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This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
Greetings from Down Under (we are in Florida after all)! Welcome all Sheilas, Blokes, and Human Joeys!
It's time to crawl out of your warm winter pouch and enjoy the rites of Spring!
Welcome to the May issue of the GliderVet Newsletter, where we aim to bring you a great lineup of timely information!
Dr. C will be discussing toxoplasmosis this month. Questions
concerning this zoonotic disease have come in from quite a few of
What is it and does it affect sugar gliders?
But before we get to Dr. C’s contribution this month, Debbie and I will discuss sugar gliders and plants.
Do you have plants in your cage? Do you use live plants or faux plants?
How do the sugar gliders respond to this type of décor?
And of course, we will be offering another exciting episode of Dear
Arnold, featuring none other than that one of kind, larger than life,
supreme ruler of the curtain rods, Arnold T. Schwarzenglider!
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.
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.
And for those of you who have been searching for the perfect cage at
the perfect price, check out Arnold’s new line of purdy and sturdy
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.
Plants in the Glider Habitat - Real vs. Fake?
By Lisa and Debbie
A lot of people obviously like to create an environment for their
sugar gliders that incorporates key components of a natural, free range
Since our fuzzbutts originate from the treetop canopy of the Australia
region, then it stands to reason that branches and leaves make up the
foundation of the perfect glider environment.
Around here, we really like to simulate the “tree top” home by using
natural branches, vines, ropes that simulate vines, and objects that
swing (as branches would sway in a tree).
Before we delve into how we manage to accomplish this effect, allow us to share a story with you about our friend, Ralph.
One of the challenges of breeding sugar gliders is how to humanely retire
gliders we choose to no longer breed. As we had lunch with our pal Ralph one day, we
told him about our business and happened to mention the “retirement” issue as a hurdle we
had to effectively address.
Well, lo and behold, Ralph had a brainstorm of a solution. He
invited us to his home and showed us a space that he
had “been wanting to do something interesting with”. The space is
about 10 feet long, 8 feet deep and 10 feet high.
When he purchased his home, there was a cinder block wall freestanding
just in this section of his yard.
The wall runs parallel to an oversized picture window in his home and
he speculates that the wall was built to give some protection from the
Things can get rather toasty here in the summertime! A couple of
nice tropical trees were already planted in this spot, so Ralph
began to build the "Glider Retirement Dream Habitat".
The enclosure is actually outdoors but completely protected from
In the winter, he rigs up heat lamps to provide extra warmth in
addition to the warmth that passes through the home’s picture
In the summer time, the cinderblock wall helps insulate against the
high temperatures and several of our gliders have been living
harmoniously in the house that Ralph built. Click here to see pictures of the Ralph’s Glider
Now that you have some background information, let’s get back to the
subject of live plants.
RGH was originally built, Ralph planted a variety of annuals to accent
the original foliage, and also added a shallow pond and
The pond is semi-camouflaged with branches and sticks so if a suggie
should end up in the water, they
have easy access to climb out. To date, neither Ralph nor his
family have observed any of the gliders taking a dip.
From his extended observations, we can only surmise that it's not a
glider’s desire to go for an occasional swim, which makes sense
considering their tree top dwelling nature.
But remember those annuals that I told you about above? Well,
those plants didn’t stand a chance!
It didn’t take long for a small band of “old lady” gliders to
completely shred Ralph’s new plants to smithereens.
So if you are considering live plants for inside your sugar gliders’
habitat, you might want to think again!
The plant is likely to look very nice when you first place it in the
cage, but few people have habitats as large as RGH, and the small
plants looked like a bad case of
"Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree" in no time. The moral of the
this: gliders may enjoy live plants a great deal, but we don’t think
the plant will enjoy the experience at all!
Another option to placing live plants in the cage is to utilize live
plants in the play
area only. This way you can supervise the activity and take
measures to protect your tender vegetation.
However, it is extremely important that you know what type of plant you
are using and whether
this plant may be potentially toxic to small animals. Many normal
house plants can be highly toxic and you must be well informed before
considering this type of décor/play area.
Purdue University hosts a database of many plants with levels of
toxicity to animals and
livestock. To access, click
A great option to providing a plant-like atmosphere without having
to worry about keeping a real plant alive or worrying about toxicity
the utilization of fake plants (or as Arnold prefers … "faux
plants"). We use a lot of artificial foliage in our habitats and
one thing we found is that the cheaper it is, the more easily it falls
Last fall, we decorated Sydney Sesame’s
cage in a luxurious flow of vined autumn leaves.
It lasted for a couple of months before the stalks were picked clean
and we had to rake all those autumn leaves out of the bottom of the
When using faux foliage, check to make sure that there are no little
plastic parts that come off easily.
Also avoid the type of plants that have thin wire running through
thinly sheathed plastic ….
if the wire pops out, you have a serious hazard threatening the safety
Don’t be shy about producing a creative habitat for your suggies!
There’s nothing cuter than seeing two big black eyes peeking out
through an array of natural looking leaves.
Have fun and happy decorating, your gliders will thank you!
Another Exciting Episode of DEAR ARNOLD
Note: Some of Arnold’s fan mail may be edited cause Arnold wants
some of them to be shorter so he can have more space all to
Yuk Yuk Yuk!
My sugar gliders like quite a variety of fruits, but I can’t seem to get them to eat any vegetables.
What is your favorite vegetable?
Picky Eaters Mom
Dear P.E. Mom!
My fave veggie is sweet potater!
Hey Arnold, Lisa here: Are you eating a sweet potato now?
Yes, I Yam! Yuk yuk yuk yuk. And hey P.E. - you should
try sweet potaters for your suggies and maybe you will find your
efforts no longer “fruit”less …. hehehehe
Arnold Potato Head
I have been having problems getting my male glider to eat anything with protein except yogurt.
Now I know he needs more but he will not touch eggs
or crickets. He won’t even touch the chicken or beef I put in his cage.
Is there anything that is high in protein that
I could try to tempt my little
Worried in ILLINOIS
Hmmm .... another food question! Well, we don't want your
little glider to not be as big and strong as he should be, so let me
make a few suggestions fer ya.
You just might have to trick him! Yup ... the trick to it all is
to trick him!
My Mommy has had to trick me before, but all in all I'm a pretty good
Here's the scoop. If he really likes yogurt, sneak stuff in his
yogurt that has more protein
... like chicken or turkey baby food, or boiled eggs all mashed up.
Have you ever offered him some mealworms or boiled chicken?
Most little suggies just can't control themselves in the presence of
good worm and chicken apertif!
Sometimes though, the suggies don't know how to eat the mealworms or
crickets and they might need someone to show them, like another glider
or a human bean. Don't want to sound gross, but you might have to
expose the guts for your little guy ... and believe me, once he gets
the hang of it, then it could become one of his favorite things!
Other ways to trick him is to find other things he does like to eat
like applesauce (and different flavors are good) and do the same thing
me suggested for the yogurt ... mix it up or blend it in a blender!
Love, Chef Arnold
Tune in again next month for another exciting episode of Dear Arnold
where Arnold and his boy buddies will introduce their new boy glider
band called … ta da …... N StYNC! Don’t miss their first hit single …
You are my moonshine!
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 Toxoplasmosis
By Dr. C., of course!
This month I will be discussing toxoplasmosis and whether gliders
are susceptible to this condition.
Toxoplasma gandii is a parasite, which infects warm-blooded
animals. Cats complete the life cycle of this parasite and pass
the eggs into the environment in their feces.
Many marsupials, such as wallabies, can contract toxoplasmosis and it can cause life threatening conditions if untreated.
Signs in wallabies often include diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, subnormal body temperatures, and trouble breathing.
It is speculated that wallabies are particularly susceptible because they are often kept in yards.
Even if you don’t personally own a cat, most yards are visited by stray cats, which inevitably urinate and defecate.
This increases the risk for exposure to toxoplasmosis.
I am not aware of a case of toxoplasmosis in sugar gliders, however,
being a warm blooded animal they are certainly susceptible to this
It is important to keep your sugar gliders away from kitty litter boxes
(if you have a cat), avoid feeding undercooked meat, and always wash
fresh fruits and vegetables.
Most people do not take their gliders outdoors to play, as this can be
a risky proposition with the curious glider (it may just run up a
If you are in the habit of taking your glider outdoors, you may wish to
avoid letting the glider play in grass where cats may have visited.
If you have been gardening in an area cats frequent, make sure to wash
your hands with hot soapy water before handling your sugar
As I stated above, toxoplasmosis has proven to be a quite serious
threat to the sugar glider’s fellow marsupial, the wallaby.
I have no reason to suspect that given the right set of circumstances
that sugar gliders would not experience similar reactions to exposure.
It's much easier to control a sugar glider’s roaming area to exclude
those places where cats frequent, unlike the grazing wallaby.
Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic (can spread to humans) disease and it
can affect people and cause serious disease or death to the unborn
Good cage hygiene practices help to reduce the spread of disease from
animal to animal and from animal to human.
You may have heard that pregnant women should avoid exposure to outdoor
disease is the reason for that medical recommendation. For
additional information concerning this disease, you may wish to ask
your veterinarian or your medical
Since that's all I have to offer on toxoplasmosis (without getting too boring
with all that medical jargon!), I'm going to take the opportunity to update you on the past topic of cage
cleaning and offer some additional suggestions.
As you may recall, last year I recommended the use of a product
Unfortunately, this product is not readily available to the
public. It is used often in veterinary practices, but not
typically offered for resale in veterinarian offices.
Some of our subscribers have successfully found the product available
at feed stores, but only on a very limited basis.
As much as I personally like this product, I realize it does not do
much good for the community if you can’t find it anywhere.
Debbie and Lisa have tried a variety of products that are commercially
available and presented one in particular to me to review and asked
me to state my opinion. The product is called Scooter’s
It is a non-bleach veterinary type disinfectant and cleaner.
This product is EPA registered and biodegradable. It is my
primary concern that the product works effectively against a range of
bacteria, viruses, yeast and
fungi when cleaning the cage.
According to the summary of anti-microbial activity provided by the
manufacturer, I am satisfied that this product will work as an
effective cleaner for your sugar gliders’ cage (and other pets as
Debbie and Lisa chose this particular product for me to review because
they enjoyed the pleasant smell and the fact it is in a pre-mixed ready
to use formula, obviously important issues to most consumers.
Once the cage has been thoroughly cleansed, you might consider using a
surface coating product to help keep the surface cleaner in between
cleanings of the cage.
The product that is used at SunCoast for this purpose is called Cage
It is a direct contact spray that inhibits food, feces, and other
organic matter from sticking on to cage, toys, and other habitat
In other words, organic material is more easily wiped away when a
product such as Cage Shield is utilized.
The active ingredient in this product is safe for direct animal
contact. Questions concerning cleaning product recommendations
have been coming up a great deal lately and I trust this advice will
give you another option for safe and reliable disinfecting practices.
Tune back in next month for a brand new topic. These topics are
driven by your requests, so send your questions about glider health
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!
(Janine M Cianciolo, DVM)
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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
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