GliderVet Newsletter  |  Sugar Glider Vet Newsletters 2005

GliderVet # 38: Farewell to Debbie, Dear Arnold, Wild Caught Vs. Captive-Bred

This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
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Welcome to the February 2005 edition of the GliderVet Newsletter. Yeah, yeah, we already know that it’s March, but it's been a bit crazy around here (see below). This is the edition planned for February and you will be getting another newsletter toward the end of this month.

The reason we were late getting this newsletter to "press" is due to some late breaking news. We were hoping that we were not going to have to make this announcement because one of our own is leaving due to personal health issues. We’ll share more on this in the first article of this month’s presentation.

Our very own Rebel with Some Paws (Arnold) will be sharing some of his fan mail in this month’s edition of the GliderVet Newsletter. And of course, this newsletter is called GliderVet and our Vet Extraordinaire, Dr C, has chosen her own topic this month. This topic is very near and dear to her heart. As many of you know, Dr C’s full time job is the staff vet of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This aquarium is dedicated to rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals. Since we discussed the events in Indonesia last month, Dr C sees this as a perfect time to share her insight on the practice of capturing wild animals from their native habitats. Indonesia is the largest exporter of wild caught sugar gliders, so read on and learn more about a practice that in our opinion should be banned worldwide!

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.
A Fond Farewell to Debbie
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By Lisa

SunCoast Sugar Gliders was founded quite a few years ago by myself and Debbie. Both of us being avid animal lovers, we saw this is an opportunity to start a breeding organization that would embody the highest standards in this industry. We spent our time at animal fairs, exhibits, pet shops, and flea markets to see just how most people were offering their animals for sale. It didn’t take us long to realize that with sugar gliders, these methods were not the methods we felt good about. It is difficult to provide adequate education in venues like this, nor does it support a great deal of after the sale accessibility.

Jimbo, our webmaster, was an associate of mine for many years in the corporate world. During this time, I worked for three different companies that Jim did consulting work for. Talk about fate that he and I kept crossing paths. And since our launch on the internet, our family from the very beginning consisted of Debbie, Jimbo, Dr C, and of course yours truly. Within a mere month or two, Jim’s wife Barbi decided to defect from the corporate world and is now in charge of running our web store, inventory and distribution. The five of us have worked together closely over these years to try and bring you a site full of timely and qualified information. We also have two part timers that you don’t hear much about, but Sherry and Hope have both been with us for quite awhile, helping in aspects of direct animal care.

So it is with sadness that we bid Debbie a fond farewell. Due to personal health issues, we’ve all agreed that it is in Debbie’s best interests to step back from this demanding work for awhile in order to take care of her own needs. She will be around for a bit longer in order to help us make a smooth transition. Sherry will step up into a role of more responsibility and I will personally be taking over the management of our breeding operation.

One thing we’ve always been attached to here at SunCoast is that we are dedicated to offering quality over quantity. We originally built the "Sugar Shack" to house 300 pairs of sugar gliders, but never went to full capacity. We found that 200 pairs of animals were about all that we could handle in a way that made us all feel very good about what we do here and the comfort of the animals. And it gave us the opportunity to increase housing sizes which is always a winning proposition for the sugar gliders, right?

Being the realist that I am, I know that I will be hard pressed to maintain Debbie’s high standards operating with 200 pairs of animals. So as we’ve been working on our plans over the last few weeks, I’ve made a profound decision that we do need to cut back on the number of animals we keep and breed here at SunCoast. As we are committed to maintaining our quality and continuity in education, product development, and research efforts, we all agree that a smaller breeding operation is the way for us to go at this time.

So what are our plans for these breeding pairs that we wish to relocate? Perhaps you can help us answer this question. We have come up with a price for these animals that we believe is very fair and substantially below market value. I’m not going to state the price here, because we are willing to negotiate price further based upon the number of breeding pairs that any individual entity wishes to procure. And our mission here is to find the best homes for these animals, not to generate the most cash. This always has been and always will be an integral part of our mission at SunCoast. So do expect to go through the same discussion/education process as we would ask of anyone wishing to purchase our baby gliders.

We will not be selling any of our color gliders! As a matter of fact, we are considering some trades right now that will broaden our color glider bloodline. Also, we’ve hinted that we were embarking on some colony breeding experimentation. This project is still alive and one I’m committed to following through over the next several years!

For more information, (sorry, gliders are no longer available). With your help, we can find just the right homes for these precious animals and allow Debbie an opportunity to step out of this business completely for the benefit of addressing her own needs at this time.

Debbie, on a personal note, I wish to say publicly that I think you are one of the best animal breeders I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. For those of you who don’t know Debbie, she is the kind of person that wild animals come up to - she has a true gift with animals. I have no doubt that I can fill in with the same love and passion that Debbie has exhibited for these animals over the years.

I’m sure you all join me in bidding a fond farewell to Debbie. We are proud of all that you’ve contributed to the community and pray for your abundant health and happiness.
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,

What is it about sugar gliders that people find soooo appealing?
All I know is that before I acquired Scrat on Sept. 4. 2004, I had this
perfectly beautiful tiny little bedroom called by friends, neighbors and
family "The Antique Room". It was full of antiques and wonderful knickknacks, many from different countries, such as Australia, Germany, Switzerland, England, and Holland. The room was totally feminine, ornate and charming.

Now that room is bare of at least 90% of the knickknacks, also minus the antique desk, the tea tray table and delicate lamp. The Duncan Phyfe love seat is still in the room and although I keep it covered with a blanket, the gilders love to crawl up under the blanket and run up and down the back, side, and across the cushions of the love seat to the point where the silk like upholstery has hundreds of tiny pulled threads from tiny, sharp sugar glider claws.

There is this huge cage that takes up one wall and sticks out far into the room, (where a beautiful ornate writing desk used to be placed). On top of a perfectly lovely Shaker Style Sewing table is an old towel and on top of the old towel is a Manzanita tree w/multiple toys hanging off the multiple branches. I still have an old curio cabinet in the room that has a towel placed over the top of it because the gliders love to run up and down the length of the cabinet and you know that the gliders are not house trainable.

There are toys inside of the cage and a small wooden basket on the floor with more toys, paper towels, toilet paper, feather teasers, hamster balls, etc. all over the room. I look at the room and think what happened to my pretty Antique room? The room is a mess.

Yet, I love how they climb all over me, I love how they touch their little noses to my lips, I love how all 3 of them will nibble on my left ear, but never the right ear - does my left ear stick out more? I just love it when I'm sitting down on the floor or the love seat and all 3 of them are sitting on me, cleaning their fur, or eating a piece of fruit, maybe a mealworm. I love it when they play chase with each other running up and down my entire body. I love how if I try to leave the room for a few minutes, even though they may all 3 be doing their own thing, as soon as they sense that I am trying to leave, they make mad dashes to run and jump and leap onto my body to keep me from leaving the room.

I keep trying to figure out exactly WHY I find them so charming, I don't know why exactly, I just know that I do.

Earla

Dearest Earla,

Your letter is perfecto! Cause ya see, last month I let everyone peek in me mailbag and see a letter from our friend Deb, and she kept going on and on and on about THE TASTE! For all of youze who wrote in wanting to know more about the TASTE, methinks that Miss Earla got the TASTE big time!

When ya don’t care bout your habitat decorations any more, when ya don’t care that we likes one of your ears and not the other, when ya do just about any'tin to make us happy - that is the TASTE!

Some peeple think they own gliders, but those who realize that gliders like to keep hoomans as their pets, those are the ones who get the full blown experience of THE TASTE!

Earla, where do ya live sweetie? I’ll bite your other ear - yuk yuk yuk! And send me love to Scrat, Jenny, and Baby Noel!

Your pal,
Arnold
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Dear Arnold,

This is just an observation my husband and I have made with our breeders in reference to the daddy taking care of his children. We have watched our "babies" for countless hours in the middle of the night. It is very obvious to us that daddy has quite the part in taking care of his children.

The most amazing to me was to watch daddy direct the kids to the water bottle. He pushed one of them over to it, put a paw on each side of the baby’s head and pushed it to the water bottle spout, back and forth, until water came out. I was just amazed at the part that daddy plays in babysitting, teaching and loving the kids. I would never take daddy away from his children....he is way too involved. I want to thank you for your monthly newsletter - I look forward to each issue. Your time and effort is greatly appreciated.

Karen Allen

Dear Karen!

Wow! What a cool story! So many people write to us and want to take the Daddy’s away from their own joeys and we say that is a big fat no no. Lisa already tole everyone that Daddy’s keep their babies warm and give em piggyback rides and stuff. And now we know that Daddy gliders also like to be the water boy as well! Rock on! OK, gotta go now - this makin' me kinda thirsty!!!

Luvya,
Arnold

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... Wild Caught Vs Captive-Bred
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by Dr. C, of course!

Last month I was asked to address the tsunami disaster in Indonesia, as this country is one of the native habitats of sugar gliders. Now and then, I break away from answering the most frequently asked questions when I believe that a particular topic will have some educational impact on matters that I am personally dedicated. T his is one of those months. I think it a natural segue to stay on the topic of Indonesia for one more month because this country is the largest exporter of wild caught sugar gliders.

This topic is extremely important to me, both from an ethical and health standpoint – wild caught versus captive-bred animals. There are many wild caught animals offered for sale at pet stores, pet expos, and on the web, often at “bargain” prices. I am at a loss to explain how someone can state they “love” or “care about” animals and make such a purchase.

When I first began my career, I worked in Central America with a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wild life caught for the pet trade. This involved a variety of animals from reptiles, parrots, and monkeys to anteaters and jaguars. Without exception, all were malnourished, dehydrated, parasite ridden, and usually diseased from the deplorable, crowded conditions they endured after capture. Animals were often packed on top of each other, with those at the bottom suffering injuries from crushing or suffocation. Entire regions were decimated of wild breeding populations. In some areas, the ecosystems may never recover.

Economically, it is less expensive to overcrowd animals in shipping containers, give inadequate nutrition, and withstand significant mortality of the “product” animals, than it is to provide good nutrition and quality healthcare.

Captive-bred animals, especially those sold by reputable breeders, are more expensive than a wild caught counterpart. This is true whether discussing sugar gliders or reptiles. Breeders tend to place more emphasis on good nutrition and health to ensure their breeding pairs produce offspring. Keeping animals healthy costs money and this is passed on to consumers, but (and this is a critical point) consumers can be assured they are purchasing an animal which received good care, was not abused by traumatic capture and overcrowded shipping, and that the ecology of a wild habitat was not disrupted.

My views on this topic are strong, some might say harsh, but the wild caught pet trade is harsh. Buying wild caught animals sustains this business practice and purchasing a wild caught animal under the guise of rescue is misguided because it propagates the trade. When considering an animal purchase, I encourage you to spend the extra money and buy captive-bred. Join me in helping to end the wild-caught market.

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

Lisa
SunCoast Sugar Gliders

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