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This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
Greetings Glider Groupies, Glider Newbies and Glider Wanna-bes! Welcome to the January 2011 edition of the GliderVet News.
We hope everyone had a safe and fun hollydaze season! We sure
So much so, weíre letting you write the bulk of this monthís
newsletter. That is what itís all about right? Community
helping community and this is just one more way we bring the real
spirit of the season into this new year.
Before we glide in, are you in the market for a brand new large cage, perhaps
at a large discount? I wanted to let newsletter subscribers know about a
couple of large hexagonal cages we just put up on eBay. We normally sell
these for $363 but the reserve is $150:
Large Hex Cage - Camel Color
Large Hex Cage - Light Gray
We don't sell these colors anymore (most people want Charcoal)
and want to get them out of our way. Our loss, (maybe) your gain!
Our first article this month will be ďhard evidenceĒ provided by one
of our subscribers regarding the dangers of inbreeding.
We also received a letter last month asking us to revisit the issue of
humidity in the glider environment.
And another of you says we did a good job on the sugar
glider lifestyle article,
but fell a little short, so by all means, we appreciate the opportunity
to correct the omission.
Thanks to all of you who sent in great emails last month. While
we canít always address them all in the newsletter, we do send
individual responses to all comments and inquiries.
Have a Happy 2011!
Please remember that this newsletter is intended to express the wishes
of the whole sugar glider community.
Every article published in this newsletter is a result of someone just
like you taking the time to write us with thoughts, ideas, stories and
Send your comments to us here.
If you ever want to find earlier issues of GliderVet News, you can access our
archives here. Fun pics of sugar gliders
sent in by our customers are found here.
If you are looking for sugar glider tested and approved products, check out our
ever expanding store here.
Are you new to sugar gliders or just in the early stages of trying to decide
if one is right for you? Questions you can ask yourself to help make this
very important and long term decision are here.
A very confusing area for those considering glider ownership (and for
some current owners too!) is diet. See what our vet has to say here.
And if you decide that a sugar glider (or two!) would become future members of
your household, then you might want to check out Arnold's great deals on starter kits,
with or without cages.
Consequences of Inbreeding
Thank you for the great article on
If anyone wants to see the results of inbreeding they need look no
farther than my little Luna. Luna and her three cage mates were part of
a group of 19 sugar gliders that were abandoned in a rental property
last year. We kept four of the gliders and adopted out the others in
groups of four or more (except for two who were adopted out to be
companions of two other gliders).
Anyway, little Luna and several of her siblings were born without eyes (picture).
It is our suspicion that the original keepers had purchased a single
male and female and then just let them go crazy. Amazingly, although
the gliders were in a filthy, tiny cage, no one had MBD (metabolic bone
disease aka hind leg paralysis), but several were half blind,
completely blind, or, like Luna, basically eyeless.
First I want to thank you and sharing Lunaís story and picture. A
picture says many more words than I can and we can discuss this over
and over and a lot of people still miss the point. I think sharing
Lunaís picture will have a great impact on better husbandry and she
will be known a great teacher to us silly humans.
I hear often from people whoíve ďaccidentallyĒ inbred, often the
result of getting gliders that were already impregnated and then
questioning after the fact who the father is.
This is why itís important to question your sugar glider supplier about
their method of preventing inbreeding.
Now granted we have to take part of this on faith, but I also urge
people to trust their gut instinct. If you are getting mostly sales
pitch and not getting a sincere sense of responsibility to the animals,
then simply donít buy your gliders from that source.
Youíve also given me a great opportunity to discuss the flip side of
this coin. What I mean by that is too many people need to be able to
ďseeĒ the effects of inbreeding. Just as easily as inbreeding can
affect a visible defect that is obvious in Luna and her relatives, just
as easily the results of inbreeding can manifest a not so visible
In other words, the problem may not show up on the outside of the
glider. There could be organ damage, or a higher risk for disease like
cancer, stroke, heart attack or any internal condition affected by
defective organs. Just because an animal looks healthy, doesnít always
mean it is healthy. Inbreeding does not support the long term optimal
health of these animals.
I hope the community embraces Lunaís story and sees her example as
just one way inbreeding can be detrimental to health. By the way, I
think she is just beautiful and she is blessed to have you as her
human, as another person may have just put her down because she canít
Animals are way more resilient than we are. They tend to adapt to
deformities easier than humans. But this is not a reason or excuse to
inbreed. This is simply a statement to Lunaís good fortune to have an
accommodating family that cares for her and loves her in spite of her
Thank you again for this picture . Iíve never seen such solid
evidence of the harms of inbreeding and your story will make a
Is my Lifestyle Suitable for Owning Sugar Gliders? Part 2
Thank you for the informative newsletters - they've been a big help for me in caring for my two gliders.
There was something, though, that I thought should have been added to the Lifestyle for Owning Gliders
article. You failed to mention the fact that gliders are vocal. Highly vocal.
In the wee hours of the morning.
Their barking - and barking as loud as a Yorkie or other small dog -
was a major point of contention between me and my spouse.
Even with the gliders in a separate bedroom behind a closed door, they
would still wake us up at 3AM, 4AM, and 5AM.
I personally wouldn't recommend gliders if they are going to be
living in the bedroom, or if the doors and/or walls are thin.
I've lived in some apartments where the walls were thin enough that the
neighbors wouldn't have been amused with gliders next door.
You bring up a very valid point. Weíve discussed barking in the past and you can
read about it here. They are nocturnal and that can be a lifestyle plus or minus.
Not all sugar gliders are huge barkers and some, well they just canít seem to shut up at night.
People have tried things like night lights in the room. Iíve not
tried this personally, but I live in an old solid built home with all
wood floors, ceilings, and walls. Wood absorbs sound. I did keep
gliders in my bedroom at one point, but I suppose I was a sounder
sleeper then. As I get older, I find that I donít sleep quite as well
and the gliders in the bedroom can become an annoyance.
Barking is one thing, and jumping in a large cage can make rather
loud thuds, the sounds of toys and wheels a spinning can all make
sounds that can be sleep disruptive.
Most people find that keeping them in a separate bedroom is all that
you need to do to keep them from waking the family. I donít think Iíve
ever lived anywhere with paper thin walls. Iím going to go out on a
limb here a bit, as a good sugar glider would do, and say that Iíve met
people who snore a lot louder than gliders bark, so if that adds any
perspective to the degree of sound then Iíve made my point.
Thanks for bringing this up. We do try our best to cover topics
thoroughly and at times we just donít anticipate all that may be on the
communities mind. And this is a community publication, so your thoughts
Humidity in the Glider Environment
My daughter Lauren and I purchased a pair of gliders from you some
They are doing really well and are much loved. Thanks for your
continuing help, through the advice on your site, in keeping "the
I feel that there's an area of glider care, however, that you need
to alert our fellow "providers" to - that is ... air humidity.
Where you and Arnold live, in sunny, warm Florida, it's easy to
forget that many gliders live at latitudes that experience non-warm
conditions for much of the year.
We northerners refer to this season as "winter". You may have
heard of it.
Up here, it gets so cold that the air is unable to hold much
moisture. Our skin dries out, necessitating the use of skin
creams and lotions to prevent "cracking" (don't ask - just think
any "before" picture in an ad for hand cream ).
And going indoors provides no relief: Believe it or not, we actually
have to heat our homes ( the places where we keep our glider
We use a couple of methods: either we blow air through huge flames ( a
furnace, it's called ) and then distribute it to the rooms of our
homes, or we have electric heaters in each room that accomplish the
The result is that we stay warm, and can pretend that we're in
Florida. Unfortunately, this "air conditioning" removes just
about all of the moisture from the air - so much, in fact, that we have
to add it back in by using humidifiers, devices usually found on our
furnaces. Otherwise the dry air causes problems with our skin layer -
sinuses, throats and airways, including our lungs.
Dry air causes nose bleeds and makes us more susceptible to colds and
flu - any bacteria or toxins that are airborne.
Which brings me to the reason for this letter. Our beautiful
little friends share the same winter air with us, and likewise need
lots of moisture.
But we find it necessary to use an electric heater in their cage room
to boost the temperature to what they like - high 70s.
So, their air is at risk for dryness from three factors ...
1. It's winter
2. Our furnace dries the air in the house and
3. We use of an electric heater in their room
Recognizing this, for the last several winters, I've been
"conditioning" the air in their room through the use of a simple "wick"
That is, I fold up a fairly large towel, put it on top of their cage,
and pour warm water onto it - about 3/4 of a quart every 24
I replenish the dampness when I change the papers in the cage
bottom. Invariably, the towel is dry after 24 hours.
It scares me to think about what would happen to the health of our
"girls" if they were left to breathe un-humidified air.
And so, I thought I'd better share my experience with you and
thereby hopefully with many other loving and conscientious
Love your site!
From the Great White North
Brian and Lauren
Dear Brian and Lauren,
What can I say? This is an awesome email. Winter? You make it
sound so brutal. I guess we are naÔve in sunny Florida. We define winter as having to wear long pants.
Youíve pretty much said it all, but I am compelled to make one
comment. Iím a little concerned about using a terry cloth towel
for the wick.
OK, a brief aside, I guess I have two comments. I guess you need
the wick because your brand of winter sounds so wicked...
Back to my original thought, is there another type of fabric you can
use for this
wick? Gliders can get nails caught in terry cloth and it pulls
out stringy which could create a whole new hazard outside of dry
Or can you put some sort of barrier between the sugar gliders and their
Now I can only guess at this because as you so eloquently pointed out,
us Floridians are a little bit uninformed about winter.
We recommend fleece as a fabric to use in/near the glider environment,
but hereís the guessing part.
I donít think fleece will hold the moisture as long as a terry cloth
Microfiber cloths may be worth experimenting with, but that may be
too similar to fleece and require more wet downs.
I think a barrier, even if made of cardboard might accomplish the much
needed moisture as well as keep the gliders out of harmís way from
close contact with terry cloth.
We have discussed this topic in the past and have heard several
cases of sugar gliders ears basically cracking off.
The ears are rather thin and will crack and literally fall off if the
humidity is not present.
So while we donít have this particular problem ourselves, we agree that
humidifying the air is critical.
They are tropical rainforest animals and not intended by Nature to live
in dry environments.
Desert dwellers would be better suited. We also donít recommend
that you put lotion on the gliders, but fully concur with Brian and
that the best way to achieve the right environment is by running
Fact is, we have had a couple of cold winters (granted they only
last a few days) and I do use electric space heaters.
I also put pans of water out because the electric heaters make a
We use high/low thermometers in our glider areas that measure humidity
I got mine from Radio Shack. Just for giggles I measure the
humidity in my glider rooms as compared to my home and because of
different heating systems, their air can get dryer than my air and my
sinuses nose (I mean knows) when things get too dry for my
As small animals with smaller sinuses and smaller lungs, it is a
critical factor to be mindful of the humidity.
Thanks guys for such an informative and fun email!
And thanks to all three above for creating this monthís newsletter
great questions. We love our community and meeting like minded
people who care so much for the well being of sugar gliders.
'Til next time - in good health for you and your gliders, we sign
off in appreciation of all of you who share great glider adventures
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Your resource for safety first, expert
advice on our sugar glider friends!
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That's it for this month's GliderVet Newsletter. I hope you liked what
we had to offer! If you have any stories, questions, pictures, suggestions
for topics - anything glider - you would like to share or see covered in the
GliderVet newsletter, please send them here.
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SunCoast Sugar Gliders
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