GliderVet Newsletter  |  Sugar Glider Vet Newsletters 2006

GliderVet # 61: Freezing Foods, Introducing in a Tent, What Does Crabbing Sound Like?, One Glider a Good Idea?

This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
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Greetings Glider Groupies, Glider Newbies and Glider Wanna-bes! Welcome to the March edition of the GliderVet News. We’ve been covering some heavy (and important) topics lately, and due to the nature of the information, Arnold has been pre-empted from his usual place of prominence. So this month, we’ll be catching up on some of those great emails that Arnold gets on a regular basis. As usual, he will do his best to make learning about gliders fun and easy … so easy even a caveman can do it! So glide on in for Arnold’s Q & A session, where he strives for 90% great information and the other half just plain pure fun! (Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk)

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.
Dear Arnold - Is freezing food OK?
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Hi! Just wanted to share a helpful tip we've learned with Roxanne. I buy fresh fruit and yogurt and freeze it so I can give a small bit at a time and not waste so much. I chop the fruit up into small pieces and mix it all together in a freezer bag. I dump a small container of yogurt in a freezer bag and squish it flat. Throw them both in the freezer, then come dinner time I break off a piece of frozen yogurt, grab a few pieces of fruit, and let them thaw at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes and serve. Not only do I not have to worry about variety, but we no longer have hardly any waste. With 2 food bowls for her, she works on the stuff that's "OK" while the "good" stuff defrosts - she knows what it means when I open the freezer now and perches on my shoulder waiting, impatiently, but still....have seen her sit and stare at the freezer like she's trying to figure out how to get in there too!! Hope someone can use our idea!

Rebecca, with a little help from Roxanne
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Hi Becky Boo and Roxy Roo!

Arnie Poo here...

Thanks so much for yer email. That is a cool, errrr, I mean a really cold idea! Ya see, here at my house, we have enuff suggies around that there isn’t much waste, but when ya have only two li’l sugah boogahs, it’s a great idea to freeze yer fresh stuff to use later. And of course, ya already know that variety is important and that proteens other than just yogurt should be given us too. Ya can freeze boiled chicken and we’ve even frozen the boiled egg concoction that we get once per week.

This is also a great idea if you need glider sitters while you are on vacation. Put yer foods in individual plastic cups from Sammy’s Club and then put the whole meal in a ziploc bag so yer housesitters don’t neglect us in any way! And make sure your housesitter has a good list including treats (which we absolutely need to have). One of the biggest sad stories we hear is that peeples tell their sitters what to feed, but forget to emphasize that we DO get thirsty. Ya don’t need to freeze the water, but DO remind everyone to check ours daily.

My Mum keeps me canned bugs in the fridge to keep 'em fresh. Hmmm - me wonders what a frozen bug would taste like. Do you think it would be like a cricket-cicle?

Thanks for the chillin’ news!

Luv Ya,
ATS

Dear Arnold - Introducing Gliders In a Tent
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Hi!! Just wanted to let you know how Roxanne and Riley are doing. I was really concerned about Riley being OK with an older glider who is very set in her ways (and spoiled rotten). But, amazingly enough, they are doing wonderfully.

Our first experience together was in the tent. My son and I brought them both in, zipped it up, and turned them loose. Riley followed Roxanne everywhere and things seemed to be going so well I decided to go ahead and make sure there would be no issues over food. I handed Roxanne one of her favorites, a cricket (Riley was still just staring at them at that point, wasn't sure what to do with them). She promptly hopped over to Riley and was chewing up pieces of cricket and then hand feeding him. It was so sweet.

I gave her a second cricket and she shared that one (one bite for me, one for you). After a week of sharing, I can now hand them each one and Riley immediately goes straight for Roxanne. He just holds his (not an easy feat, the little buggers are squirmy) and Roxanne shares hers, he gives her his, and they share that one. He seems to think he's supposed climb on her back and ride around too! They bathe each other, you just wouldn't believe.

They are truly best of friends now, in just over a week. They "share" everything, including me. Roxanne lets Riley get settled under my shirt then she joins him, arranging his position to suit her, and then they snuggle with me together. It's been amazing watching the bonding process. I'm so glad I've gotten to watch them learn to love each other as much as I love them both!

Rebecca Shepley
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Hiya Rebecca Shepley,

You AGAIN! Nyuk nyuk nyuk. I don’t usually share so much of my space with just one other suggie, but since you are talkin' about sharing in this email, well I reconsidered meself.

Do ya think if I come over they would share with me too!? After all, sharing is a really good thing, specially when I’m the one being shared with. My Mum just gives me canned crickets most of da time - I haven’t had a good squirmer in at least six months! I do get live mealies tho.

I think ya did a real smart thing letting Roxeanne and Riley get to meet each other in a tent for the first time! Little Riley sure is a cute little booger. I got to kiss his nose before he left SunCoast and I’m glad that his new friend is treating him so well. If only I’d known this. I may have had to sneak in that bonding pouch you left with!

Now I get paid the big buck(et)s (of worms) to say smart stuff - and I just wanna say that when gliders are becoming new friends, having a good controlled environment with a peeple person there in case they start pulling each others hair like bad kids is sooper important. Usually when ya have an older glider and a younger glider, ya should usually wait until they get close in size and I remember ya tellin us that Roxy was a petite gal and Riley rather big for his age. It sounds to me like she was really lonely and that she might have always wanted a son like Riley Roo!

Awesome job Rebecky! Keep up the great work and thanks for writing to me two times!

Arnold, The Squire of Squirmy

Dear Arnold - Crabbing
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Dear Arnold,

I was brushing my teeth with my electric toothbrush when my sister came bursting in the door, she looked at me all confused and said "I thought you had those gliders in here with you." I have never heard anyone compare my sugar gliders' crabbing to an electric toothbrush before. LOL

Marissa
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Dearest Marissa,

What can I say? Your toothbrush makes your smile pretty! Suggies make your smile pretty too! Spending time with your toothbrush at least twice a day is important! Spending time with your suggies at least twice a day is important. Foaming at the mouth is unattractive! Foaming on your suggies is not recommended. Four out of five veterinarians will tell you that sugar gliders and other animal pals are good for your health! Four out of five dentists agree!
Other funny things we’ve heard about our “get away from me, ya bother me kid” sound, or as you peeps like to call it - “crabbing” are as follows:

A old car engine that won’t start
A broken electric pencil sharpener
Aliens from outta space
Barking (which should not be confused with the very cute barking sound we also make)
Fussin’
Grumbling
Screeching
Grinding

This infamous sound is kinda unique to us and we only do it to show our displeasure with sumptin' going on. Make us happy, make us chirp! Here’s a link so ya can hear a crabby sound. Click here, and then click the word "crabbing".

Now listen again with yer speakers up really high! And now that you’ve run away like a scaredy baby - GO BRUSH YOUR TEETH!

Keep on smilin', Marissa! Me Arnie is no member of the C.R.A.B club. That would be the Coalition for Ridiculously Aggravated Beasts!

Later!
Arnold
Does Suncoast Sugar Gliders Sell Single Sugar Gliders? ===========================
By Lisa

When we started this website and began accumulating information for inclusion, some of it was from our own experience, and some of it was from the experiences of others. Since I have dedicated my life to the care, nurturing, learning and teaching about sugar gliders, I feel fortunate to have a constantly ringing phone and voluminous amounts of email with messages from people worldwide. Many of these people are, of course, interested in adding sugar gliders to their homes; others are seeking advice for their particular situations at hand, while others are simply wishing to share their experiences and observations of their own sugar gliders. This has given me an incredible opportunity to learn a great deal about gliders and the point of this newsletter is to share such information.

An area that still puzzles me is that a large number of sugar gliders are still being sold as solo pets and misinformation abounds in regards to keeping gliders with buddies of their own kind. From our own research and a tremendous amount of shared experiences, in most cases, I will say unequivocally that sugar gliders are not well suited to being kept as solo pets. Yet most pet stores, flea market vendors, show vendors and small breeders are more than happy to sell single sugar gliders and often advise this is the best way to keep them, saying gliders with glider friends will never bond to you.

You can take my word for it, or we can look at this logically. Sugar gliders are colony animals in the wild. Their tendency is to stay in colonies that interact nearly constantly. If you have ever had the opportunity to see how a colony sleeps together (and that can even be the smallest colony size of two), you can’t tell where one animal starts and the other leaves off. They are a clinging mass of fur and tails and noses and paws.

Dogs are also pack animals, but they don’t sleep in the orderly tangle that gliders do. And I call it an orderly tangle because my gliders tend to occupy the same position in the giant ball of sleeping fur. Arnold, who is the smallest in his foursome, is always on the bottom of the pile. I can actually put my hand in the pouch and without seeing them, know who is who by position.

When I first started pursuing my passion for sugar gliders, I admit that I did adopt out some of my babies to homes as solo pets. I let myself get talked into it because the person worked from home and was always there, or was homebound or was employed in a manner that allowed the glider to be with them constantly. Unfortunately, more often than not, it doesn’t work out well for the single-kept glider in the long run for many reasons.

For example, there is almost always a problem when the primary caretaker human cannot be present. Solo-kept gliders tend to become overly dependent on a single person for all of their needs being met, including those very important socialization needs. You never know when you may end up hospitalized or have to leave town on short notice due to a family emergency.

Even if you have a bad case of the flu and can’t get out of bed, this solo glider is highly prone to depression with behavior disorders that can escalate into its early demise. I truly hate to be morbid, but single kept gliders become overly dependent on their primary caretaker, and that person’s absence often spells trouble for the innocent little critter. What kind of trouble? Specific behavior patterns we hear about are refusal to eat (leading to death by starvation), over-grooming to the point of self mutilation and a couple of reported cases where the sugar gliders basically committed suicide by disembowelment.

What often happens is that people experience some lifestyle change that makes the relationship with a single sugar glider no longer feasible on a several hour per day commitment. And introducing older single gliders to new companions later in life can be challenging. I think, given enough time away from other gliders, some gliders lose a true sense of their own nature. As social as gliders are, they are also territorial, so getting a companion later in life may not work out. This is a distinct possibility and one that should be considered when the animal is still young.

Fact is, keeping two or more gliders is no more difficult than keeping one. I actually believe that keeping multiple gliders is a lot easier. If they have a large cage, toys for stimulation and each other, they can be quite happy. I don’t feel guilty if I can’t spend several hours with mine because I know they have each other.

I often get told by keepers of single gliders that they know their glider is happy. But my question to that is “How do you know?” What do you have to compare it with? If you are not familiar with a normal, well adjusted glider's behavior patterns, activity levels and food consumption levels, it is a really hard argument to make about an animal’s happiness and contentment.

Even those people who are able to spend many hours daily with their pet, the solo sugar glider is not able to snuggle up with another glider and be part of that orderly tangle of fur and tails. I have strong feelings that this part of nurture is integral to their nature.

Several years ago I found real peace in my position on gliders being kept as solo pets. Mother Nature created these animals as colony dwellers, to live and play and forage amongst their own. Who am I to tell Mother Nature she did it wrong and we can do it better? When it comes to placing our joeys in new homes, we let Mother Nature remain the boss on this topic. We will not sell single sugar gliders unless the family already has at least one glider and is prepared to properly introduce them into a colony.

I have said this before, but it is worth repeating. Keeping exotic pets is a privilege we have, not a right. And if we choose to exercise this privilege, we should do so in a way that honors the animals’ true nature. In other words, it is inadvisable to try and make them into something they are not. The risk for depression and behavior disorders is too high and it is unfair to their needs as they were created. The analogy of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole fits well here.

I appreciate the opportunity to editorialize this month. I tend to avoid this type of presentation in this newsletter, but one of our missions here at SunCoast is to raise the standards in the breeding and pet industry and I feel that this statement is necessary if we are staying true to our mission.

'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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Viva La Glider! Arnold

Lisa
SunCoast Sugar Gliders

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