GliderVet Newsletter  |  Sugar Glider Vet Newsletters 2005

GliderVet # 45: Weekly Menu for Feeding Sugar Gliders

This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
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As Thanksgiving nears, what is the first thought that pops into your mind about this very special holiday? Do you think about everything you are grateful for? Or is your first thought about that sumptuous meal you are soon to enjoy? Or is a little of both? Well, there’s your first hint about the content of this month’s GliderVet Newsletter.

First, we would like to begin by expressing our sincere gratitude to all our customers for your continued patronage to Arnold’s sugar glider supply store. Without you, none of this would be possible. We would also like to thank all the community members who have shared special stories and asked so many important questions over the years - you have helped to make this newsletter the top source for sugar glider periodical news available in the world!

Of course, no Thanksgiving celebration would be complete without the accompanying feast to celebrate our gratitude, so our feature article this month will be an example of weeklong menu used here at SunCoast Sugar Gliders! We hope this menu will help make the most important part of sugar glider care easy for you. This menu is based upon the suggestions of our own Dr C, who does not work for NASA, by the way (lots of sugar glider newbies embarking on internet-based research missions often come away feeling like you have to be a rocket scientist to feed our little fur buddies properly!)

With years of experience on a large numbers of sugar gliders, we’re here to tell, and SHOW you that some general knowledge, a bit of creativity and a few minutes each day is all you really need to be the gourmet health food chef that your sugar gliders deserve.

And thanks to Arnold, we'll hear new words of wisdom this month as he shares his views in another exciting episode of Dear Arnold. And for the grand finale…..Let’s Eat (everyone's favorite!)

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.
Katrina Fundraiser: I’m Dreaming of a White (Face) Christmas! ===========================

The last couple of months, we have coordinated efforts with several other breeders to raise money for the benefit of those affected by Hurricane Katrina. We raised several thousand dollars with our fundraising efforts, which was forwarded directly to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. We are extremely grateful to all participants for extending a helping hand to those in need!

But we're not done yet. With the holidays just around the corner, perhaps you've been dreaming of a white (face) holiday wish. Well, this just may be the year that wish gets fulfilled! One breeder had arranged to generously donate a white face male glider for the Katrina auctions. Because our Katrina fundraising efforts are now complete, this handsome little guy - now 8 weeks out of pouch - is being offered to the first qualified buyer for $500! So don’t delay because he's bound to glide right out the door - contact Sheila today at (sorry, no longer available).

Once we find a good home for this little guy, we have a whole bunch of other white face gliders that will be available at varying intervals over the next 5 weeks! How many more you ask? Seven more gliders and the asking prices on these range from $400 - $600, depending on lineage. It is a rare event to have access to so many of the rare and special colors at one time and a great opportunity to procure an unrelated male/female pair of rare colors! But do hurry and reserve now! We have serious interest in four of the eight available gliders already and I don’t expect this offer will be open very long! All offers will be considered in the order they are received. Contact me at (Sorry, no longer available). And our own resident Kris Kringle, who prefers to be called Sandy Paws, will help us in making the selections!

For those of you who aren’t in the market to expand your glider family at the moment, here’s another opportunity to share in the sugar glider holiday spirit! Our brand new holiday dangler toys have arrived and Sandy Paws says there have been a whole lot of requests from sugar gliders everywhere!

We hope all of you good little humans and good little gliders enjoy our holiday offerings this year! And it is now my honor to present to you, the one, the only … Sandy Paws.…errrr.…I mean, Arnold!

Here comes the fuzz!
Another Exciting Episode of … DEAR ARNOLD
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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! And now … for more "thinking outside of the pouch" advice … here's Arnold!

Dear Arnold,

I have a trio of gliders (2 females and 1 male). I would like to breed the girls once, but then am planning on neutering the male. Will his scent glands on his head and chest go away and will the girls accept him when I bring him home?

Satyniksmurf

Dear Smurf person,

You betcha britches the girly gliders will recognize their boyfriend when he comes home from the doctor after getting his pockets picked! I’ve lived me whole life with my gal pals, Janine and Naomi, and when I was about 6 months old, Dr C made me sleepy and picked my pockets one time when I wasn’t looking. And I woke up feeling all groggy and stuff and before me knew what happened, I was right back home with my gals. And I remember some mumbo jumbo going on around me that my Mommy Tree, Lisa, was to make sure the girls weren’t paying too much attention to me and me missing parts cuz I had some stitches, ya see?

But the girls was just happy to have me home with them and all was well. And I was a good boy and didn’t cry or nuttin! And then about a month later, I saw I no longer suffered from male pattern baldness and all me hair grew back on top of my head and that funny spot on my chest got to looking all handsome again! Not that me would ever NOT be handsome, but methinks me looks more handsomer now with all me head hair again!

With empty pockets and a full head of hair,
Your pal, Arnold

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Dear Arnold,

Does it hurt sugar gliders to take them out in the sun?

Anonymous195

To Anonymous195:

Does it hurt for us suggies to be in the sun? Is that what you are asking me? Well, I’ve been in the sun and it doesn’t hurt, but me eyeballs don’t like much light, ya know. Here’s the scoop, Slim. If ya take ya mahvelous mahsupials out during the day, bring along a bonding pouch, or wear a shirt with a pocket and leave it up to us to decide if we wanna get out of the light. We ain’t stoopid, ya know. We’ll get out of the light if it bothers our eyeballs! Just give us the option and us smart little glide masters will do what feels good! And if it feels good to rest the ole eyes, then we’ll seek that dark place. Constant access to a dark place for suggies to rest eyes is indeed a bright idea!

Mucho Thank You-o’s for your question.
A.T.S.

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.
Example: Sugar Glider Weekly Menu
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based on recommendations by Dr C

The following is an example of the menu used here at SunCoast on a weekly basis; it's the "diet in action" version of the Suncoast Diet plan described here. We vary the menu seasonally as the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables change. We highly recommended sticking to fresh fruits and vegetables and avoiding canned and baby food alternatives as typical meal servings. To periodically substitute frozen produce, or baby food fruit and vegetable formulas is acceptable, but usage of these alternatives should be the exception and not the rule.

There are numerous previous articles stored in our archive pages that you can refer to that will help guide you to appropriate modifications of these food selections and explain dietary considerations more in depth. But for those of you who just need a simple, easy to follow plan, then stick with this guide as closely as you can. The fruits and veggies we typically select fit within overall guidelines as suggested by Dr C, considering calcium / phosphorus ratios and the protein selections are made with a low overall fat content.

This is the diet plan we use for our breeding sugar gliders, which require a higher protein intake than non-breeding gliders. You may modify this diet for non-breeding gliders by skipping the protein offering for three of the seven days on the menu.

The diet is also presented in serving sizes meant for two sugar gliders. If you have more gliders, you will have to adjust the portions accordingly (we hope you don’t have only one glider.) Expect to have leftover food each day. Also remember, just because a glider ignores something on one day does not mean the glider doesn’t like it. We often see the whole colony eat lightly on some nights and suspect it may be an environmental influence. Please note: for any item with a "*" or ** or *** see the bottom of the menu for more info - fruit portion size, methods for serving supplements, and Concoction you can substitute for regular menu when you don't have the time to follow it or will not be around.

We feed the gliders all offerings on the menu at one time, in the late evening or early night. All uneaten fresh food should be removed each morning, except leftover Wholesome Balance.

Monday:
- One Tablespoon of Wholesome Balance or fresh ZooKeeper's Secret (toss any uneaten ZooKeeper's from previous day)
- One serving of melon* with supplement sprinkled** (watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew)
- Mealworms (8-12 worms per sugar glider, depending on the size of the worms)
- Fresh water

Tuesday:
- One Tablespoon of Wholesome Balance or ZooKeeper's Secret
- One serving of carrots (wash them and sprinkle supplement while still wet)
- Crickets (3-5 per sugar glider, depending on the size of the crickets)
- Fresh water

Wednesday:
- One Tablespoon of Wholesome Balance or ZooKeeper's Secret
- One serving apples with supplement sprinkled or you can mix supplement with eggs (gliders seem to prefer red apples, particularly 'red delicious' apples)
- Canned Grasshopper (1 per glider) or 1 Tablespoon of mashed boiled eggs mixed with apple juice
- Fresh Water

Thursday:
- One Tablespoon of Wholesome Balance or ZooKeeper's Secret
- Mealworms
- A tropical fruit (usually mango or papaya) with supplement sprinkled
- Fresh Water

Friday:
- One Tablespoon of Wholesome Balance or ZooKeeper's Secret
- One tablespoon of yogurt (NO aspartame!) with supplement mixed in well (did you know yogurt contains 26% protein?)
- One serving of sweet potatoes or yams
- Fresh Water

Saturday:
- One Tablespoon of Wholesome Balance or ZooKeeper's Secret
- 1 Tablespoon of mashed boiled eggs mixed with apple juice with supplements
- Sugar snap peas or green beans
- Fresh water

Sunday:
- One Tablespoon Wholesome Balance or ZooKeeper's Secret
- Two Tablespoons of “Concoction” ***
- Fresh Water

*Fruit and veggie servings are equated to the equivalent of 1/8 of a large apple for two gliders. For less dense foods that have a higher water content, such as melon, you would offer a larger piece. For denser foods, like sweet potato, you would offer a slightly smaller piece. Portion control is very important!

**There are several ways to get gliders to eat the vitamin and calcium supplement. Because we are offering supplements to a large number of gliders each day, we've found the easiest way for us to administer the Vionate Vitamins and RepCal Calcium is to mix them with Arnold's Choice Possum Milk Replacer. This makes the supplement presentation taste good and attracts the gliders to it. With many gliders, using only the vitamins and calcium supplements directly on food will make them "ignore" the food.

We mix the formula with one part Vionate, one part Green Label RepCal, and two parts Milk Replacer. Put it in a cheese shaker and give a single generous sprinkle to only one course of the nightly meal, about 1/4 teaspoon for each pair of gliders (1/8 teaspoon each). This method is fine whether you have two gliders or many gliders.

The vitamins taste a bit icky and the calcium tastes like chalk. By adding the possum milk replacer (which tastes like cake mix), we are flavorizing the supplements to make them more appealing. It just makes things easier and will prevent them from avoiding foods that have been supplemented.

A second method to offer the supplements is to mix into juice or nectar ice cubes. This turns the process of giving supplements from chore to treat! Combine 32 ounces of apple juice or peach nectar with 1 Teaspoon of Vionate and & 1 Teaspoon of Rep-Cal Calcium.

Then pour this mixture into 30 ice cubes and freeze. Serve one cube per night for 2 sugar gliders and one cube every other night for 1 sugar glider. Nectar works better because it's thicker and the supplements will suspend a bit longer as you pour trays. Either way, juice or nectar, poor quickly after blending so that the majority of the supplements don’t sink to the bottom of the pitcher before pouring.

An alternate method to administer supplements is to give a pinch of just the vitamins and calcium supplements (without Milk Replacer) to your gliders each day, but we highly recommend that you "hide" it well in the food offering, not always easy to do when your evening menu choices are not conducive selections for mixing in vitamins. Many gliders will avoid foods if they have too much vitamin taste or too much chalky calcium taste.

The most important issue here is that you give your sugar gliders supplements on a regular basis. Captive diets require the necessity of calcium in order to maintain nutritional balance. Calcium deficiency diseases are amongst the most common ailments that sugar gliders contract. And vitamins are necessary for calcium absorption amongst many other beneficial qualities. Offering supplements is as important to the diet as feeding proper foods in proper portions.

*** Concoction is what we feed on days when we are not around all day, like Sundays and major holidays. You can make it in advance, and if feeding a lot of animals, then a quick scoop per cage and they have their full meal in one casserole-looking-goop! We use one ounce of white chicken meat, one tablespoon vanilla yogurt, one tablespoon of applesauce, and the supplements.

Bon Appetit!

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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

Lisa
SunCoast Sugar Gliders

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