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Your resource for safety first, expert
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This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
Greetings Glider Groupies, Glider Newbies and Glider Wanna-bes! Welcome to the July edition of the GliderVet News.
As we sit in the heat of the summer, we are going to get really hot
this month and jump right into the heat of controversial information we
often hear about from our correspondents.
As with any information found on the internet, there is always going to
be some fact, some “urban legend” and some baloney.
And we all know that baloney is not that good for people, much less
So we hope to meet a couple of these controversies head on. We
live in Florida and we’re not afraid of a little heat.
Now high winds, they scare the dickens out of us, but heat, we say
bring it on!
We’re going to start off this month’s edition with some information we hope will help you find just
the information you need with a brief article on how to scan our site.
And yes, for the many of you who’ve been asking, your pal Arnold will be around this month.
Read on to find out where Arnold’s been!
But before we begin, we do have one special announcement this month. We get a lot of email from people who love our
deluxe cage. But quite a few folks have asked us to find one “a little bit smaller”.
It took us awhile to find one that met our high standards, but at last, we are pleased to announce the addition of a
deluxe rectangular cage to our lineup.
This beautiful cage provides a spacious area for up to four sugar gliders, yet
is still compact enough to tuck into a corner.
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.
How to Scan Our Site for Sugar Glider Information
As we are well into our fifth year of this newsletter, I find that
the nature of many questions we get asked via email are already
answered on our website.
Many glider care issues have been thoroughly discussed in past
newsletters, but it seems apparent to me that many people don’t know
just how to search for information they need and don’t always have time
to read through over fifty newsletters to get the information.
I want to share some easy search tips with you. We will always
answer any emails we get, but as our subscription base grows (we are in
over seventy countries now) it’s a challenge to get to them all
quickly, so I will often send links back to the newsletter archives
where you can find the type of information you need.
Click here to review all
of our past newsletters.
I do ask that you use this resource first and if you can’t find the
answer, by all means email us.
I’m the only official email answerer, along with Arnold, but he doesn’t
write the English too pretty good, and well, I hate to sound rude, but
he poops on my keyboard sometimes so I limit his access.
Most browsers have a “Find on this Page" command; for Microsoft
Explorer, it's under the "Edit" on the Main Menu at the top. If
go to the newsletter page above, pop up the "Find on this Page"
function, and type in a word like breeding, nutrition, diet, etc. this
scan down the page and bring you to articles that address those
topics. If you are unable to find what you need, let me
Your question may very well become our next
Editor's Note: We now have a search
function for the newsletters.
And now for our big news du jour! We have added two more vets
to help us with sugar glider
education, and are excited to have them join us, as they will bring
even more in-depth knowledge to our outreach program.
We also have group of individuals from the Texas A&M veterinary
are interested in contributing. They have access to vast research
information and a faculty full of top notch teaching veterinarians,
student researchers, and others dedicated to the expansion of animal
And last, but certainly not least, we will be publishing periodic
articles from Dr Ellen Dierenfield, who is the only
PhD level researcher that we are aware of who has completed a study
specifically focused on sugar glider nutrition. Dr Dierenfield
has a PhD in animal nutrition and was affiliated with the Bronx Zoo,
which was one of the first places in the country to bring sugar gliders
US. Dr Dierenfield is now with the St. Louis Zoo.
We are really tickled that our newsletter has attracted such an
elite group of caring experts and are especially pleased that YOU are a
part of it.
It is your questions that drive this engine, and we thank you deeply
for your participation.
Fruit Skins and Seeds
So where has Arnold been?
Well, he has some hair brain idea that people would love to see a TV
show called Peel Or No Peel, hence his absence from his newsletter
Now how silly is that?! He plans to build a stage where he will have a
whole bunch of
beautiful woman on that stage with brief cases filled with
mealworms. One briefcase will have a million meal worms in it and
the point is to try and win as many worms as you can.
Personally, I think it is ridiculous, but crazier things have made it
on TV, right?
Then it occurred to me. It never seems like that big of a big
question when I get asked about peels, but it happens all the
The same goes for seeds that are found in certain fruits. After
all, everyone knows that apple seeds contain arsenic, right?!
Well, actually they do contain a poison, but it is not arsenic as
reported on many websites.
According to one website on urban legend: “When we think of dangers
lurking in our food, we tend to concentrate on the threats posed by
chemical additives or by improper and careless handling.
Yet the truth is that we routinely come into contact with naturally
occurring poisons in a number of the fruits we ingest.
Apples are one such fruit: their pips (seeds) contain amygdalin, a
cyanide and sugar compound that degrades into hydrogen cyanide (HCN)
Cyanide itself is a poison that kills by denying blood the ability to
carry oxygen, thereby
causing its victims to die of asphyxiation. At least within the
realm of murder mysteries, cyanide is the darling of poisoners because
it acts quickly and irrevocably — once a fatal dose has been ingested,
there is no effective antidote, and death takes place within
It is sometimes described as having a bitter almond smell, but it does
not always give off an odor, nor can everyone detect the
scent. Cherry, peach, and apricot pits also contain amygdalin.”
It all sounds rather ominous, and I know there are a lot of sugar glider websites that warn you never, ever, ever,
ever even think about letting sugar gliders get to these seeds.
My friends, let me let you in on a little secret. As we are
quite a few sugar glider pairs, it is mission critical that we follow
Dr C’s diet plan
closely, which includes feeding daily fresh fruits or vegetables.
From a practical standpoint, it would take many hours each day to
remove the skins and seeds
from all the foods we feed. We never did remove the skins, but we
used to remove the seeds because we were right there with urban
And while the legend is “true”, it is also true that sugar gliders are
not at all inclined to eat the skins on fruits/veggies,
nor are they inclined to eat the seeds. As a result, we stopped
de-seeding many years ago and have never had an illness result from
Our fuzzy little friends are smart. We can only assume they have
some instinctual radar that tells them what part of foods to eat and
what parts to leave behind.
Now we always wash our foods very well, because fruits and vegetables
can carry parasites from handling/storage practices, so a good washing
is always prudent.
We hope to learn more as to why sugar gliders and other animals seem
to know when some things can be bad for them and this is on our list of
questions submitted to Texas A & M.
But rest assured that your fuzzy buddies are smart enough to avoid the
poisonous pits and seeds. And just for fun, feed them foods with
skin on next time and see how paper thin they can make it.
I never knew apple skin could look quite that way, and the apple skins
are always left behind.
So Arnold, what do you say to this? Peel or No Peel?
Me Arnold says Peel! Now gimme my million mealworms!
The Grape Controversy
This is an article that I personally feel cannot wait. This is
also on our list to Texas A&M, but sometimes the right thing to do
is to share what we know now and to give the scientific explanations
I am compelled to share this with you somewhat prematurely because for
years, our care sheet information has suggested that you feed watery
foods to your sugar gliders as part of the diet rotation. Watery foods
would include a variety of melons and grapes.
As we learn new things, I feel it is our responsibility to not only
adjust our own practices, but to share this with you as well.
Did you know that a grape controversy even existed? I’m starting to see them as the grapes of wrath and
will no longer recommend them as a good fruit to feed sugar gliders.
My suspicions about grapes started as I reviewed events in
hindsight, but first indications
came to me several years ago. We often get calls from folks with
“mystery deaths”, and while I have no way to realistically help folks
find the absolute answer of why their sugar glider died, my first
question to them ALWAYS concerns diet.
Now for me, it’s no mystery that a sugar glider will pass prematurely
when a fed a diet of cat food and peanuts.
And believe it or not, there are still new sugar glider keepers who are
given such information from various breeders and pet stores.
While those numbers are dwindling as sugar glider education improves,
it still happens and we all know what dreadful fate can come of that.
There have been, however, quite a few cases of mystery deaths where
I was completely clueless, but I started noticing a trend where even
those folks feeding a really good diet to their gliders were losing
Some folks who felt they just had to know what happened forked out the
big bucks to bring their dearly departed to a veterinarian for
necropsy, and still came up empty handed.
The trend that I noticed was that on many occasions, grapes seemed to
be a common denominator.
But who am I to scorn the sweet delicious grape? It has never
been our intention to simply editorialize in the newsletter
and this is not something that will become part of a new format or
platform for us. Empirical data is important.
Experiential evidence can often support that found to be fact by
science, but we’ve been reluctant to ever rely on experiential data
If it were not for this next event, I would still be silent on this
subject, but my gut instinct keeps telling me otherwise.
I was discussing my theory on grapes with an associate of mine and she
felt that my assertions may be right on.
She told me that the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is looking into
a connection between kidney failure in canines and the ingestion of
grapes and raisins.
From several of the sugar glider necropsies (grapes were often present
in the routine diet), kidney issues had been cited, but no direct
connection to particular foods was indicated.
In the ASPCA information I was able to locate, the exact role of
raisins and grapes are unclear, but seemingly directly related to the
I stopped feeding grapes to my sugar gliders nearly a year ago, waiting on more empirical data to rely on.
However, I continue to hear stories and I feel that it would be less than responsible of me to sit on this any longer.
And I wish to make this next point perfectly clear. There has
been NO direct connection nor direct studies done with sugar gliders
And even our more popular friend, man’s best friend, who gets a lot of
research money on their behalf is still waiting on results.
From a realistic point of view, studies this specific in nature for
animals like sugar gliders are not likely to happen any time soon (or
I often warn people about extrapolating their knowledge of other
animals and applying it to sugar glider husbandry.
Sugar gliders are their own unique species. But in light of the
grapes being so close to so many events, I’ve made
a personal decision to avoid grapes in my sugar glider diets. Now
I simply want to give you the option to make your own gut call on this
one as well.
Update: Are oxalates the problem with grapes? See
'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 with us!
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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
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