GliderVet Newsletter  |  Sugar Glider Vet Newsletters 2004

GliderVet # 36: Finding A Companion Sugar Glider, Dear Arnold, Prevention is the Best Medicine

This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter

Jingle Bells
Da Peeple Smells
Glider Ate a Robin's Egg

Hehehehehe! Happy Holly Daze Boyz and Girlz! Arnie Boy here, gliding to a 'puter screen near you! Bee four I introduces me Lisa, me wants to tell you a few quick things from the past year. First, Lisa won't tell ya this, but she did a good mornin' radio show last month bout suggie gliders! And next month, the two of us are gonna be on TV! As we get the details, me will let ya know more 'bout it!

AND, as we end our number three year of bringin' ya da news, me wanted to tell ya that me and Doc C's little ol' news is reaching every continent on the planet and I wanted to say a special hello to our two subscribers in Tuvalu and our one subscriber in Niue! Sooooo …. Hellllllooooo! These are places in the South Pacific, maybe near Bora Bora, which me hears is never boring boring! And close to Vanuatu too! (for you Survivor fans) Yuk yuk yuk! And now, here's Lisa!

Thanks Arnold! So for the last time this year, we bring you another edition of the GliderVet newsletter. Our first article will share some of our views on finding suitable companions for sugar gliders without buddies. Then we'll hear from Arnold again, taking center stage, in our regularly scheduled episode of Dear Arnold! And bringing up the flank, our own Dr C has a few thoughts to share, particularly to those of you new to sugar gliders, about product and household item safety. Many vet visits can be avoided by being aware of the type of things that can cause harm to your gliders (and other pets as well).

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.
Finding a Companion Sugar Glider
By Lisa

We get nearly as many phone calls and e-mails from folks who have single gliders looking for companions for their pets as we get phone calls from potential first time owners. The reason is twofold. Many people were ill advised by other breeders / pet stores that it's best to have only one glider. Those of you who've been with us for awhile already know the many compelling reasons why sugar gliders should have a same species buddy. The second reason is that one of a pair of gliders met an untimely demise leaving its companion alone and pining for a friend that looks just like it does.

This presents somewhat of a dilemma for many because one thing we believe here at SunCoast is that new glider buddies ideally should be close to the same age. You can't just get a baby glider to fill the companionship need for an older glider. The baby may be rejected and seriously harmed. While most sugar gliders thrive with a companion(s), they are also territorial. Of course, you can do a two-cage setup for awhile if this is your only or best option and to find out more about that, see the May 2002 newsletter about introducing sugar gliders.

If you choose to find a companion glider that is close to your single glider's age, there are different options. We rarely have "older" gliders available for adoption at SunCoast. But, there are many people out there who do have adult aged gliders and need to find good homes to care for the pets they no longer have time for, or because their life circumstances have changed in a manner that precludes keeping their sugar gliders.

Several years ago, we started a free service called Glider Exchange. We decided to dedicate this service purely to the needs of adult gliders. The service is basically two-fold. Keepers of older gliders needing to find new homes may post for free on this service. Seekers of older gliders may do likewise, to find gliders of a certain age or sex, or located in a particular part of the country.

While we do not screen the posters of each ad, we do review each ad for appropriateness prior to posting. These ads are manually posted by our webmaster once we've approved it, so expect it to take several days for the ad to show up on the board. Any ad requests for gliders under 7 months OOP (out of pouch) age or ad requests for gliders residing in illegal states are rejected. We wish to keep this board exclusive to the needs of adult age sugar gliders.

In addition to providing for free posting of private party ads, we share step by step all the information you will need to accommodate shipping animals. You may find the best home is not close enough to drive. Counter to counter airline shipping is very safe and we give you all of our "insider tips" on how to do this the best way possible.

We are pleased to say that this service has helped find homes and companion gliders for over 100 older sugar gliders! There are many opportunities for individuals to post on various websites throughout the internet, but this is the only dedicated service we know of helping to find homes / companions for older gliders.

We thank you all for making this a huge success and look forward to continuing this free service for many years to come!
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 himself! Yuk Yuk Yuk!

Dear Arnold,

My sugar gliders are very inconsistent with me. Sometimes they can't get enough of me and sometimes they run away, crab and fuss and want nothing to do with me. Do you have any ideas on this? I want my babies to love me all the time!


Dear Whitney,

No weason to be whiney! Of course me has the ideas on this! Fuzz bombers like me get to know our peeples mostly by their smells. Some peeple think our vision isn't very good or that we see in night vision green, but the fact is …. Ya all look alike to us! Yuk yuk yuk … How are we supposed to tell the difference?

Easy … ya hoomans all smell different! So if youze is one of those girly girlz that wears a lot of perfumes, or colognes, or scented loshuns, or scented soaps to make you smell nice to the other two leggers, you seem like a different hooman to us with every new smell! See? With suggies, ya want to be your natural self or at least wear the same smelly stuffs all the time, cuz that is a big way we get to know who you are!

Hope this helps solve yer little pwoblem!

Best smellin dude in the world!
Dear Arnold,

I want a sugar glider just like you! Are you a brown glider? How common are brown gliders?

Needing me own Arnold

Dear Phoenix,

You want yer own Arnold in Arizona? Well, first off me friend, there is only one of me and I already own a hooman! And also, I'm not a brown glider, but a lot of peeples ask this question. My hoomans tried to get all artsy-fartsy when they took me foto on the website and I was under a green umbrella, so it makes me look kinda brown! But I'm of the original and fabulous gray color with a white belly and a black racing stripe and pink nose!

Lots of peeple write to us and tell us about brown sugar gliders, and while there are some gliders that are naturally brown, most of da time, the gliders are just dirty. If we are kept in cages that are too small or never cleaned, we sorta start looking brown cuz of the dirt and grunge that we are always running into.

Back in da days when the SunCoast hoomans were taking in gliders, they had some come in brown, but after some dietary upgrades and clean cages, they miraculously started to get gray again! Go figure!

So, if ya want your own little Arnold, call up Lisa and tell her ya want a fabulous gray baby with a bit of 'tude and make it a tutored male (cuz we're smarter!) and you will have your own little guy like me.

Excuse me Arnold... Lisa here...Who told you that you were tutored?

Lisa, Doctor C tol' me that! Remember when she gave me the sleepy gas and then said something about picking me pockets and I woke up like...Where am I? Who are you? Who ate all me worms?... and Doc C said, it's OK Arnold...You were just "tutored"...

Well Arnold, I think what she meant was neutered. But that's OK, I think you handled yourself quite well today. Except for telling Whitney she was whiney...

Oops ... Sowwy Whitney ... and thank you Phoenix for both of your great questions!

Till next year! I luv you!
Tutor to the Masses

Well, that's all Blokes! Tune in again next month for another 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... Prevention is the Best Medicine
by Dr. C, of course!

In my experience, more new pets are brought home during the holiday season than any other time of year. Most sugar gliders that I've seen in my practice over the years were either suffering from a nutritional deficiency or were injured from another pet or from products that pose direct health risks. In other words, many veterinarian visits and bills are incurred from events that are completely preventable.

Since many of you may have received new sugar gliders (from SunCoast or otherwise) for the Holidays, I'd like to spend some time on safety and give you a partial list of items / products and normal household accessories that I believe you should consider avoiding in order to keep your gliders safe and protected. While this list is by no means intended to be all-inclusive, it does contain the types of items I believe may negatively impact a sugar glider's physical health and directly responds to hundreds of questions we get asked each year.

Leashes and Harnesses

When leashes or harnesses are used for pets, it's important that the item is properly fit to avoid such things as chafing, rubbing and choking. Also, when in a harness or leash, the animal should be able to move in a normal and unrestricted manner. Sugar gliders have an extra fold of skin called the patagium or gliding membrane. Because of the patagium, it is impossible to put a body harness on the animal without restricting the use of the patagium. If the glider attempted to glide from your shoulder to another object, the thin-skinned gliding membrane will be encumbered. I do not recommend the use of leashes and harnesses with sugar gliders. Well-bonded gliders do not need them and zippered bonding pouches are a much better alternative. Sugar gliders also do not respond well to a restrictive feeling on their body, and if you are in a bonding process, use of a leash/harness may very well impede that bonding event.

Hard Pellet Staple Foods

This is a topic I have touched on before and hope to address in a future issue of the GliderVet Newsletter. There is concern that feeding hard pellet foods to sugar gliders can create similar disease conditions to those seen in other types of marsupials, sometimes called "lumpy jaw" in the sugar glider community. However, empirical data is sketchy as this concerns sugar gliders, more here.

Holiday Treats

Please don't give holiday chocolate to ANY of your pets. In most species, it acts as a toxin. I treat many "candy poisoned" animals each season and a few don't recover! And don't leave "treat bars" in the cage either. Treat intake should be restricted to only 5% of the overall diet and the hanging type of bird treats or dried fruit treats allow excessive access to "dessert" type items.

Nail Trimming Devices with no paw pad protection

As many of you know, SunCoast Sugar Gliders has developed a product called the Nail-O-Matic. This product was in development for about two years and is now awaiting full patent status. The Nail-O-Matic is an automatic nail trimmer that works in conjunction with an exercise wheel to make nail trimming easy. The best feature of this product is that it has a raised grid platform to keep the soft pads of the feet elevated above the abrasion surface, avoiding foot irritation problems.

Over the last several months, a couple of companies have decided to "copy" the Nail O Matic. I am compelled to tell you that those who've copied left out the paw pad protection. I want to warn you about such products for two reasons.

First, active runners may develop sores or blisters on the bottom of the feet. Second, running wheels provide an excellent means of exercise, but if the wheel causes their feet to feel uncomfortable they may refrain from using any wheel. This makes obtaining appropriate exercise for your pet much more difficult.

Heat Rocks

This topic has been covered in the past as well. Heat rocks are inexpensively made appliances and the thermostats often break, causing the appliance to become excessively warm. I've treated too many crispy critters over the years including small pocket pets (gerbils, sugar gliders, etc.) and many types of reptiles (lizards, snakes and turtles).

Your best bet is an out of the cage warming device where the animals cannot directly touch either the heat element nor the electrical cords.

Mini Blind Cords

A good suggestion for owners of any indoor pets is to cut the loop on the bottom of all blind cords. Many animals such as sugar gliders, cats, and ferrets can easily get caught in these loops and strangled. A simple precaution that all pet owners would be wise to practice.


Each year, countless numbers of sugar glider lives are lost from drowning in toilets. If you allow your sugar gliders free reign in your home, I suggest that you keep them under your supervision and always close the toilet lids before allowing them out of the cage. Again, this is another very simple precaution you can practice that could very well save your pet's life.

Remember, prevention is the best medicine!

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

SunCoast Sugar Gliders

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