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
Greetings Glider Junkies! Welcome to the March issue of the
GliderVet Newsletter! Is winter over yet? Arnold wrote you a little
poem to kick things off in a good mood today!
Spring is the air
And I’m glidin everywhere.
I Glide without a care
I land in Mommy’s hair.
I learned I do not dare
Go potty there!
Yuk Yuk Yuk!
Arnold, you are a silly ole glider. Whaddya say we kick things off?
This month Dr. C will discuss the issue of hand feeding baby sugar
gliders. In a previous month we offered an article called
“Boys or Girls?" This month we will offer a new article called “One or Two?”.
And of course, we will hear from the International Man of Mischief himself in
Before we get to our feature articles, please remember that this
newsletter is intended to express the wishes of the whole sugar glider
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.
This month’s community announcement is very exciting indeed.
Protocols have just been accepted to begin the first U.S. based
nutritional study focused on captive sugar glider nutrition. We are not
aware of any formal studies performed in this country before as it
relates to our beloved
fur balls. This is a grass roots effort and the organization
orchestrating this much-needed evaluation is trying to
raise money directly from the community. Can you spare a couple
of bucks to help this project kick off?
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.
Frequently Asked Questions: One or Two?
By Lisa and Debbie
Most people we talk to understand that sugar gliders are best kept in groupings of two or more.
But why wouldn’t they be? They are colony animals in the wild so it is their very nature to crave constant
companionship, something even the most devoted of all glider humans is unable to provide.
Let’s look at it this way. Pretend for a moment that you are a head
zookeeper. You wouldn’t set up habitats for giraffes that have no tall trees for giraffe snacks, right?
You wouldn’t set up a polar bear habitat with warm water and white beachy resting places, correct?
The trick in keeping exotic animals is to do as much for them in captivity that we possibly can
to emulate their life in the free range. This means keeping them in a habitat that supports their movement
and exercise needs and feeding them a diet that is balanced nutritionally for their particular species needs.
We need to provide
climate and lighting to emulate the exposures they would
in the wild, and keep them in a manner that supports them.
Colony animals need to have companionship. We've discussed in a previous newsletter the type of behavioral imbalances
that can develop by improper husbandry skills (click
here to review article). But we felt compelled to discuss this particular issue of keeping one
vs. two directly because the question comes up a great deal.
Many people think it’s a good idea to get one glider and then add another one later.
We wish to discourage you from thinking in this manner. Separation anxiety is a likely response, and you may not
recognize the symptoms if you have not had a lot of experience and exposure to a large number of different gliders.
And if you do go this route, and do indeed acquire a second glider at some future date, you
can’t put a baby glider in with an older glider without first going through introduction procedures
(click here to review article).
it's a bonding issue, and you think that getting one glider will be
you than having two gliders, then consider the consequences. It may be
only slightly more challenging to bond with two gliders as
one. But once you’ve bonded with the two of them, the time
commitment is considerably lower for multi-housed gliders than it is
for single gliders. If you set them up in a large cage with lots
and accoutrements, they will keep each other company and keep
This is not to say you do not need to spend time with them because you
For single gliders you need to spend 3-4 hours per day to even come
close to meeting their emotional needs, and even that may very well
not be enough time. And you can’t just carry them in a pouch all
day and have that count as all the time that needs to be
You also need to commit to considerable evening time when the glider is
awake and active.
It needs companionship for play and socialization, as well as a warm
body to sleep next to.
So you see, it is really a whole lot more demanding to maintain a
single glider than it is to
keep two or more.
If it’s a financial issue, then we encourage you to wait until such time
that you can do sugar gliders right! It's unfair to a little suggie to be
kept solo simply because your budget will not allow you to get the sugar glider a buddy at this time.
Good things are worth waiting for. You may read on other websites that sugar gliders can die of
loneliness. Although we have often seen from past rescues that single kept gliders do not transition to new caretakers
well, we disagree that loneliness is the actual cause of death of solo
A common occurrence is for the newly rescued glider to basically go
on a hunger strike, so dying of starvation is indeed a
We’ve also had calls from substitute caretakers over the years asking
for our help and guidance.
A typical plea will go something like this: “My friend had to leave
town and I’m watching his/her sugar glider.
The poor little thing just won’t eat. What should I do?”
Well, the best response to that question is to get your friend to come
A single kept sugar glider will become so extremely co-dependent on its
usual caretaker(s), that the absence of its human(s) is likely to cause
of grief and depression.
On the flip side, when we’ve had some single kept rescues come into
our care, we’ve noticed significant behavior changes shortly after
introducing suitable companions to these gliders.
They would begin eating well, responding well and just generally perk
It’s easy to make these assessments for us because we are around gliders every single day of the year.
We see the sadness that happens when a companion glider has to be relocated either due to medical reasons or demise.
The sole remaining glider often becomes abject and sometimes even a bit frantic.
To emphasize this point, here is an email we received from Mari in Japan:
It's been a while since I last wrote you, but I just wanted to
about how things were going here. I can finally understand why
you hammer on the fact that if we want to have a suggie, we should get
a pair and not just one. Remember I told you about some problems
I had with my girl suggie before I got her a little boy friend?
Well, they're all basically a thing of the past. She eats just
fine (now) … her
eating habits have definitely improved.
The most exciting thing, though, is that I can now let her run
in my bedroom without a harness! Remember I said that I wasn't
able to handle her without a harness because once she ran away I
couldn't catch her again? Well, now she has a friend to come back
to, so I don't have a problem there anymore.
I'm SO glad, because, although I didn't have much choice regarding the
here for SunCoast's opinion on leashes), I didn't like the idea very much.
So when I got the new suggie, I decided that it wasn't right that one was in a harness and
the other one wasn't. So I decided to try her again without a
harness. In the beginning I still had a problem catching her, but after a while she started coming back out
on her own. She even jumped onto me the other day - and now I don't have
to use the harness!
You hit the nail on the head in your newsletter - or I should say Arnold
did. I do think boy suggies are easier to handle and much friendlier than girl suggies.
But my little girl has the most adorable personality and I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world. And my two
suggies just love each other.
Mari (from Japan)
Another Exciting Episode of Dear Arnold
By Arnold, with a little
help from Lisa
My husband and I have two precious Suggies (Tutter and
Mayzee). I, like some other glider parents, work during the day
and needed a way
to play with the gliders safely in the evening. We went to
Walmart, like Lisa suggested, and bought a junior camping tent.
It was pretty inexpensive and it fits in our spare bed room. Tent
time has really
paid off for my gliders and I. The tent was really helpful when
I introduced my new female (Mayzee) to my male (Tutter). The tent
gave us a neutral location and both of the gliders were able to explore
on their own in a safe environment.
It has really paid off during the bonding experience with Mayzee.
She was very scared and
aggressive when I first brought her home and now she is comfortable
climbing on and around me.
Now that I have had my gliders for awhile we get in the tent and they really use me as their tree.
They run around and play with their feather teaser and get sweet treats from the Mommy tree.
I must add though, when guests come to home they find it quite amusing that I have a tent set up in
my spare bedroom and find it even more amusing that I hang out in the tent with my gliders and watch TV in
the evenings. Oh well such is life!
We’ve received just oodles and oodles of emails from lots of humans
that have stories so similar to yours, but I liked how you said Mommy
tree, so I decided to share your story with the world. It’s a
known fact that famblies that play together are happy famblies and
"going camping” is a great healthy activity ….
even if its just indoors.
Your buddy, Arnold
How do I teach my glider to glide?
Treeless in Arizona
I luv this question. Yuk yuk yuk …. I really don’t think you
the tree method cause … well … don’t want to insult you but your
personal aerodynamics are a bit crude … hehehehe … you might land
with an awful plop.
Here’s the scoop, Arizona. You need to get your suggie to trust you
a whole lot, so that your suggie wants to come to you and be with you. And the fact is
this: Us gliders just kinda know how to glide automatically. Ya see, when we start to get big enough to venture
on our own, we learns that we can hop and jump. Then when we starts to get to the jumping part, our “wings” just pop out
automatically cause its all connected to our hands and feet.
And if you have a baby joey glider, and it ever tried to jump away
from you, you probably freaked out cause we land with a bit of a splat
… see we land flat and not always real graceful like either.
And the reason we splat is cause our body is flat … its like your human
version of the belly buster in a cement pond.
My mommy and I play gliding games a lot. We started by her
me on top of the curtain rods and she would just take a step or two
backwards, then promise me something yummy for me belly, and
zoom zoom, thar he goes! It happens really really fast and we
tend to jump for the highest point on you, which is the place you call
face. We do this so you can get a good view of the glide motion cause
we know you like it so much ….. hehehehehe.
Now I just climb to the top of the curtains by me big boy self and it's
like ready or
not...Here I come! Glidin’ is a real hoot! I sure wish you
could try it
some time...methinks you would love it!
Your palster, Cap’n Arnold
I often take my gliders into the bathroom to play. Of course, I stop up
all the drains and close the toilet lid first! My young male glider,
Creeper, thinks it's great fun to run on the toilet paper roll. We call it
the "glider treadmill!"
Great Scott! That sounds like so much fun … What a
Charmin story! Keep havin' fun and let the good times roll. Yuk yuk yuk!
And don’t forget, you can share your short comments or fun questions with
me by clicking here.
Exotic Pet Vet
What Dr. C says .... on Hand Feeding Joeys
By Dr. C., of course!
A frequent question fielded at Suncoast Sugar Gliders is “are the babies hand
fed?” As this relates a great deal to the gliders’ ultimate health,
Lisa & Debbie have asked that I address the question directly.
Our babies are not “pulled” early to be hand raised. They stay
parents until being weaned and do not leave the Suncoast facility until
they are 8 weeks out of pouch, and only after we are certain that they
are eating well on their own.
Pulling babies before weaning can cause a number of problems, the first
challenge being the hand raising itself. The young sugar glider is unable
to regulate its own body temperature and must be kept warm or they will quickly chill and become hypothermic.
However, if the baby is kept too warm, dehydration can occur.
Feeding needs to occur approximately every two to three hours around
the clock depending on the age and body weight of the joey when taken
from the female. The formula needs to be made fresh each feeding
prevent bacterial growth. The young often do not want to suckle
as the top of a syringe
is not “Mom”, so care must be taken not to aspirate the baby (i.e.,
force too much formula into its mouth causing it to choke or
get formula in its lungs).
The formula itself is problematic because artificial formulas can never match the nutritional value of mother’s milk, even
with a good
commercial formula like Arnold's Choice
Possum Milk Replacer.
Due to the above problems, hand feeding is difficult even for the
At Suncoast, when we have been forced to hand feed babies due to
illness in the mother or rejection by the mother, the success rate
is only around 50%. Even under the best of circumstances hand fed
joeys (we are only talking about those pulled before weaning) tend to
be undersized, need vitamin supplementation and often seem to be less
hardy, perhaps due to a weakened immune system.
By waiting until the babies are weaned, we can be assured that they
have been raised on an appropriate plan of nutrition, simply stated
"mom's milk”. This is very important early in life as antibodies
passed to the young through colostrum found in the mother's milk.
Staying with the parents also exposes them to “being” a sugar
As such, the young socialize with each other and parents and learn many
behaviors from their experience.
Once the joeys are taken from the parents, they go through a period of
All the young are handled and carried in a pouch frequently by Debbie
Handling and interacting create the strong bond between owner and
glider, not bottle raising as some
breeders assert. In fact, the hand feeding of psittacines
macaws, etc.) is a point of controversy currently as many hand fed baby
birds seem to have difficulty upon reaching sexual maturity and at
times the bond with the owner seems to deteriorate.
When considering the purchase of a young sugar glider, it is the post pouch experience that is most important.
Was the young glider socialized to people after being taken from the parents or was it placed
in an isolated cage and shipped off to a pet store? Were its physical
needs and psychological needs attended to? Does it appear healthy and
robust, with bright shining eyes and coat? Does it appear curious and
inquisitive or shy and easily intimidated? By researching the glider’s
background you will have a better chance of purchasing the type of friend you are looking for.
Tune back in next month for a brand new topic. If you have more
questions about breeding or glider health care issues, send them
by clicking here and we will do our best to include
them in a future edition of the GliderVet Newsletter.
I send my wishes for good health to both you and your sugar gliders. I'll see you again next month!
Dr. C. (Janine M Cianciolo, DVM)
Dr. Janine M. Cianciolo
---->=< ---->=< ---->=< ---->=<
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 2003 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