not going to go to New Guinea or Australia and hunt for their wild insects and pick eucalyptus, gather sap/nectar from blossoms and trees, and catch small prey for them. The best you can do is try to come up with an omnivorous diet with what's available to you, and unfortunately that is not necessarily easy or cheap. A lot depends on which if any of the popular diet plans found on glider web sites you wish to follow.

In captivity, gliders eat fruit, vegetables, and various sources of protein ranging from eggs to baby food, yogurt, to chicken, turkey, monkey chow/biscuits, crickets and mealworms. Any pelleted food may be given only as a treat or in situations such as short trips where you can't feed them their proper diets.

Not one of these things should make up the majority or even half of the diet but be given as only part of it. For example, eggs make up part of various diet plans, but are not the bulk of the diet.

Feeding cat/dog chow is discouraged now, certainly as a main part of the diet. It may be given once in a while as an occasional treat, and in very small quantities. Mealworms are a treat item, not a staple.

The ratio of calcium to phosphorus is 2 to 1, and iron levels need to be low so they don't get iron storage disease.

The ratio of protein to fruit/veg has changed drastically since I started out as a new glider owner with mia. Back then, it was 25% protein to 75% fruit/veg. Now it's an IMO healthier 50/50 or even 60/40.

There are various planned diets as well as commercial glider foods now. The commercial foods are not complete diets, however, and the home made diet plans always call for adding extras besides the basic frozen mixes you whip up.

Here are links to some of the diet plans and recipes.

Ruth's Sugar glider Diet BML (Bourbon's Modified Leadbeater's Priscilla Price ThePetGlider Diet Plan

The Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital has a few diets on its page.

ThePamperedGlider has some instructions and information on feeding using HPW/HPS.

Rep-cal for the BML mix can be purchased at Petsmart. Our local Petland carries these supplements too, though I couldn't find them listed among the online items.

HPW Original AWD Australian Wombaroo Diet PML (Pockets Modified Leadbeater's HPW Plus HPW Complete RWD - Reep's Wombaroo diet Original Leadbeaters The Pet Glider Exotic diet VGV - Val's Green Variety diet Natural Diet Kazko's Diet Jill Marie's Diet Healesville Sanctuary Diet Australian Captive Diet LGRS - Lucky Glider 'Rescue' *wince* Suggie Soup

When I started out with Mia, calcium deficiency was the main concern for glider illness. Now, we must not only make sure calcium/phosphorous is 2/1, we have to watch the iron as well. And guess what? Just because some foods higher in calcium may be lower in phosphorus, doesn't mean they won't be too high in iron.

Oy!

Just to help you out with avoiding feeding them too much foods too high in phosphorus, here is a link.

And here is a link with some diet plans for gliders.

Frozen pinky mice may also be given if you have the stomach for taking away the hide or whatever else remains when the glider is done eating and is settled down for the day. Feeding mice is not a must. Egg may also be given as a protein source. But fat intake must be minimal as an excess of fat especially over a period of time may cause obesity and cataracts. too much fat may also cause the tip of the tail to lighten, but that reverses when the problem is corrected.

Most diet plans require vitamin D3, calcium, and a vitamin supplement such as Nekton Lori or Gliderade if they're not getting enough in their diet. Most commercial foods for pets including gliders are already enriched with vitamins and it isn't healthy overdosing them with vitamins and minerals either. But the trick is trying to find out when to supplement and when not to, and with what. That's where the diets above can help out.

There are special glider and monkey diets available commercially that don't require extra vitamins to be given besides, but still need extra fruit/veg to be provided. Others require the food be given with extra vitamins or foods as supplements. Nectar is available commercially in powdered form to be mixed into their food. Such specialized products aren't easily come by in your local pet shop, but many online small animal supply shops carry a vast assortment. In fact, online is where I first learned about sugar gliders as pets. However, the catch with that is, you have to pay for shipping and handling. If you live outside the US, you can't get products from ExoticNutrition or the Sugar Glider Store by any other shipping method but *cringe* airmail!

The following sites have glider diets for sale and recipes, as well as many other supplies for gliders and other exotic animals.

http://www.animalsexotique.com/ http://sugarglider.safeshopper.com/131/cat131.htm?618 http://sugarglider.safeshopper.com/140/cat140.htm?618 http://www.sugarglider63.com/index.html http://www.glidersanonymous.com/store.html http://www.callejean.com/handc/ http://www.centralah.com/NektonProd.htm http://www.brisky.com/8/338?opt2home3briskypublichtml=c935e5 Sugargliderinfo.com http://www.sugargliders.org/gliderinfo/diets/diet_index.htm ExoticNutrition.com sells great products from the looks of things, but if you order from outside the US, you have to select airmail as the shipping method. Ouch! Ditto for the "Sugar Glider Store" SugarGlidersRUs unfortunately appears to ship only within the US.

Here is a PDF of a nutrition chart for various sugar glider pellet foods.

There was a faze years ago when Brisky's diet first came out, that glider owners swore by it. Then Brisky's fell out of favour and along came BML. Then HPW.

Some people say to use Repcal, not Reptocal or reptical. Others say not to use a calcium supplement made for reptiles at all.

Eh?

It used to be believed that hard foods caused "lumpy jaw" but now some pellets/monkey biscuit is good for a glider's dentition, helping to keep the teeth clean. That makes sense. isn't that why Milkbone is so good for dogs and why cat kibble is a good addition to their otherwise moist diets as well?

Anything dairy when mentioned used to be pretty much a bad word because of the belief that gliders were lactose-intolerant. Now, it's okay to use the word "yogurt" when talking about glider diets.

Or is it?

Some sites say monkey biscuits are good for the dentition, other sites say they shouldn't be used because they are not formulated for gliders. This glider site says yogurt and monkey biscuits are a no-no.

They also claim other sites are touting the use of one food and only one food diets and that just isn't true. What is said, however, is that when you have decided on a diet plan, just stick to it. For example, don't juggle the BML diet with the HPW dieter use them both at the same time in combo. No one who promotes the use of BML, HPW, Priscilla's Diet, Candy's *twinge* Gliderkids diet, or LGRS Diet, AKA *cough twitch* "Suggie Soup" promotes keeping gliders on the basic diet mix alone. every post I've read says that in addition to the basic staple diet, you have to give some extra fruit, veg and protein, and the vitamin supplements required. No one is saying that when using any of the HPW plans or BML, that we should only give gliders the basic BML mix or the High Protein Wombaroo powder only! sheesh! Those formulas including the mix that is made with the Wombaroo powder, are only the staple, the rest of the diet, up to 50% or more, consist of other things.

Yes, the subject of glider diet i's a confusing mess! This and this are just two examples of the vast amount of the all too typical animal welfare one-upmanship that goes on in forum discussions about glider diets, and it does nothing to help out a pet owner who just wants to be able to feed their gliders the best of the best. And this is not limited to diet. This off-putting stuff goes on about any aspect of glider care.

And after all the reading I've done, trying to separate the info from the politics and bashing, I still cannot tell you which diet is best.

There has been a lot of debate on glider diet, But, whatever the case, each owner and their glider will have to pick and choose the options best for them, since not every glider is the same. Much information and tips for feeding sugar gliders can be found all over the internet. Take whatever works best for you, and if you want to avoid getting caught in a feeding frenzy of politics and debating fanatics, keep your ears open and your mouth shut when venturing on these forums. For convenience and so the glider doesn't have to adjust to a new diet when you bring it home, you might want to ask the person you're getting it from what diet they feed theirs and follow suit as long as it's something sensible like the various diet plans above and not a diet of pellets and nuts. You can give pellets and nuts, but only as treats.

 

Glider and Human Relationships

I'll start by quoting a bit of various information from other sites on glider temperment.

This is taken in part from glidercommunityofedmonton.org:

--

While each glider is an individual, there are basic temperment variations that can be grouped. there are shy, aggressive, outgoing, cuddly, gentle, sweet, lazy, fun, and those who are a little "needy". These variations are due to parenting (5%), genetics (10%), and socialization (85%). A shy glider can become an outgoing friendly glider with socialization. Of course they will still exibit shyness in certain situations, but nothing compared to what they would be without socialization.

This is why people should not buy gliders who are not socialized properly.

Once you get the baby glider you will need to continue socialization till the glider has reach maturity. A section on bonding techniques is coming soon!!

No glider with a bad temperment should be bred or sold as a pet glider.

Glider's different temperments

Crabmiesters: Some babies are just born chatter boxes and will crab at anything. If you spend time with the baby in a bonding pouch and it can quickly get to know you it will crab less as time goes by. Increase hand feeding with fruit to quickly get their attention. These glider should spend lots of time in a bonding pouch (months).

** Note from Capri: Easier said than done around some people who absolutely forbid you to have a crabbing glider around them. It isn't just the glider's behaviour you have to consider, it's also about which people you can have them around and which will just make the situation worse. With some people who can't take the crabbing, you have to juggle your time between them and the crabby glider. Gliders are extremely sensitive to the mood of their owners too, so if you're feeling tense around a person who is likely to go nuts and yell in response to a glider's crabbing, the glider will pick up on it plus the negative energy coming from that person as well, and will be more likely to crab, even when nothing was done to provoke its outburst.

**End of note, back to info.**

High Strung: these gliders are like gliders on steroids! Ensure you provide a large chinchilla wheel for them to burn off energy. Increase protien and reduce carbs and sugars.

Snuggly: Especially with females. Part of this behaviour is the need to nest and hide. It is maternal. These gliders always need a pouch or shirt pocket to climb into. If you force them to be out in the open they will become stressed, so allow them to hide and snuggle in closed environments.

Leapsters: Make sure if you have a leapster - lock up dogs & cats!! The jumping motion will bring out dog and cat's natural instinct to run, chase, and kill. These gliders will leap any chance they get. If you are persistent and always bring the glider back to you they will lesson leaping off you. One reason gliders become leapsters....not bonded. Go through bonding process as many times as necessary.

Shys: These gliders are a little extra nervous in new places, and surroundings so be cautious of them trying to flee if scared. Slowly change environments, make sure they feel safe, not good with dogs, cats, or birds. Give them the quietest place in the house or apt. for they are over alert all the time they can get sick a lot.

Dealing with problem behaviours

Biting: Unfortunately your not gonna want to hear this LOL. To stop biting you need a bonding pouch with a zipper. You must put the glider in the pouch and your hand and zipper it shut around your hand....now don't react when you get bit!!!! See I told you you wouldn't want to hear this. Gliders only bite for they have learned that by biting you they can make you go away. They first time you got bit you probably yelped, pulled back your hand and the glider went...."hmmmmm so even though I am small, if I bite I can be in control hmmmmm". SOooo you need to show you are the alpha animal in this relationship. You cannot pull you hand back!! You can yell to startle them. You can grab them if they bite to show dominance. But you cannot hit, slap, throw, or act like a 2 year old child. You must show you are the boss and that you own them, not the other ways around.

**Note from Capri: Every glider site out there will tell you to take the bites and to not pull away, and it's much easier said than done, and the best reason to get a baby as young as possible! If there is going to be an issue with biting, a baby won't bite nearly as hard as a panicky or ticked-off or unsocialized adult glider. And just because you got your baby settled down to sleep in your hand after the initial fight, does NOT mean she won't crab and bite the next time you try to initiate bonding. This issue doesn't go away immediately or overnight. It takes a lot of time and so much patience and determination.

**End of note, back to info.

Dive Bombing:

Sometimes you get a glider who becomes over protective over their cage and will dive bomb your hand if you come near. The fastest technique is a spray bottle that mists. Approach the cage and when he leaps - spray. Classical conditioning will kick in and soon the glider will fear dive bomding you for he might get sprayed. Next follow up with extra time in the bonding pouch. It is important that he see it is not your hand that sprays, but his decision to dive bomb your hand.

Getting pee'd and poop'd on:

Gliders naturally relieve themselves when their bottoms are stimulated. This means as they run across your arm their bottoms are getting stimulated. This is due to their moms licking their bottoms to get them to go and the mom's lick it up so the nest doesn't become a bathroom. Since gliders are usually flush against what they are climbing on the stimulation they learned when babies continues to adulthood. While you can't pottytrain them or 100% train them not to do it on you...you can train yourself to beat them to the punch.

1. Take a wad of tissue in one hand
2. Hold the glider upside down in the other hand
3. Rub their bottom in short slow strokes...and watch them pee and poop!!
4. Repeat (to ensure they got it all out) They will be good for quite a while now - enjoy your playtime without being soiled on!!!

**Note from Capri: Another way to get quality time with your glider and avoid having it go on you is by holding it in your hand to snuggle and sleep in during the day. Gliders are far less likely to mess up their pouch during the day when they are sleeping or just relaxed and snuggly. The same is true when they sit in your hand. But as soon as they feel insecure or even very excited, they will eliminate.

**End of note, back to info.**

Bonding techniques

There are several techniques that will work with different gliders, but here we will be illustrating the guaranteed method.

First and foremost, start with an 8 week old baby glider. You will need a zippered bonding pouch and you must wear this as much as possible. There is no magic amount of time so just give your baby what you can offer.

1. When you get home from work or school just place the baby in the bonding pouch (zipped up) and wear it around your neck as you cook diner, do laundry, clean up, etc. The baby should sleep and be rocked gently as you go about your business. The baby will be able to hear your voice, smell you, feel your warmth, and become accustom to the sounds and happenings of their new environment while feeling safe and cared for.

2. Once you have eaten and have time to devote just to the baby, sit down and place one hand in the bonding pouch and cup the baby in your hand. (zip up bonding pouch) The baby should snuggle up and fall alseep for a while. If you have time to watch a movie - fantastic! (this is fabulous skin contact closeness - think about how much closer you feel currled up with your loved one or spouse)

*** Please understand bonding does not have to be play time. It can be sleeping or just snuggling with your hand in the bonding pouch. Humans bond with shared interest and getting to know a person face to face - animals don't. Your baby will trust you and bond with you if they feel safe, supported, and cared for. When babies are new and exploring they feel insecure and while play time is fun it is not the greatest for bonding. Bonding is in the warmth you share, the smell of your scent, the beat of your heart, and the safety you provide.

3. Once your baby starts to explore, bonding is in the safety you provide. If the baby jumps or climbs off you pick them back up and train them by bringing them back to the bonding pouch. Keep returning your glider to the pouch after they have left your body or jumped off. (for those of you psychology buffs, yes this is classical conditioning)

If you don't spend enough time devoted to this, your glider will go in the opposite direction and your baby glider will become untame and will not be bonded to you.

--

Generally, gliders are hyperactive at play, but calm and snuggly if they trust and like being with you during the day. Some are very outgoing even by day, checking out anything new. I've never let Mia venture off on her own during the day, but made it very worth her while to stay with me. She always preferred not to be held in another person's bare hands, but loved being stroked by anyone as long as it was me holding her. Anyone could carry her around in her sleeping/bonding pouch.

Gliders handle differently from hamsters or gerbils too, their claws are tiny but very sharp and curved. The toes are like tiny fingers, and the claws extend out from them like a marmoset or kinkajou's. Put it this way, if a glider was the size of a cat, its feet would be like monkey feet and with curved claws that would then be very large. So, small as the animal is, its claws have a tendency to catch on everything. This is useful in the wild for tree dwelling but it can complicate things a little when she clings onto your arm or hand, or gets her claws snagged in the carrying pouch, or refuses to give up some little thing you don't want her to have. This is why it's a good idea to play with the glider's legs, paws and toes if she'll let you. If she's used to your hands working about her feet, getting her out of snaggy situations is usually pretty easy.

--

From nurhazwanizulkafli.blogspot.ca

TYPES OF BONDED SUGAR GLIDERS

SEMI-FRIENDLY

When you go in the box glider will crab, but doesn’t lunge or bite. It may come up to you and smell your finger(at night). Will not climb up on your hand or arm at night. It also will not stay on your shoulder or sit still in your hand during the daylight hours. It’s struggling to get away as you hold baby. It also may bite(hard nip) if contained or you hold it back from getting loose. It may come to the front of cage to see you at night, but if you put your hand in their cage they will run away.

FRIENDLY

The sugar glider will crab at first then intensity or tone should change after it recognizes you. It will climb on you at night, but as you move your hand or arm it will jump off back into cage. You can hold your baby but it will jump off to investigate or may get scared and run and hide. It may still taste ”nip” you.

BONDED

No crabbing(may give a grunt crab as you are waking them up, but should stop immediately once they recognize you). Will come to the front of the cage and climb on you and walk up your arm to shoulder without jumping off. It may still smell your hand before it climbs on to you(slight delay before it climbs on you). It still may jump off to investigate or if it gets scared. If it nips it is a communication that it wants something, a drink or a snack. It also should sleep in the pouch without struggling to get out but still may crab slightly when it gets bumped or woke up by strange noises.

TIGHTLY BONDED

There is no crabbing as you go in to box or cage during daylight or night time hours. The glider at night will climb on your hand and either ride on it or run up to your shoulder after your hand is out of cage. There is no hesitation to climb or jump on you as you open cage door. Sugar glider will ride on hand or shoulder as you walk around at night and usually will not jump off of you. If it gets scared it will freeze or run in pouch or down shirt.(if you taught it to do this for comfort and security). It also will not jump off to just investigate,(you can never say never will jump off), sometimes my extremely bonded adults do, but it is a rarity when they do and it usually means they want to go back to their living quarters. They sometimes do above at night but during the day they are content to sit in my cupped hands eating a cricket. The glider should also not shake or act like it is scared while it is on you during day or at night. It should be very trusting of what you are doing or where you are going(animal in pouch). While in pouch glider should not crab if woken up or if it is bumped or disturbed in any way. In other words NO crabbing or taste nips, just communicational light pinch sometimes.

**Note from Capri: My Tightly bonded. I only had one that wasn't, an adult I bought that was fine with being carried around in a pouch, and being rubbed through the pouch, but no actual touching was allowed.

**End of note, back to info.**

BEHAVIOR:

NON FRIENDLY GLIDER

HARD NIPPING OR BITING: Sometimes when you first get a baby sugar glider it nips or bites after crabbing, if you force it into a corner or push after crabbing or after glider is chased. This is a scared defense response and with patience and trust it should go away as the crabbing should subside also.

FRIENDLY GLIDER BEHAVIOR TASTE NIPPING: This is totally different than biting. This is a communication that the glider wants something or it is tasting everything in it’s environment(us included). It may want something to eat(cricket or treat), some water, or if baby is contained, to see what’s going on. It reminds me of a human baby at the everything in the mouth stage of growth.

**Note from Capri: I wouldn't want to run the risk of encouraging this behaviour by rewarding it with treats, though. Mia got treats once she was past that stage and could be trusted not to nip my hand.

**End of note, back to info.**

SQWAGGLE

This is what the glider does when it is marking you as belonging to it’s family group. They grab(with teeth) your shirt or skin and will rub their belly and back end from side to side three or four times in a row. When they do this if they didn’t hold on with teeth( young ones use teeth, older ones can glide across material with a little training) they would fall off(it is that vigorous). Hopefully they grab your shirt and not your bare skin. I have seen a female do this to her male and he made a noise like it hurt. It looked like the female was on top trying to mate until I saw that side to side movement. This is not an aggressive behavior, you should be honored you have made the family, even though it hurts on bare skin(pinched). It also could be territorial scent marking.

**Note from Capri: Yikes! Fortunately I haven't experienced this yet. Honestly, I'm not sure my reaction would be exactly good to that. *Shudder pull away* "WTH Get off me!"

**End of reactive note, back to info.**

HEAD RUB

The sugar glider will grab you with it’s front two feet and curl it’s head toward their underside and start rubbing the top of their head vigorously against you. It usually is accompanied by a girgling sound or a giggling sound. If I am sitting while this is being done, it sometimes is followed up with a ¾ full body turn and the length of body rubbed against me. I have females and males do this behavior, I think it is friendly hello or family recognition. I have seen a male do the head rub to the female also both parents do it to the babies(they have to be out of box and weaning). Sometimes they do it after I have petted them down the full length of their body. The full length ¾ body turn is like a cat rubbing against your leg and if laying down with glider can be done down length of body or legs.

**Note from Capri: this is adorable! Been there, had that happen.

**End of note, back to info.**

BELLIE RUB: Normally done by adolescent sugar gliders or adult sugar gliders. Males and females do this underbelly rub. It looks like a wave or they are trying to wipe something off their bellies. Peanut would do this also when she had babies and her pouch was extended about ¼ in., she would lay still on my arm and spread out so her belly was flat against me. I found out later she was getting my smell on the babies through the pouch opening. I think. The reason I think this is because I caught her male sleeping with his head against her pouch opening. Maybe it is a pre oop bonding between father and babies.

**Note from Capri: also adorable, not that it ever takes much encouragement from gliders to get me rubbing their tummies. :)

**End of note, back to info.**

TOOTSIE POP LICK

This is where the baby sugar glider or sub-adult sugar glider will climb up on your shoulder and go over to your neck and lick, lick, lick, and lick then take a nip out of your neck. It also can be done on arm or any where else on you. If you have a mole or band-aid on your finger or any thing that the glider thinks is foreign it will try and remove(groom) it. I think this behavior is taste or grooming. It usually is done by a glider I hear purring from or extremely attached to me. It usually goes away(tootsie lick, grooming usually continues) either by me moving every time I get a little pinch or with time or after puberty. Another type of behavior that can occur at same time as this grooming is the wet willie which is the glider nip on ear, purring, tootsie lick and/or the tongue goes in the ear with purring usually. I don’t mean tongue on outside of ear I mean deep in the ear.

**Note from Capri: Heck yeah! That's happened many times. especially since I'm the type to put them right up to my ear to listen to their bliss sounds. If she's bonded, and being the naturally curious creatures they are, chances are good you'll get a nose in your ear. Hehe!

A great time to bond with a glider is while she is grooming herself. She may start grooming your hand too, and welcome your attention the most at that time.

Here is a video that talks you through some techniques of holding a new glider to begin the bonding process. It shows a baby that is clearly not yet bonded and what a fuss you can expect from it.

 

Communication

Along with body language, sugar gliders make some interesting sounds to indicate their mood.

A high pitched bark that sounds like one of those toy mechanical dogs or a squeak toy can serve as a warning or just because the glider wants attention.

A ferocious growl that has been likened to the sound of an electric pencil sharpener, a broken toy, or miniature chainsaw, is a great way of scaring off creatures much larger than the glider. This includes humans! But Mia's growl was always worse than her initial defensive nips when she first arrived. A scared glider can act very defensive and intimidating. But Mia was handled by people from the earliest time possible, before she came to my home.

From nurhazwanizulkafli.blogspot.ca

SOUNDS

CRABBING

This sounds like a machine that won’t start. Probably the first sound you will hear out of the baby and/or newly acquired sugar glider. It is a defense mechanism and could be followed by lunging at you and/or biting, if glider is pushed or you move too fast toward it. The glider by doing this is probably trying to say you are bothering him/her(usually tone changes), you have startled him/her, or they are scared of what is going to happen next. Look at it from our point of view; you have been at work or play all day then you come home and go to sleep. At about 3 a.m. on our schedule something comes to your house and rips the roof off of your house and wakes you up, wouldn’t you “crab” or say something worse? I would be startled or scared until I knew what was going on!

BARKING: This sounds like a small dog barking off in the distance. It is a scare call and/or telling a story to other gliders in the area. If you have more than one glider all the other gliders either freeze or they run for security or cover. If I have a bonded glider on me it will run under my shirt for protection.

**Note from Capri: It can bark just for attention as well, and dream-bark while sleeping. With an attention-bark, it will stop when you start talking to it, or go over to the cage to interact. Then it just wants to play with you.

Here is a cute video where a few gliders set one another off barking.

**End of note, back to info.**

GIRGLING This is a sound that is like being tickled or a giggle. I hear it when I rub their belly or while they eat a cricket and being petted. If I am holding the female with babies if she makes this sound, the male in the box will answer as he eats his cricket. This is a happy or content sound.

**Note from Capri: *Grins* Gliders that live with me and like my physical contact do this often. So utterly adorably cute!

**End of note, back to info.**

CHIRPING

Almost like a giggle but it has a different pitch and intensity of sound. I think this also is a happy or content sound. It made while being held or eating treat.

TEETH CHATTERING

(LOUD): I ONLY HEAR THIS FROM ONE MALE THAT WE BOUGHT SECOND HAND. When his female comes to the front of the cage he runs up to her making the teeth chattering noise. I also observed him doing it when she was on the side of her cage and a rival male that was on his wire close to her(about 4-6 in. apart). He chatters, then he will go and rub under her chin and her behind. I think he is jealous of me and the rival male around his girl. There is a soft teeth chatter that starts out as a single kiss or click which I believe is a friendly sound. The behavior has a lot to do with the sound meaning and intensity of the sound.

CHA CHA CHEW CHEW:

this noise will be done only by adult female sugar gliders with babies, either oop or in the pouch. The moms will do this and it is also accompanied by stretching movements as to reposition the babies in the pouch. They raise up on all four feet(kind of arched up) and will stretch one leg one way then another leg another way. This noise also coming from the nest box around dinner time and then the mom comes out without the babies. Maybe it is a way to tell babies to stay or stop you are stepping on my bladder or kicking me. After stretching and noise was made mom will go on with what she was doing. And we will not hear it from all the females all the time just sometime.

CHEW SA-CHEWLSOUNDS LIKE SNEEZE):

Gliders do this to each other to tell the other one that, that it is mine and you stay away. It’s like a warning to each other. Also after babies are weaned mom will do this. At first mom or dad will let babies eat out of their hands as parents are eating, later it is if to say go and get your own.

PURRING

This is a very happy and content sound(like a cat makes). It is hard to hear as it is not as loud as a cat’s purr

**Note from Capri: The most frequent sound by far, they do this during contact with you and loving it, and when they groom themselves or you. Too cute!

**End of note, back to info.**

SINGLE KISS

We will only hear this from tightly bonded or extremely tightly bonded sugar gliders. It is like a single light pucker sound or kiss. It is very soft and sometimes hard to hear, unless it is by your ear. We can make a single noise and the sugar glider will answering with the single pucker. I believe it is a friendly(may be greeting) or happy communication noise.

**Note from Capri: That description sounds a bit like the occasional squeak they sometimes make for apparently no reason, or else when they've just grumbled and suddenly it clicked in that it was only you coming in for a cuddle.

**End of note, back to info.**

GROWL(GRRR GRRR) OR OFF BEAT CRAB

We will only hear this between rival gliders. I hear this either the female is in season, babies oop, or babies are coming out of the box. It is a stern warning to other sugar gliders to stay away or out of their territory

**Note from Capri: Heh, to me, a crab is a growl, but either way, the message is clear, "back off!"

**End of note, back to info.**

SQUAWK , BABY CALL

The baby is calling for mom or dad when it’s scared or in distress. When the baby first comes out of the box and they wander too far in the cage or can’t quite climb over a branch or piece of wood. Another words like a cat goes up the tree but can’t get down, this is the reverse the baby will go to bottom of cage and can’t figure out how to climb up and/or over something. When baby calls mom or dad will talk to them or they will go and pick them up and give ride back to safety.

**end of note, back to info**

--

Awww!

Once Mia and I were sufficiently bonded, she would let me hold her in my bare hands, outside the pouch a lot of times during the day. I did not start out with an outstretched hand, but with one hand closed around her like a pouch, sometimes with the second hand over top to hide her head, making her feel safe.Bringing your hand up to your neck right below your chin so you can shield her that way can work as well, especially if she is feeling a bit nervous and you can't use your other hand to put over her head at the time.

When we snuggled, Mia would make cute little contented clicky purring noises and give kisses, not only to me, but to other people as well. One of her favorite things, getting her tummy rubbed, and if she could get you to do it and keep you at it, she'd bend her neck real far back so you could get at her chest and front easily. She'd kiss me more frequently than other people and but was never too keen on anyone else trying to get her out of the pouch besides me. Mia was so calm that she'd cling onto my shirt and stay there for a while as I'd move my hands away and let other people stroke her. Her rate of clicks and kisses for me in the morning especially was something else! once I put her in the pouch for the day, she'd often try to grab and lick my fingers before I could get my hand out and shut the pouch. Then she would start with the clicks - with the frequency of a telegraph or typewriter. The sound is of course much softer, like the noises a sleepy puppy makes when being moved, but the clicks come more often than that. The kisses are quick and excited as well. It's cute.

In her pouch, Mia would sometimes ask for attention by peeking out. If I put my hand in, she would get comfortable down in the pouch but often if I'd withdraw my hand, she'd get back in this position: head up, sniffing about, body stretched upward, front paws clinging near the top of the pouch on the inside. When out of the pouch, she'd click and snuggle. when she seemed to anticipate getting a treat, she'd make a cute little chatter that's very quiet but somewhat like that of a curious weasel, and she'd squirm and sniff, sometimes her head and shoulders coming out of the pouch. Mia gave hugs too, grabbing hold of my fingers and not wanting to let go. Often this was accompanied by lots of glider kisses. Mia was so affectionate that when I'd share a bit of my drink or piece of apple or pear with her, she'd make sure to lick my hand as much as lap at the contents in the small bottle cap or tiny container I put it in for her. She has also licked my hands when I've given her water melon or anything else that's a bit juicy. That is just too darn cute, I haven't had an animal that took time from chowing down a treat or lapping up something to give kisses. I have heard of some gliders being so possessive with their food that they growl at anything to approach them while they're eating! That definitely wasn't Mia!

The growl, also known as 'crabbing' and the bark are the two loudest and frequently made sounds of a new glider in the home.

Crying is a distressed sound a young glider may make when moved to a new home, missing his glider family. Mia didn't do this, she just barked and growled.

Hissing is another sound they make in varying lengths and intensities. Mia's hisses tended to be a bit shorter than what's in this sound sample of another glider, and either it's a friendly, curious sound, or the stern "shh" sound that means "Don't bother me." Coupled with a grumble/crab makes it a crying sound. Hisses during cries are of the harsher kind and are done on the intake of breath while the squalk/growl is exhaled. The softer "Sssss" hisses like in this video are a communication and affection sound. They may occur with or without bark/squeaks. Sometimes if you hiss back in response, a well-bonded glider will hiss back at you again. This is really cute.

Purring consists of a series of clicks that can sometimes be heard in a very quiet room. They can be felt a little if you hold a very content glider. The clicks can be slow, if she's dozing and purring, or very quick when she is eating something she loves. The clicks sound something like Morse code at a rapid rate. Mia purred whenever she ate, groomed, or received human contact.

Chattering sounds a bit like purring, only louder and quite a bit sharper. I hadn't heard Mia do this very often, not enough to manage to record her, so this is Akina chattering and hissing. Mia usually made this sound in the presence of another glider or other animal she was curious about. It's very similar to the sounds our neighborhood squirrels make when unsure of something in their environment.

Chirping, this isn't like a song bird, it's a contented little grunt/cluck/squeak type noise that's very quiet and is an expression of extreme pleasure.

Fighting and mating sounds are similar, and rather like a combination of crabbing, crying and annoyed hissing.

Various gliders barking

Mia would bark insistently when there was upset in the house, and barked moderately when she just wanted attention.

One day in March 97, I got my wisdom teeth out and was feeling pretty rough that night. i was in my room lying down, and Mother brought me some ice packs for my face. As she was trying to help me get remotely comfortable, Mia began to bark and she just wouldn't quit until mother went over to the cage and talked to her.

A little while later, Mom went to feed her since I was feeling so lousy. But she put her arm all the way in the cage and put the food on the floor - I needed to get a new food dish at that time.

Mia jumped on her arm and ran up it, and onto her back. Mom likes gliders at a distance or when they are calm during the day, but not crawling on her thank you very much. She screamed, my ice packs went flying and I had to rescue this poor scared person from that tiny 5-inch long creature who probably couldn't figure out what was up with this human.

It is very likely Mia wanted to get to me, sensing I wasn't well.

A week later, my uncle Cory had died of cancer. :( When I got home from work, me and my parents sat around the table and cried. We stayed like that for a long time it seemed, even though Mia was barking incessantly upstairs. Only when we had regained some composure and I went up to my room did Mia quiet down.

Another time in the middle of the night, she barked, and she wouldn't quit, no matter what.

The next morning, I found out my dad's truck had been stolen! It has been recovered thank goodness.

Mia dream-barking not as crisp sounding as a bark when fully awake, and then she got spooked into growling a little when I went to wake her.

Cute stuff

Escapes

Having returned home from Sask, I hadn't put Mia back in her regular cage yet - she was still in her travel cage. I was going to clean the regular one first. Unfortunately the lid to the travel cage broke but not enough, I thought, to allow her to get out. it was a little plastic piece broke off when I accidentally bent the lid back too far. Easy to do with those things.

that night I was awakened by barking. So I let Mia know that yes I was still alive, just sleeping now and wasn't into playing at this hour.

:) She went quiet.

I Dozed off again and moments later, I was awakened by something landing right on my chest! you guessed it, it was the little furry curious lovable critter that barked at me minutes before.

I had to get up, put her food and water into the big cage and move her back in there. It would be cleaned the next day anyway.

I thought that was so cute - many animals that size such as hamsters and gerbils are more likely to get out and look for a place to hide such as in the walls. Not Mia, she headed for me. When i caught her to put her back, she walked up to my hand and gave it a few kisses before I picked her up and put her in the big cage. What a rascal!

Mia got out another time when I thought I had latched the cage securely.

I was sitting at my computer at 6 AM when I felt this thing crawling on my foot. Thinking it was just a bug, I wondered what it was doing in my room in the month of February.

Then I felt that besides the tickly feeling, there was something soft and furry, and too big for a bug rubbing against my foot! Little brat! She scampered a little when I moved my foot as well and that makes a cute noise.

Now here's another escape experience, this time involving Marcy, a well-bonded nearly four-month old joey.

Great Escape!

"Capri - Where Were You!?"

I'm sure that's what Marcy would've said if she could talk when I got back up to my room in the early morning.

The cage has four latchable doors on it, and - well, you can probably guess what happened.

I apparently forgot to latch the one I use to put her food dish in through the night before. Just that one - all the others were secure.

So I went back downstairs to work on a file and ended up crashing on the chair.

I awoke very early and went back up to my room to check on things, completely unaware of what was going on in there.

Walked into my room "Hmm, that's odd, I don't hear Marcy playing, and she should be, it's still dark enough, she shouldn't be sleeping yet." She should've been running on the wheel, playing with some toy, just climbing around on the cage wire, or eating.

Checked the cage, found one door unlatched. "Oh, no!"

Seconds later, I heard her scamper up behind me, and then she was on my back. It was almost a dive-bomb, except not from above. She didn't waste any time coming to me, that's for sure.

She stuck around me from then on, right until I could finally catch her and put her back in her cage. That wasn't easy, because although she is obviously bonded to me enough to come climb on me, she instinctively scurries away from anything coming toward her, and is exceedingly fast about it, too.

I did eventually get her little bod netted safely under my hands, and from there, I put her back in the cage, and CLOSED that door!

But my little mini-furby got moved somewhere, I need to find him. A plastic treat jar and little packet of more treats got knocked off my cabinet. but I haven't run into any messes yet, my bed appears okay.

will have to double-check to be sure the cage is shut tight from now on.

The thing is, I have no idea how long she was out. it could've been hours, it could've been only minutes. Because I slept downstairs all night. If I had been up there - I could've got her back in her cage relatively quickly because the escape would've been discovered immediately.

No worries about her running all over the house, at least, I always keep my bedroom door shut at night.

But at least I could tell for sure Marcy was well bonded to me already at this young age, the way she behaved when I did come back up here. If she hadn't been, she wouldn't have sought me out and used me as a giant jungle gym until I could finally get hold of her to put her back.

And she hadn't eaten for some time, because she fell to some serious face-stuffing when put back.

Chow Time

One day, my cousin's kids were over, and for a very special treat, they got to give Mia a little of their ice cream. Of course I don't let this happen often. I had been getting ready for work and when I came up from the basement, the kids told me that Mia had climbed out of the pouch in broad daylight, found the dish of ice cream, had her front paws gripping it, just about to dive in! They had to take it away on her. Lol! Where's a camera or camcorder when needed?

You couldn't be making or eating things that would get Mia's attention because she'd squirm in the pouch until she'd get a treat, or was removed from the environment. I could not make a vanilla capuccino with Mia around, she'd want it so badly. And one day, Mother had chicken frying, and I leaned over the pan to have a good sniff. Mmmmmm. I had put Mia off to one side so she'd be out of the way, and she was still in the pouch. But as I was enjoying the wonderful smell of frying chicken, I became aware of something moving at my left side, and a little nose nudged my hand through the pouch. Drat that possum, now I couldn't even have her about me when smelling fried chicken! Had to go get her a treat and then put her upstairs so I could at least eat in peace.

As she got older and more secure, Mia would also waste very little time climbing out of the pouch to steal my French toast. It makes a good snack at work, but Mother makes the best French toast, it's good and crusty around the edges and not soggy or overly egg tasting - probably because the eggs are beaten well, which they have to be to make it good. But it smells as great as it tastes, and unfortunately Mia never missed that, she always noticed! Lol. So she got it as a treat now and then, and the other times, I'd just have to bring along her own treats, and hope she'd settle for them.

One Pet Expo, I was having pizza, but forgot to close her pouch. Soon I felt something strange just under my hand that was holding the plate. It was small, a little wet and cold and wiggly. I had to get someone to hold the pizza plate so I could put the rascal back in her pouch and shut it! Of course I gave her a treat after sitting down so she'd be satisfied and I could eat in peace.

Once a month she'd get spoiled at the care center when my friend would take her around to visit the residents.

"I like you. I really like the icing"

Gliders seem to have a memory that lets them associate people, places, sounds and smells with good or bad things. In this case, the care center and my friend meaning lots of attention and some treats Mia didn't normally get at home.

"Cake! Yaaaaah! Gang way!"

Mia eating and purring Cute video of an owner's first 15 days with his new glider http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJy-O4YYetM&feature=related Funny barking (they called it 'chirping' but it's barking) and it's so cute it makes me laugh. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvchGSugt44&feature=related Chirping, happy sound! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hqe7op9OWzY&feature=related Purring and hissing (they call it 'soot sound') also very cute! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsKJBlWz_8w Baby sugar glider crying, and this is obviously a very young one, awww! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGdrXgMn6UA&feature=related Gliders with new owners http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxein_E2lAA&feature=PlayList&p=C67596513BB4B867&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=31 Sutton purring (sounding just like Mia) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWX6bjbPEVM Hammy eating a mealworm and loving it, some purring and CHIRPS GALORE! Hahahahaha, too darn cute! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgKwzdLp9Fg Sugar gliders "singing" to their babies. Hmmmm, well...? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvl1FvQ2Mdc&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwLZU2j1Gug&feature=related The singing and this sound are said to be contented, but Mia used to make sounds like these when she was grumbling and threatening to launch into an all out growl. One such case was during work when she kept fiddling with a hole in the lining of her pouch and I kept trying to get her to stop and go back to sleep. My employer got a kick out of it and so did the class, but I was a little embarrassed.

More Cute Stuff

taking her pouch into bed for a morning cuddle, when she'd be settling down for the day and I wasn't ready to get up. I'd stroke her a bit and she'd lick the heck out of my hands, and then I'd close the pouch so she couldn't wander off if I dozed off. Then I'd put the pouch on the pillow with my hand underneath it, right near my face and she'd roll around in there, groom herself and pur like mad. She purred a heck of a lot, even during the times I wasn't carrying her around. If I had her pouch on my bed or on the door because I'd left her there while going down to eat and forgot to pick her up again afterword and went straight to my computer instead, I could often hear Mia purring from the door or the bed, wherever I happened to leave her pouch. Of course, once that got my attention, I had to go and pick her up again, she was so contented and darn cute!

Sometimes she and I'd play this game through the pouch where she'd seek out part of my hand, usually where a finger was curling around the pouch, and she would butt it with her nose. I'd fingerbutt back, and she'd do it again.

Other times, either with my hand in the pouch or else with her and my hand in the cage, she'd get carried away with the affection and begin to nibble gently. She learned pretty quickly how hard was too hard and could be trusted not to start out rough at all. She'd begin to nibble, I'd push her mouth away playfully with a finger, she'd come back and gently put her teeth on my finger to get shoved again. Of course if she went back to licking I'd just stay put and give her a rub.

There was also the flashlight game, where you shine a flashlight, making shadows on the wall, and she tried to chase them. She loved trying to catch string, or cat grass, anything that seemed a little wormy I guess. Inside the cage, I'd move my hand to one part of the wire, she'd follow. I'd move away, and she'd find me again.

And everywhere she went, if the pouch was open, she'd sometimes peek out, and that tended to attract attention from curious and love-struck people. Mia absolutely thrived on the attention and was so calm and gentle with anyone who wanted to get a closer look or to touch her.

Glider Tantrum

the only time Mia nipped me deliberately out of anger was the night I wanted to give her food or refill the water bottle and I didn't have the travel cage handy to put her in while doing this. That meant getting her out of the cage and shutting her in the pouch for a few minutes. I got her in the pouch with no problem, but once I closed it, she crabbed and crabbed!

There was absolutely no reason for fear, she was just mad. She wanted to run around and now she couldn't.

When I got everything done in the cage, I went to open the pouch and take her out. But she greeted me with a crab and a little nip. So, I got quite firm with her at that point and just shut her in again and repeated the procedure again. Only when she was calmed down did I let her out and back into the cage.

How Socialized Can They Be?

Although Mia could be stubborn and sassy, she was amazingly calm and interactive for a creature her size, and the calmest glider ever seen by the shops where I'd take her to get her nails clipped. She never cared much for having it done but didn't freak out either. She would stay put fairly well as long as I was there to hold her and give her strokes and rubs while the staff clipped her nails. The most she'd do is yank her paw away and make it into a tiny fist. But she always got crickets after having her nails done, so, probably knews it paid to sit and be good. That has never been hard for her to do anyway as long as she got physical contact from me.

she'd even sit still during her play time in the cage when I'd reach in to check her water bottle. She'd sit and let me stroke/rub her for as long as I wanted, and of course, she'd give kisses too.

Mia was my first sugar glider pet, so it took me several months learning her communications and how to handle her. By one year, I could hold her out of the pouch, in my bare hand. By two, I could hold her like that and walk around, and allow other people to come and stroke her while out of the pouch. By three, she was starting to give licky kisses outside the pouch as well as from within it, and she had learned how to come out and try to steal food from me that same year. By four, she let me pull her out of the pouch, tail first. Just a great big tail massage to her. By six, I could take her out of her pouch by her head and shoulders. If I put her back, she'd replace her head into my palm to have it done again. Sometimes when we got the positioning just right, I could take her out of the pouch by her head and shoulders. I've done this and gently moved my hand up, down, and around, and petted her with my other hand. It looks cruel but she loved it. Otherwise she would struggle, hissing, growling and biting to get away. There have been times when I'd go to put her back after this game and she hadn't had enough. She'd try to reposition my fingers when I began putting her back in the pouch. She'd use her front feet and head to get her head and shoulders back into my grip and then just sit there waiting to be lifted out like that again.

By seven, she would sit still and give tons of kisses out of the pouch and in my hand. She also licked other people, especially little kids, causing them to squeal with laughter. She could also be carried around and gently lifted up and down in my hand like a kiddy ride. I could walk around the house with her in my hand, without having it near either the pouch or my chest.

One fall, when the bedding was being washed, the heating pad I use at this time of the year was placed on the top of Mia's cage, to be put back in my bed once it was ready again.

Mia had decided to use it in the mean time. She was discovered warming herself, belly up, right beneath the pad lying just above her on top of the cage wire! I got quite a giggle out of that!

One glider or two?

There are gliders that do better on their own because they have a good relationship with humans and don't like other gliders invading their living space. Mia was one of those.

Many glider owners keep more than one, but a single glider will thrive if she likes human contact and receives a lot of attention. Having a glider in a pouch around your neck during the day, provides her with the company and security she needs, and you with many opportunities to reach in and give her some loving.

But for the glider who doesn't gentle down and continues to refuse to interact with humans except by biting or fleeing, that glider may have some problems and just isn't cut out to be a human friendly pet. If a glider friend can be found for her, and they get along, in that case, two is better. But as a rule, gliders when gotten young, should learn to trust and like their owners, so will thrive as a single pet.

It's the popular opinion of animal welfarists and some breeders that two is better than one, and it works out better for whoever is selling you a glider, if they can sell you two instead of one, though sometimes they will sell you a second glider at quite a reduced price. I have seen a few people who absolutely won't sell single gliders and would rather sell one and give you a cage mate for free because that's how strong they believe in the two is better than one theory. It isn't easy getting a single glider these days, because so many people are only selling pairs, or they won't sell to you unless you promise you will get him a glider cagemate.

Gliders are not cheap to purchase, running anywhere from $100/$2500 Canadian, the more expensive being the leucistic or other exotic colored gliders. Leucistic is a pure white glider with black eyes, so, not an albino. This means if you buy a cage that's over $100, a pair of gliders will be an additional $300 minimum in most cases. If you initially buy one, and decide you'd like another one, you'll have to get another cage, so, another $100/400, cages don't come cheap either. So, the fact of the matter is, unless a pair is specifically sold together because they are already bonded, you will have additional costs for introduction cages over and above the double expense it is just to get the two animals. If you can't afford two gliders but one won't break your budget, no one should make you feel you shouldn't go ahead and get that single joey.

If you want a pair but don't want to breed, get two same sex litter mates if possible, or two young unrelated animals of the same sex, and introduce them slowly. Or else have the breeder introduce them before selling them to you. This is assuming you just want pets and not breeders. I never recommend a first time pet owner start with keeping breeding animals. That brings on a whole set of responsibilities and possible complications you might not be ready for as strictly a pet owner.

Too many people are so quick to assume that gliders need other gliders because they are social animals - like humans. No other animal should be compared with a human in order to dictate who keeps what where. Animals are animals and humans are humans, and it isn't right or safe to blurr the line. Gliders live in troops in the wild, yes. But if a troop encounters another troop, the war is on. Thank goodness that is not the case with human strangers that cross paths.

Another thing to consider is that while animals give us a kind of love that we often just can't seem to find in the human race, so do we benefit our pets. They don't have to get all defensive whenever a new human enters our house or even touches them. They don't have to show submission in order to avoid a confrontation with new humans, as they might with a strange member of their own species. There are no hierarchy struggles, no dominant/subordinate role and no competition. A glider is a glider, a human is a human, and both are happy to live together and let live without those problems.

I've seen the "What if you were kept alone all your life?" mush too many times and it is animal welfare/rights rhetoric designed to tug at our emotions and control what pets we own. It simply doesn't wash.

In the first place, a glider with a human owner is not alone unless the human doesn't pay attention to her. In Mia's case, she was always with me all day, to be put back in her cage, her own space to play, eat, do what she needed to on her own while I'd get some sleep. If she'd bark for me at night, I was always there anyway, my bed right next to her cage.

But more to the point, if we were raised as single humans among another species, we would be happy as long as we were not being mistreated, we were getting enough food, shelter, things to keep us occupied, and we would thrive in the affection of that other species. We wouldn't miss humans because we wouldn't know any different.

However, yanking us away from our current world, family, friends, etc. as we are used to them now, and forcing us to live in isolation is a totally different thing and cannot be compared with raising a single glider from babyhood.

Suffice it to say that gliders are not tiny little people in fur coats, and what they don't know, they won't miss.

For those who think it's cruel to separate a weaned baby from its parent, every ofspring separates from its parents eventually, and in the case of gliders, the mothers have been known to mutilate or fight with their older female joeys once weaned...especially if the mother has new joeys coming or newly in the pouch. Males may not tolerate their male ofspring around after a while either. And in the wild, gliders will change troops, leaving the troop of their parents to join new ones. Sometimes they leave on their own, sometimes they are kicked out, not all leave the parent troop, but some do. Separation is all a part of the scheme of things in the animal world. It is designed to keep down inbreeding, which would weaken the species.

Also, one cannot just throw two gliders together and hope they'll get along. It isn't safe to do that with any animal, and if it's a great one-on-one bond with your pet you are looking for, you'll have a better chance of it with a single glider. Sure, two might like you and whatever treats you give them, but they'll likely bond with each other more than to you, and/or they might be jealous and compete with one another for your attention. Dogs, rabbits and even chinchillas have been known to do that.

Another concern I would always have is what if the mate dies? Getting a replacement might work out, but chances are good it wouldn't. So no, two is not always better than one.

So, if you have two and you want to help them be a little less traumatized if their glider mate does die, how do you go about doing that?

I don't have any definitive answers for you, only an idea.

how about carrying them in separate pouches by day and letting them back together in their cage by night? At least if you can't prevent the trauma of losing a cage mate, you might be able to prevent it where day cuddle time goes.

If you want gliders just to look at and aren't the hands on type, or circumstances are preventing you giving the glider the one-on-one he needs, then by all means, get him a glider friend if you can afford it and are prepared for the possibility of them not getting along in the end. but always consider this decision carefully so you won't end up with two separately kept gliders that you have to divide your attention with, or unexpected babies that'll need new homes. It isn't always easy to find homes even for more common animals right when they are ready for them. Sugar gliders are well known among exotic pet enthusiasts, but the general pet owning population consists of people who, for the most part have never even heard of these creatures.

Unfortunately, some people staunchly believe that gliders should never be kept singly, claiming they won't thrive or survive.

This erroneous school of thought may have already resulted in too many cases of unplanned breedings and unwanted babies, or people having to give up their gliders, unwilling to separate them, but not wanting the responsibility of more babies, all because they were told that when getting a glider, keeping a pair = okay, keeping a single glider = cruel and selfish.

One is entertaining to watch playing in its cage, so two playing together would have to be cute out of this world! But it's not what I'd recommend for a first time owner who needs to get to know their pet and what generally to expect from owning a pet sugar glider. Each one is different, with different preferences and needs. If your glider is kept singly and she looks and acts healthy and happy, she is, and a well bonded glider is very easily kept happy.

So, don't ever let anyone pressure you into getting two as opposed to a single glider, or make you feel bad for having just one, because Mia has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that a single glider who receives a lot of attention from her human, does indeed thrive. And yes, hanging out in the pouch, being carried around and coddled by a human during the day definitely counts as attention. Contrary to what some people claim, a well bonded pet glider will thrive on attention, given at any time, not just being left alone during the day and let out loose in a room at night for a couple of hours. Go ahead and snuggle your glider through, in, or out of her pouch during the day. You won't be depriving her of sleep or disrupting her sleep schedule. It's not like her sleep patterns never change anyway, and, there is nothing sweeter than a glider falling asleep in your hand. When all is said and done, it is no one's business how few or how many pets you keep. If you want a glider and someone insists gliders be sold in pairs or tries to make you promose you'll get the glider a cage mate, and you can't afford or just don't want two of them, just drop any dealings with that seller and move on to find one with a more tolerant and open mind.

What about play time, can gliders be let loose in the house?

Many people let their gliders loose in a room of their house, but under close supervision and probably for about one or two hours at a time.

This is not mandatory if she has toys and room in her cage to play, and you to play with her at night, (not all night) and hold her during the day. I don't recommend letting your sugar glider loose in the house at all until you and she have bonded. A glider who loves and trusts you is much easier to catch and put back in the cage than one that isn't so familiar with you. She'll even come to you for attention or a treat, or when she's ready to be put back. However, if you're going to let her loose in the house, be prepared to clean up crap and pee spots, gliders do go frequently when playing and are not mindful of where they go.

On the Job

Mia has always been a good pet to take around care centers and places where people can't get out on their own. She became a real little star at the care center I volunteer my time as a musician at, as well as at the bank, the hair stylist's, the Back to Nature store, some pet shops, as well as my work. She has even helped out on the job, by cheering upset children. It has happened several times now, where a child didn't want to participate in ballet class or else just got frustrated. But a little time taken to see Mia, and they usually forgot what they were crying about, so class could go ahead a little sooner and run smoothly.

Mia was also a good motivator for children not on their best behavior. A reminder that bad behavior meant no visiting Mia after class, and the children would stop fooling around and do what they should.

Mia was so good with people in general, and cooperative with getting her nails done because of getting so much one-on-one contact, and since she was so used to getting her feet, tail, even the gliding membranes on either side of her body examined, caressed, played with, itwas very little or no problem having her nails done and having others touch and look at her.

As the years went by, Mia became sweeter in character, not mean or aggressive. Sugar gliders are born and bred in captivity as opposed to being wild caught in the past. It takes some patience and perseverance to raise a sugar glider, but the result can be amazing and very rewarding.

Mia died on Dec. 29th 2006. She was so loved and will be greatly missed by so many people, most of all by me, and she'll continue to be talked about for years to come. She brought so much happiness to not just me but a lot of other people who were also lucky enough to see such an unusual pet up close and personal, one that thrived on all the contact and attention she got.

One extensive online resource for exotic pet info and products of all kinds: http://exoticpets.about.com/ Another way to find information on exotic pets is to go to: http://www.google.com/ and type in "exotic pet" or even "small pets" "pocket pets" "small mammals" anything like that will bring up so many sites on different kinds of animals you probably didn't know were kept as pets anywhere.

Are there exotic pet communities online?

There used to be, but so many have disbanded completely or been invaded so in tensely by animal welfare/rights.

There is one North american flying squirrel association, the NFSA National Flying Squirrel Association but it appears to be US only and mostly inactive.

Unfortunately the NFSA site seems to be managed by an animal welfare zealot as this malicious post slandering Helen's Little Critters as a "mill" shows.

Glider and so many other exotic pet communities have gone away and broken up too, because of this animal rights zealotry.

The International sugar Glider Association no longer exists. Then came GSGC, Galactic Sugar Glider Confederation, also defunct or just dormant.

As far as I know, Glider Central is still around.

There's also sugarglidercentral.com, Sugarglider.com and even a topic there on GG VS. GC.

Here's just one example among millions of this kind of abusive garbage on so many forums. You run the risk of getting bullied and ganged up on, all in the name of "caring for the animals". On that discussion, someone didn't spell out absolutely everything in their glider's diet, but mentioned feeding fruit and veg. The zealots flew off the handle and knee jerkily assumed fruit and veg had to be all this person was feeding. After some rotten condescending posts telling this person to feed a protein source besides, and vitamins, the poster rightly felt cornered and reacted. Then all the excusing of the bad behaviour from jumping to the wrong conclusions "I/he/he was only saying these things because WE CARE for your little babies!" Oh, gag me! That implies the bashers on the forum believed themselves to be so high and mighty that they actually cared more for this owner's pet than the owner did!

A similar thing happened to me on a message board ages ago when I had Mia's picture taken in a plastic aquarium travel cage. Her wire cage was up in a room where it was dark, I didn't move it down to get her picture because the wire might get in the way of a good picture.

Posted it to a message board, and the animal welfare zealots went bonkers, telling me to keep her in a wire cage because gliders need to climb etc etc blah blah. They didn't have the will or the brains to think that this was just a picture and just maybe it was possible Mia had been put in some containment very briefly for a camera shot! DUH!

When shopping around, you may want to steer clear of Craigslist and Petfinder, which are crawling with "pet rescue", back-biting, discrimination against pet owners and especially breeders, basically all kinds of deceptive and malicious animal rights/welfarist garbage such as this. Beware of anyone who badmouths an owner or breeder or pet supply store. People who do this are bad news and you don't want to end up being victimized by them as well.

As to the Perfect Pocket Pets controversy, no genuine vets would call themselves Sugar Bear vets. They'd be honest about the name of whatever animal species they specialized in. and, on the flip side and no less important, no one on the up and up and well informed would ever consider anything coming from PEta as a reliable source of info for what goes on concerning animals anywhere. But far too many people just blindly believe anyone who yells "Animal mill!" Such is the case on page two of this discussion about the sugar bear people. Never mind the fact that Peta wants all pet ownership to stop, too many people knee-jerk to jump on their bandwagon whenever they push the right emotional buttons, deceptively I might add.

It is almost impossible to find a pet site without that kind of stuff! So I apologize in advance for any of that you will no doubt run into when checking out some of the resource links, especially where there are web forum discussions.

It shows up in ads too. here's just one example.

Ad: for sale. They are awesome Sugar Gliders.

Capri: everybody thinks their sugar gliders are awesome, and tons of glider enthusiasts say with religious fervour that any glider is awesome no matter how ill-tempered or skittish it might be. Just being a glider is enough to be considered awesome… Or supremely victimized if no one is able or wants to give it a home.

So truly, what's awesome about these two?

Ad: If you have any questions please ask.

Capri: The ages were given, but that was it, nothing about disposition, and though the invitation to ask question makes the person sound friendly and approachable, that's where it stops, and animal welfare "screening" fanaticism takes over.

Ad: I am looking for the perfect home for these two as they are a part of my family.

Capri: The "perfect home" there is no such thing, and anyone inquiring about their gliders are bound to fall short.

"part of my family" well, fine, they are family pets… Not your children for gosh sake! I get it, you care about them, we all care about our pets, people are not "irresponsible" and "uncaring" by default as animal welfare types are always itching to make out.

Ad: Along with your questions please tell me a bit about yourself, what other animals you have, children, schedule, what diet you will feed, what you will put them in. Thankyou

Capri: What the freakin' - !?

"asking questions: about everything under the sun - well, look, dude/lady, they want to buy a couple of gliders, not sign their life away! It's none of your business what other pets they have, how many and if they even have children, what they'll put their gliders in (naturally it's going to be a cage of some sort, maybe a travel cage until they can get a bigger one, that's sometimes how owning a pet starts out. Anybody with sense is going to know better than try to get their gliders to cozy up to their other pets, especially if those pets are dogs, cats, and large birds, and especially reptiles or ferrets. Only an idiot would think a ferret or snake wouldn't treat a glider as prey! What food, - oh, please, give the potential buyers some credit! If they don't know what to feed, they will ask you or do research on their own and decide from there - and, it is up to them, not you, what diet their gliders will get.

If you're going to be so controlling, then you might as well just keep your animals and forget about selling them. I wouldn't buy from you even if you had a single glider for sale, and even then, you're probably one of those who would insist I go out and buy a mate for it because it would be "selfish" to keep a single glider. and yes, I have seen ads written in those exact words.

some other ad had a glider whose mate had died, so now this person was selling to another person with another glider to keep the lone female company, because she felt it was selfish to keep her as a single glider!

Well, who's to say this glider would even get along with a new mate? If they end up not getting along, the new owner is stuck with two single gliders and an extra cage they had to go out and buy for the second one.

If you want to get a glider, the seller should not be condescending, a know-it-all, and demanding. if you really want to consider getting any animal you've never had experience with, naturally you are going to do your research without being told. And yes, "Please research as these animals need " this and is so often said. No one wants to be talked down to like that, as if they didn't have a fully functioning brain in their head.

Here is an example of a good ad.

Ad: One male and one female both standard grey

Joeys ready for new homes next weekend

For more information about these pets please see

*url deleted*

Well said. Instead of the offish "Do your research because blah blah blah." This person provided a source of information to help out anyone who might be interested. That is all that's needed, and of course if the glider(s) being advertised have good dispositions, that is another thing to look for in an ad when you are searching for gliders as pets.

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