GliderVet Newsletter  |  Sugar Glider Vet Newsletters 2004

GliderVet # 35: Bonding with more than one person, Arnold's Holiday Gift Choices, Behavioral Disorders II

This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter

Yippee! It's that time of year again. The holidays are upon us. The weather is getting colder, the festive holiday spirit is setting in, and we're happy to bring you another issue of the GliderVet Newsletter.

Arnold is just all beside himself this month. As our Chief Executive Glider, I just found out that he ordered a slight change in format this month. By high glider decree, Dr C will be our question answerer this month as we received a very good question from one of our subscribers based on last month's article concerning behavioral disorders. But before we go there, we will be offering a new topic this month on how well gliders bond to more than one person. And then, Arnold wants to send his holiday wishes to you all and share his thoughts on holiday gift ideas (for both gliders and humans).

So without further adieu, let's glide right in. Shall we?

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 questions. 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.
Can Sugar Gliders Bond to More than One Person?
By Lisa

One of the best things about keeping gliders as pets is that they will indeed bond to more than one person. We all know that they bond by scent and have a territorial nature, but most homes house more than one person. Unlike some other types of exotic animals and birds, gliders have the capacity to love more than one human.

Now, having said that, if only one person is the primary caretaker and handler, that person will be the one the gliders best respond to. The trick to having gliders that go to, play with, and hang out with multiple members of the family is to try and balance the time spent with each glider by each family member.

I often get asked if one person should initially do the bonding. Then after some progress has been made, have other household members join in the process. That may make sense the first few days, but we have two members in our household and we've always started off with all of our new sugar gliders with both of us spending equal time getting acquainted. The result is that for the most part, all of the gliders seem to show us equal favor.

We have heard from quite a few community members that their gliders do seem to show favoritism to certain household members. I see this as a result of two different possibilities. First, we must honor the unique nature and personality of each sugar glider. Like people, they come with different attitudes and could "like" someone better than someone else.

But I think the more likely possibility is that the caretakers seem to have a natural attraction to one of the gliders and spends the most time with that one glider. Try spending equal time with all of your gliders. They won't all respond to you in identical manners, because their personalities are different. But you may find that each individual glider will respond in a similar manner to the different human members of the family that is spending time with the gliders.

An exception to this rule, and this is merely my suggestion, is that adults only do the initial bonding when young children are involved. Many children may not be able to show the initial restraint necessary to make new gliders feel safe in their new home. A great way for kids to join in on the process is let them spend bonding time inside of a tent with the gliders. See this article on tent bonding. I always recommend that young children be supervised when handling the gliders and not allowed to feed them without parental knowledge and permission, or let the gliders out of the cage without permission.

We have the opportunity to hear a lot of "urban legends" when it comes to sugar gliders and one of those myths is that they can only bond to one person. Sugar gliders, as colony dwellers, have a natural instinct to bond and co-habitate with a fairly large group of other animals. In a captive environment, the "colony" size is significantly smaller than a free-range colony size, and it's my opinion that we just become part of the colony.

I see this with Arnold's group in particular. Four gliders live together. They are all very attached to each other, attached to their two humans, and one of them (Arnold, of course) has a very special relationship with one of my dogs. We do not encourage you to go out of your way to promote friendships between sugar gliders and other household pets. But under special and controlled circumstances, these relationships may naturally develop. Just be sure you know the nature of the "other pet". An overly playful paw, or the tendency to get irritated when a glider lands on the pet's face are just two examples of how bad accidents can happen quickly.

Remember, like any other pet, the quality of your relationships with your sugar gliders is based on the quality of the time you spend with them. So get the whole family involved in the experience, because well bonded sugar gliders are just about the most special small pets on the planet!

Best wishes to you and yours for the holiday season! Stay warm, stay safe, and bless you all!
Arnold's Holiday Wishes and Gift List Suggestions
Happy Holly Daze Blokes and Blokettes! 'Tis the season to be rowdy … fa la la la la … What fun to be a spoiled boy at a time like this! And to make sure your fuzzbutts and their hairless keepers are spoiled too, let me share some of me ideas on how to make your holiday season glide smoothly!

First, here's the list I sent to Sandy Claws.

#1. Fresh little mealworms for a little snack to keep me strength up while I tear open me other gifts.

#2. New toys! I luv new toys! While I have me some great toys in me little 'ol store, you can find lots of cool stocking stuffers at places like the dollar store. For real cheapy like, get some toy soldiers … and for a total laugh fest, try barrel of monkeys …. No we don't chew up the plastico peeces and swallow em ….so worry not.

#3. Some more fresh big mealworms before I get into the big part of me program.

#4. More new toys! Did me say me luvs toys? Me Lisa went to this thingy called a garage sale, which I was like "duh", we already have a garage, but instead she comes back with this stuff called Fisher and trains and stuffs we can crawl in. I like the little ball thing with the hollow inside and star shapes and triangles and circles and squares. Why didn't she just say she was going to a toy sale? Think she wanted to just lie to me so I would be super suprized?

And check out me new holiday ornament dangler toy … see, first ya hang it on your tree or over a doorway and kiss under it. Then you give it to your suggie to play with! It comes with a real live nickel plated bell and the balls are made of grape vine! Totally suggy safe and fun and cute too!

#5. OK, next on me list … treats! Yogurt drops are me personal fave, but I sure like the papaya chunks and now we have mango chunks too! I like to throw them at my doggie sometimes … she does real cute tricks for treats!

#6. And if you would like to surprize me with sumptin, you can just send it to Arnold. I live in Florida, so just send it there, K?

Ummmmm, Arnold, Lisa here. I don't think its very nice of you to ask people to just send you presents. That's more of a family tradition and not something you do with strangers, OK?

Uh oh …. Sowwy … but remember that time that lady sent you some eucalyptus soap so you could smell like a tree? Hehehehehe … that was kinda cool! And that other time Cindi sent you some pastry you wouldn't let me have EVEN THO MY NAME WAS ON THE BOX!

Arnold T Schwarzenglider, you stop that behavior right now! Sassy little suggies just may not be visited by Santa Claus. Only good little gliders get presents. And of course I was not going to let you eat pastry, it has too much sugar and stuff that is not good for you.

Well you ate it! I could smell it on your breath ….

Arnold, get back to your job please!

Alright already … grumpy pantz …. I'm getting back to this list here. Me thinks that suggies should get the most presents, but me also thinks that the humans who care for us should get a little present too and we have some really cool new stuff just for the peeples. Our brandest newest item for Glider Lovers is super duper cool!

We hired a famous and fabulous artist to make us some special Arnold T Schwarzenglider sterling silver earrings …. But they are not merely "ear"ly …. Yuk yuk yuk! They make super great hat pins and tie tacks, lapel pins, and collar pins … So get ya some and show off yer glider pride now! They are made just exclusively for me little store and the only place to get 'em is here!

Well me friends, before me signs off, remember, keep your suggies warm and keep the rooms humid! O! There's sumptin else you might get your gliders. A little humidifier for their room ….. we like things tropical like in the rainforests we come from!

Luvs, nose kisses, and Hoppy Holly Daze to you all! May your stocking be filled with worms and lots of other cool stuff too!

Tune in again next month for the usual exciting episode of Dear Arnold! 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... Changing Behavioral Disorders II
by Dr. C, of course!

Dear Dr. C,

Thank you for your article last month about behavioral disorders. Particularly the section about older gliders! I brought Indie home from a girl who joined the military and couldn't keep her, and Jaxom came from a very nice girl who rescued him from a closet in someone's house! Both are "rescues", had been neglected, and were about 3+ years old when I brought them home.

Though at the time I really had no idea what I was getting into, I was lucky enough to find your newsletter and forums like Glider Central. Now I am a very happy glider mom, but it didn't come without a lot patience and love, and sometimes bloody fingers, LOL!

It's been 2 1/2 years since Indie came home with me and both her and Jaxom have become awesome little pets! I would love if you wrote more about this kind of scenario. I have always been a "rescuer", and for me it is so much more rewarding when I bring home a tough animal and see the progress we have made.

Thanks again for all your hard work!!
Amanda Laborde
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Dear Amanda,

Thank you for your letter. I think you help drive home some very salient points about taking in older gliders with behavioral disorders. The purpose of the October 2004 newsletter on this topic was to simply educate the community of the challenges one is likely to face. You share a successful story and for that you are to be commended.

Behavioral disorders in sugar gliders can be correctable. But you must be willing to put in the time, which could very well be an extensive undertaking. Success in building the relationship of trust can happen. It is best to protect yourself against bites by knowing they will inevitably occur with sugar gliders with behavioral disorders. Remember, if you receive a bite from any animal, from a sugar glider to a cat or dog, it is important to scrub the wound copiously with antibacterial soap and check with your physician. The mouths of all animals, including humans, contain many types of bacteria which can cause problems when the skin is broken by a bite wound.

It's also important to keep in mind that some animals, even with the best handling, nurturing and new improved environment may have insurmountable issues. I think it worth repeating from last month, be sure you know what you are getting into. You may gain the animal’s trust in time, or you may only gain some level of mutual respect, or you may have an animal that will always be difficult to handle and work with. The important point I wish to emphasize is that to do this on a "trial basis" is not fair to the animal, as a next move could just exasperate an already bad situation.

The average pet owner does not have the time or experience to correct behavior problems. There are special people like Amanda, who enter into the rehabilitation process fully aware of the high level commitment needed to bring about successful outcomes. Best of luck to you, Amanda, and to all of you who have opened your homes to unwanted animals. It can be an extremely rewarding opportunity for those with the time and training.

As always, these topics are driven by your requests, so send your questions about glider health care issues by clicking here and we will do our best to include your request 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)

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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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Viva La Glider! Arnold

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