To view past issues or subscribe to this newsletter, click here.
Or, check out the index by topic of sugar glider newsletters.
---->=< ---->=< ---->=<
Your resource for safety first, expert
advice on our sugar glider friends!
>=<---- >=<---- >=<----
This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
- Anatole France
Greetings Glider Groupies, Glider Newbies and Glider Wanna-bes! Welcome to the
September 2011 edition of the GliderVet News.
As you probably know by now, a lot of the content in these newsletters is
driven by the conversations we have had with glider owners in the past
month. Lately, it seems some of "the basics" are being lost in
the shuffle - like the importance of human emotion in bonding with gliders, and
the "facts of life" when you put a male and female glider together,
including how to handle the result.
Oh, and some advice on how to get bit if you really want to!
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.
Calm People Bond Faster
I am very blessed to live in daily life surrounded by the unconditional love of animals.
As of the writing of this newsletter, I share my home with an abundant number of sugar gliders as well as two lovely dogs. I've
had many traditional pets including cats, birds, fish, and turtles.
Many of us who have found ourselves venturing into the world of exotics
like sugar gliders have had experience with other types of pets.
I will start here as most people have at least some familiarity with
the Bowser's and the Princess’s of the world.
I am sure that you have had a personal experience or vicarious
experience through friends or family
where the Kitty Cat hides under the bed when an overly rambunctious or
group of high-energy children enter the sacred domain of Kitty Meow’s
There are an unlimited number of examples that I could cite to drive
this concept forward.
Can you think of any time that your dog behaves differently when
someone is angry, upset, exuberantly happy, or exceedingly sad?
I personally find it very interesting to observe how my dogs react
differently to different human personalities and moods.
I might suggest that you tune in and really notice how your different
pets react to different people who may visit your home.
Sugar gliders are also extremely sensitive to the moods and attitudes that we bring to our interaction with them.
Let's get into some specifics of the type of situations that can affect our moods, thus
glider's ability to bond in the most efficient and effective way possible.
I find that many new owners are so, so excited about bringing home
their new family members that they can hardly contain that contagious
feeling of utter excitement.
I will be the first to agree that bringing home new fuzzy friends is a
wonderful, exhilarating feeling.
But here's a word of caution: try to control your excitement.
Behaving in an overly excited way around sugar gliders during the
initial bonding stages may not serve you well.
Most of my new customers are from out of state. About 10% of my
customers are local or local enough that we get to meet in person when
they pick up their new sugar gliders.
Those that are just so excited that they can barely contain themselves
are subjected to my
suggestion that we sit and do some relaxing breathing exercises before
I bring their new sugar gliders in for the introduction.
The calmer we are, the calmer the baby sugar gliders will be.
Many people work regular 9 to 5 jobs. Those of you who have
commutes and find yourself in a giant traffic jam, amidst a large
storm, finding that it takes exceedingly longer to get home that day
may find yourself in a less than optimal mood.
You're tired, subjected to road rage, hungry and just ready to
relax. Does this sound familiar to any of you?
I’ve spoken to many people who have made a possibly unfortunate
commitment - the first thing they are going to do when they get home is
spend time with their sugar gliders.
These folks want to bond, especially if daylight hours are
limited. I will suggest to you, if this is your daily routine,
beware of the possible downside and take a few minutes to compose
first. Bring yourself to a state of mind more conducive to a
better bonding moment.
The calmer we are, the calmer our sugar gliders will be.
I've met several people over the years who had sugar gliders and
sadly experienced tragedy often at the paws or mouth of another fuzzy
Knowing how important it is that sugar gliders have their own sugar
glider companions, these glider keepers will often seek out a new sugar
glider to keep their surviving glider company.
Unfortunately, many of these folks are still experiencing the grief and
guilt of not suitably protecting the dearly demised.
If this is an experience that you had the misfortune of going
through, my advice to you is to know that you've done the best you can
do. Sometimes accidents just happen.
Even with the very best intentions and our very best efforts, stuff
You are doing no good service to yourself and especially to your new
family member by carrying around deeply sad feelings.
The calmer we are, and the better we are feeling in the moment, the
more effective we will be in bonding with our newest family member.
I find the energy of children to be delightful and fun. When I
have the opportunity to experience childlike energy, wonder, and
excitement I enjoy myself immensely.
Keep in mind, however, that this hugely energetic state may not promote
the quickest and most efficient bonding opportunity for your
My suggestion is that you are mindful not only of your present mood and
mind, but you are also mindful of your children's state of mind when it
is their turn to be involved with your sugar
gliders, and calm them as needed.
I've always felt that there are three distinct events that affect
how well new sugar gliders will bond.
The first event starts with the nature of the organization through whom
you procured your fuzzies.
There are good breeders, bad breeders, good pet stores, not so good pet
stores, brokers, and all sorts of options that you should
while understanding the breeding experience will make a difference in
the quality of bonding.
This is a decision you have control of.
The second event has to do with the individual personalities of the
sugar gliders themselves.
This we really have little if any control over. I will say I never met
a sugar glider that
with gentle love and patience will not become a great future
friend. Of course, this is all relative to the age and background
of the sugar glider.
The third event is completely under our own control. The moral
of the story is the calmer and more
relaxed / patient you are with the process, the quicker you will be
It is ironic that those people who are naturally patient by nature tend
to bond quicker than those who simply can't wait for the bonding to be
So practice staying cool, calm and collected. It will not only
serve you well in your relationships with your animals, but your boss
might even notice and reward you with a
Asking to Get Bit
Speaking of keeping calm during bonding, trust works both ways.
I'm going to let you guys in on little secret. I tend not to
be bothered too much by stuff going on around me, but I do have a pet
peeve. It's one of those feelings that I find somewhat annoying, silly,
and comical in a weird kind of way all at the same time.
I tend to be attracted to places and events where there are animals. Okay, that was a duh comment.
Really, Lisa, who would have known? My peeve often happens in these places
What I am talking about is when someone walks up to an animal in a
cage and feels fully compelled and justified to stick their fingers
inside of the cage wires and then become totally shocked and horrified
when they get bit.
I don't know about you, but if someone were to stick their index finger
in my face I may even be inclined to bite.
I will admit I'm tempted myself if I find an unwelcome finger in my
Think about it from the perspective of the cage "owner", the one
whose living space the finger is invading - sticking your finger into the
cage of an animal who does not know you is a pretty aggressive act. This
behavior especially cracks me up when “the finger” looks away from the cage and asks the nearest stander-by, does it bite?
Well darlin', fact is anything with a mouth can bite.
So next time you're somewhere and see someone giving the index
finger to some poor unsuspecting animal, please give them a gentle
suggestion that anything with a
mouth can bite. This includes friends, relatives, family members,
can't wait to see your new sugar glider. Together we can change
the world - let's start by discouraging biting one person and one
critter at a
Opposite Sex Pairs WILL Have Joeys
Here is a question we get asked a lot and it's a very legitimate question -
if I get a Male & Female pair, what's the likelihood they will have
joeys? Answer: Very good, almost a certainty!
As sugar gliders are still relatively new as pets, we've found that
many new glider owners have had experience with all kinds of other
animals in the past.
Some people have bred dogs or cats, or perhaps horses or reptiles, and
many of them have bred birds.
While I don't know a great deal about breeding animals other than
I have learned over the years that many birds must bond with each
other before they will breed.
Some birds can be paired with an opposite sex bird for years and never
This is not the case with sugar gliders. If you have a male
and a female together in the same cage, you can pretty much count on
them having babies at some point in time.
Sugar gliders are colony animals in the wild and will live with
many. They do not "pair" off and mate for life.
In captivity, we have seen that gliders kept in pairs will develop
extremely strong bonds and can experience depression or other issues
when a mate is lost.
Some are easily accepting of new mates, while others seem to pine for a
beloved lost companion.
With good introduction procedures, however, even the ones who were "in love" will eventually accept a new mate and continue life happily.
If an opposite sex pair of sugar gliders does not reproduce, then
there may be a medical condition in either one of the gliders making
Or they may be actually breeding and due to stress, or poor diet, or
some other condition may lose their babies when they are still in the
embryonic stage or in the pouch.
We have found when gliders have too little protein in the diet they
will on occasion cannibalize their own young.
While cannibalization is not a common occurrence with sugar gliders, it
Too much stress can also contribute to this very undesirable behavior.
OK, now that we know if you get a male and female that they are
likely to have babies, let's discuss what you can expect in numbers.
Sugar gliders will generally have one or two babies at a time.
And they will breed generally two times a year. Sometimes we have
gliders that will breed three times a year.
It is possible for sugar gliders to have three babies at once, but this
At SunCoast we have seen triplets 9 times since 1999.
On average up until 4 years of age, gliders tend to have 2 joeys at
a time two to three times per year (at least they do at Suncoast on our
From 4 - 6 years, some pairs will begin to produce only 1 joey twice a
year, or have 2 joeys at a time but breed less frequently.
After 6 years of age, more pairs begin to slow down either the number
they have at a time or the birth frequency, though some
"over-achievers" will continue to have 2 joeys
twice a year for several more years. That's potentially a lot of
If you have male and female sugar gliders co-habitating and decide
you do not want them to have joeys, or any more joeys, then consider
male glider neutered. Spaying is not presently a good option for
females, but male neutering can be done quickly, safely and effectively.
We are only aware of one documented case where a sugar glider female
had four same age offspring.
It is not possible for sugar gliders to have more than four babies as
they only have four teats and babies "stay attached".
It's similar to how an umbilical cord works with placental
mammals. In other words, there is a continual attachment direct
to the mother for a significant period of time.
Detachment generally leads to demise of the joey. Frankly, we
would prefer to see only one or two as we believe that having so many
babies will ultimately take a toll on the female's body.
So what happens now? Your sugar gliders have bred and the
presence of babies becomes obvious when you see what looks like a
"peanut" under the skin of the female's abdomen.
Or you may see "two peanuts" indicating that she is carrying two
joeys. The babies are in the pouch for quite a long time so
remember the adage "a watched pot never boils."
The females belly area will keep expanding, and getting larger, and
getting bigger and you
will think you "just know" you will have babies out of the pouch
Well, it may still take another month! First time human sugar
parents are always anxious when joeys are in the pouch.
You will see the emergence of the babies over a few days. You
might see a tail sticking out of the pouch, or perhaps a limb.
And it still may take another three days before the baby fully
emerges. You might check on your new glider parents and see a
tiny pink baby or two and check the next day and not see them any
Guess what? They will sometimes get fully back in the pouch!
Do not start holding the babies immediately. When they first
emerge they are just barely furred and the eyes are still closed.
A good rule of thumb is to hold the babies after eyes are opened, on
the condition it does not upset either the Mommy or Daddy Glider.
This is not a time to be causing stress in the environment. We
know its hard to be patient, but its so important that you let nature
take its course.
If the parent gliders are OK with you holding the baby, start off
with just brief periods of holding initially and we advise that you
stay in plain view of the parents.
Some will get quite upset if you leave the viewing area. You
might start off with just five-minute spans of baby holding time.
If you see any signs of either parent fretting, return the baby to the
It's not worth taking any chances - you've come this far already.
As the joey or joeys get older, you can hold them for longer periods
of time, but remember that babies need to feed often, so don't stretch
that time out too long.
At some point you may notice that the female leaves her babies behind
and she will take some time for herself to stretch the legs or get a
Generally during this time the male will stay behind and baby
sit. Male sugar gliders make very good fathers and it is not
advisable to remove the male from the cage while babies are
He will give a lot of relief to the female and help care for the babies
by keeping them warm and clean.
Now that you know some basic information about sugar glider
birthing, it's only appropriate that we advise you on how the
government expects you to handle this blessed event.
Sugar gliders are presently classified as exotic pets. For
if you intend to sell glider joeys,
there are government regulations you need to be aware of. The
APHIS division is responsible for handling licensing under the Animal
Here is a link directly to the USDA for more information on the
As of the date of this newsletter, you are not required (nor are you
even able) to get a USDA license until you have four or more breeding
So if you have three breeding females, no USDA license is needed.
Best to check on this supplied link for time to time as this rule has
changed over the years.
It used to be than no matter how many sugar gliders you were breeding,
a license was required.
This is no longer the case and that law may change again.
Be sure to check with your State Wildlife Dept as well as you may
have state or local rules that may apply depending where you
We are in Florida and are required to carry a State of FL license
issued through the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Some localities also require licensing, so make sure you are fully
informed on these issues before your sugar gliders start
Failure to do so could result in fines and / or possible confiscation
Now here's a helpful insider tip for you. Let's suppose your
sugar gliders had joeys and you want to find them good homes.
Do not name them! Once you name them, you will never let them
leave. Ooops, you already named them?
If you do keep the offspring, it is very important to understand that
you cannot keep babies with the parent gliders forever, unless all
males are neutered.
Sugar gliders will breed to their own offspring given the
opportunity. While we are on this topic, you should also be aware
that male and female siblings cannot be housed together as they too
will try to breed upon maturity.
This sort of close lineage inbreeding can lead to a number of serious
health issues for the offspring of closely related parents.
'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
----->=< ---->=< ---->=< ---->=<
Your resource for safety first, expert
advice on our sugar glider friends!
>=<---- >=<---- >=<---- >=<----
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.
If you liked the newsletter and know someone who might benefit from reading
it, why don't you forward this one to them right now while you are thinking of
it? Instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing are:
To Subscribe, use the form below or click
here and send the blank e-mail. To Unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail
from the e-mail address you want to take off the list to here.
General GliderVet Newsletter Info can be found here.
Viva La Glider!
SunCoast Sugar Gliders
GliderVet is a publication of SunCoast Sugar Gliders
© CopyRight 2011 SunCoast Sugar Gliders
Sign up for the monthly GliderVet newsletter, your resource for safety first, expert advice on our sugar glider
Whether you are a veterinarian, a glider veteran, or a sugar glider owner wanna-be, you need to read GliderVet!
here and send the blank e-mail or use the