GliderVet Newsletter  |  Sugar Glider Vet Newsletters 2008

GliderVet # 81: How Far can Sugar Gliders Fall Safely, Does Breeding Make Gliders Mean, Pets During Renovation

This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter

Greetings Glider Groupies, Glider Newbies and Glider Wanna-bes! Welcome to the November 2008 edition of the GliderVet News.

Arnold’s favorite day of the year - Halloween - has come and gone, and Arnold has put away his Bat Man costume. Now we’re coming up to the biggest holiday event of the year. No, that would not be Arnold’s birthday, although it is coming up! I’m talking about the crazy mad rush time of year where we all show the people that we give thanks for how much we love them. And then perhaps give them a few gifts if they've been nice, not naughty.

Many people get new family pets for the holidays and if you are thinking sugar gliders might make a great addition to your family, we suggest you revisit our past newsletter about giving sugar gliders as holiday gifts. Please be considerate when making this choice.

Each year, Arnold makes a couple of selections of new toys he’d like to see in his home. He’s always wondered why the tree we get is too big to put in his personal space, so one of the Arnold’s selections is a holiday tree just for sugar glider home adornment! To check out the glider play stimulatin' Holiday Lolly Tree, click here.

And for a bouncy glider ride surprise, check out the Pom Pom Rebounder. These stretchy bungee toys are only available in limited supply, so if you have your eye on one, better glide in quick, 'cuz when they’re gone … they’re gone!

This month we’re gonna grab a couple of emails from our inbox on bonding and breeding sugar gliders. If your bonding environment is really tall (a Camp Shower?), how far can sugar gliders fall safely? Plus, will breeding sugar gliders make them mean, or are they just being protective? These pressing questions will be answered!

Then we’ll wrap up with a discussion about keeping your pets safe while doing home renovation projects. Taking on a renovation project before the holidays? Be sure to read this article.

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.

How Far can Sugar Gliders Fall Safely?
by Lisa

The case of the "Camp Shower Bonder"

I picked up a camp shower room at KMart which is great for playing with my suggies. It's tall enough that I can stand up in it, the ceiling is mesh so they can climb all over it and it has a small footprint for the space. I was using a kid tent, but it was getting a bit hot after being in there for a while and after one of the rods broke, I found out that a replacement would be more than I paid for the tent.

I know animals that live in trees are pretty tough. I saw a squirrel when I was in college fall out of a tree when a twig broke around the second or third story dorm window, hit the ground, stand up, clean off and run right back up the tree. I've clothes-pinned some old sheets to the inside of my shower tent where there isn't mesh, but sometimes they come off or the suggies jump at someplace they can't grab onto and slide down the tent wall to the ground.

I know that six feet isn't much compared to two stories, but I worry that they are going to hurt themselves. How much do I need to be concerned about that kind of thing? I don't want to be so conservative that they don't have any gliding room.

Luna & Scuttle
Hi Liz, Scooter, Luna & Scuttle!

Sugar gliders can glide about 150 feet in the wild. That is half the length of a football field. Granted, they must begin from a very high place! Gliders are built well for long jumping and I doubt there is anything in a single story home that would be too challenging for a glider to handle. I’ve had quite a few people send in pictures from two story loft homes with gliders jumping down to furniture from lofts with grace and ease.

After you sent your email, I began checking into these camping tents and I see they come in a variety of sizes and styles. I think with the right configuration this could be a great alternative to tent bonding, particularly for those of us who are “middle aged” and keep forgetting to show up at yoga class! A camping shower can easily fit a chair and if it is fully enclosed would create a nice private enclave to keep your gliders safe - and to force close interaction.

Bigger is not better if you are just beginning to bond with new gliders, but if your gliders are fully bonded, then you could go for the larger model as that close interaction no longer needs to be "forced". Bonded gliders will want to jump to you, on you, and give you those unexpected and beloved face hugs! I think a camping shower and a pair of goggles along with some yogurt drops is a good alternative to the small junior dome tents that are so popular with new glider keepers. Kids love the tent idea, but those of us who may be less flexible could be infinitely more comfortable in a camping shower.

Thanks for the tip Liz and Gang! Face hugs to you for a great idea!

Will Breeding Gliders Make Them Mean?
by Lisa

Dear SunCoast!

If I mated a male sugar glider would it make him mean? I have looked and searched but some say definitely, while others say no way. Thanks for answering!

Dear Danielle!

If your sugar gliders are bonded before they breed, I would say that breeding them will not make them mean. It could, however, make them behave in a very protective manner that some people may misinterpret as being mean.

We have a few gliders around here (well, maybe more than a few) and some of them are so fun and outgoing with us until joeys start to come out of pouch. We know their individual personalities and nuances and some would prefer to be given space when they have young joeys. This is a natural instinct kicking in where their instinct overrides their relationship with their people.

Not all sugar gliders exhibit this protective behavior; some actually grab my hand as if they are trying to get me to come inside of the nest box to see their new babies.

So you see, some gliders want to show off, some gliders would prefer to be given space. This can be true of either males or females (or both) and you won’t know how it will go until you actually have the experience. Others will be happy for you to share the experience. It really is an individual thing.

If you do let your gliders breed and they do exhibit a protective behavior, then give them the space they are asking for. I think it is really important that you keep their stress levels down, particularly when breeding them. Once the babies are old enough, many will revert to their pre-parenting nature.

Keeping Pets Safe while Renovating
by Lisa

Taking on major renovation projects has always been of concern to me because of the “kids”. My “kid core” is comprised of 7 adult sugar gliders, one big dog, and our newest family member Maxine, a 7 year old Himalayan cat. Like many homes, we keep a variety of compatible pets and with each brings a challenge to the process of renovating the space.

I had a recent contact from a lady who was having some work done at her house. While in her home, a worker opened the glider cage to peek in and then did not secure it. Without going into further detail, there was an unhappy ending for one of her sugar gliders. Good news is that she has found a new friend for the lonely glider.

With the popularity of 'stay-cations' this year, I've noticed a lot of people seem to be using their time to take care of some long awaited home-based projects in preparation for the holidays. I've seen folks doing all sorts of home projects, including painting homes, refinishing hardwood floors, replacing windows, etc. so I thought this might be a good time to share a few recommendations for keeping our curious pets safe and sound during any sort of remodeling project.

Watch for these issues particular to sugar gliders:

1) If remodeling a kitchen, make sure you have access to refrigeration to keep fresh foods on hand for your sugar gliders. We humans have lots of alternatives for sourcing food, but your gliders need access to their special diet which often requires refrigeration. The good news is small "dorm room" fridges are fairly inexpensive if you need an alternative to your own fridge to store glider goodies.

2) If having electrical work done, make sure it doesn’t impact your refrigeration or if in cold climate, the heat in the glider room. "Roughing it" can be fun, but remember your glider really wants to be in an environment that is between 70 and 85 degrees. A sugar glider's body temp is only 2 degrees different from yours; if you are uncomfortable, so is your sugar glider.

3) Make sure your work crew does not just help themselves to a peek in cages that seem uninhabited during the day, because the gliders are all fast asleep in their sleeping pouch. They probably won't open a cage they see a bird in because they know what to expect from that experience; not so with a sugar glider that wakes up suddenly and is scared by the presence of an "unfamiliar tree".

And in general, for all pets, including gliders:

4) Protect your pets from excessive sanding and demolition dust. Close them up in a distant room or other end of the house and make sure the work area is sealed to keep construction dust inside.

5) Protect your pets from excessive and out of the ordinary noise. Playing classical music in the room they are in seems to relax pets who are shut in another room and may have anxiety about that.

6) Protect your pets from fumes emitted from cleaners, paints, solvents and other re-finishing chemicals. Close off any vents in the room, particularly if you are painting a room with an air return vent. It is important to protect your pets from fumes that may be experienced from paints, varnishes and other finishes.

7) Make sure your pets are not able to take themselves for a walk when workers leave doors open. When you have contractors coming in and out doing demolition and reconstruction, doors are nearly always left open. Workmen are not going to close doors with every entry and exit because they are usually carrying something.

We often learn valuable lessons the hard way and I hope this advice helps you avoid any unnecessary trauma on yourself or your pets. Renovating in itself has its challenges. One hazard of kitchen renovation could easily be human weight gain if you've taken out your refrigerator and stove. The temptation of fast food could impact that svelte waistline. So do your self a favor and eat from the glider fridge! While I'd pass on the mealworms, the fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt and eggs all make great snacks. Sugar Gliders do eat a very healthy diet after all!

'Til next time, in good health for you and your sugar gliders!

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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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