GliderVet Newsletter  |  Sugar Glider Vet Newsletters 2010

GliderVet #103: Shipping Rate and Policy Changes, Dear Arnold, Vets Speak Out (or Not?) on Pellet Food

This Month in the GliderVet Newsletter
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Greetings Glider Groupies, Glider Newbies and Glider Wanna-bes! Welcome to the October 2010 edition of the GliderVet News.

October is Arnold's favorite month here at SunCoast for two reasons. First, Arnold treasures Halloween because he gets to be a "bat" and entertain all the kids in the hood, without even having to shag his patagium out for a new costume! Second, the Halloween distraction means Arnold is a little less harsh on the Glider Gang, giving us a temporary reprieve from our normally iron-fisted Chief Executive Glider - WOO-HOO!!!

Here's what's going on this month in the newsletter. First, SunCoast is making some changes to our shipping policy, so be sure to read on for the skinny. Next, everybody's favorite glider answers some of this month's questions with aplomb, so don't miss, "Dear Arnold"! Finally, last month we closed our newsletter with a request to the community for information on any vets or nutritionists with zoo / exotic experience who do not believe including a high quality pellet food in a sugar glider's nutritional plan is a good idea. We received more feedback than expected, which we'll share.

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.
Shipping Rate and Policy Changes
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by Lisa

We believe one of the greatest services we offer to our customers is our flat rate shipping - a fixed price for shipping no matter how many items you order. From the beginning, SunCoast Sugar Gliders has maintained a flat-rate shipping policy. The $6 flat rate began in February of 2007 and has remained in effect since then. I'm sure you realize from shopping with other sites, and your own experience, that this $6 rate is less than the actual cost we are charged.

And that's OK with us, but over the past 3 1/2 years, the rates UPS charges us have continued to increase, including special charges over $2 per package for residential delivery. Well gee guys, guess where most customers have their packages shipped - to their homes! Despite these increases, we have maintained our $6 flat rate shipping, but the time has come where we are unable to stick with that rate any longer, and will be moving this rate to $8. That's the bad news.

Now for some good news! If you've placed an order with us over the last several weeks, you may have noticed that our shopping cart now offers the flexibility to choose between our flat rate shipping, OR USPS Priority (US Postal Service). You may have also noticed if your order was only for a couple of lightweight items (like pouches), your shipping cost may have even been less than our flat shipping rate.

Pretty cool, huh?! Yes, we're trying our best to minimize the impact of this increase on you, especially for those who order food on a regular basis. Wholesome Balance weighs half what Zookeeper's does for the equivalent food value, due to the Zookeeper's being a moist food (the water increases the weight). In general, light weight packages are likely to cost less than $8 if you select USPS shipping. But even if you need 2 or 3 packages of Zookeepers, you'll still pay no more than $8 to have your order shipped.

To add this USPS option for you, and still maintain a high level of service, we need to move our "ships the same day" cutoff to 2 PM from 4 PM. This means as long as you order by 2 PM on any business day, your order will ship the same day. And, we will be shipping all USPS packages with Delivery Confirmation at no charge to you, so you will still receive an email with an online tracking number.

To summarize, effective November 1, 2010, the new shipping policy will be as follows: Shipping is $8 or Less per Order, No Matter How Many Items You Order. The most you will pay is $8, and we will also offer you a rate from the Postal Service, which you are free to choose if it's cheaper, or if you simply prefer USPS over UPS delivery. We will still be offering 2nd Day Air and 3-Day Select from UPS if you're in a hurry to get your order.

In case it's not clear, heavier packages, such as those containing a cage and / or a variety of heavy supplies, will not cost more than $8 to ship to destinations in the "lower 48" US states, which is still lower than what you pay at most web sites - even for light packages.

We're letting you know about this change in advance in case you need to stock up on anything, and you can take advantage of the last few weeks of the $6 rate before it changes to $8.

Dear Arnold
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by Arnold

Dear Arnold,

Do you think removing odors from cleaning my gliders' cage will cause my gliders to re-mark up their territory again? I've got one female and one male and neither are neutered or spade.

Curious Glider Owner
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Hiya CGO!

Arnold, CGO (Chief Excetuive Glider) here! Just one thing about an intact male glider: he marks. Now if you use smell-remover products in da mornin', he'z probly gonna just sleep all day 'cuz boyz don't usually wake up from deep sleep and say "oh no, it smellz too good in here - time to make it smell allright again!" But at night, yer favey fuzzy might wanna fix his pad back up to da way he likes again.

It creates one of those circles that'll make ya just chase yer tail 'round & round again. Me glider gang is workin' on some experiments on wayz to help controlling intact male odor a lot easier so it'll be less smelly to yer hooman noses. But all in good time, me hooman friend - patience is a vulture...errrr I mean virtue (sowwy, got Hallowheeeen on da mind!). In da meantime, yer best treatment is to have his pockets picked...ya know, neuter him!

Love, your Re-markable Pal,

Arnie;-)

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Dear Arnold,
Mama Bell has two joeys. We had the sleeping pouch out of the cage Monday night and we could see the joeys. They were both out the pouch but nursing. They are getting some fur and they have the strip down the back. Can you guess about how old they are? We first saw one on Sept. 12.

Also, Mama Bell and Dad Jingles have been fighting in the morning.

Mama Bell has been out at night without the joeys, I know that they do that sometimes. The other morning both mama and dad were out and the joeys were in the sleeping pouch, a little while later dad had gone back in the sleeping pouch and mama was still out. How long can the joeys be by theirselves before it is a problem?

I just hope I do right for the joeys. I am kind of concerned about Bell and Jingles fighting and mama Bell getting pregnant again too soon. I also don't want to separate them. Don't want to cause any stress. I am actually scarred of handling them too much, we have been gone a lot lately, don't want upset them.

I think Jingles has taken on the role of a protective dad. Bell on the other had has been a lot calmer and easier to handle. Jingles has started to bite me. I do appreciate all you and your crew does for us, I don't think I would still have my gliders if I didn't have you there to help. I get a lot of needed info from your news letters. Thanks again.

Rachel
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Dear Rachel,
Sounds like youz guyz have lots of jinglin' bells at yer house - yuk yuk yuk! When suggie gliders eyes open, they're probly 'bout ten days OOP. Methinks Jingles may be tryin' to ring Mama's Bell again. Itz not unusual for a male glider to wanna breed right after joeys come out - ya know how boyz can be! But with young babies to care for already, Ma Bell's probly not much in da mood. Maybe you can tell Mr. Jingler Ma's got a headache or sumptin'?!

Ma Bell will start leaving the babies to have some time to herself and Jinglin' Daddy will usually be the one to go back and stay with them. Between Mom and Dad, those babes probly won't be left unsupervised for more than 10-15 minutes.

Not such a good idea to separate Ma & Pa. It may sound kinda harsh, but the best way to prevent breeding is to get ole daddy "de-jingled", if ya know what I mean. Sorry 'bout that, Daddy J - it happens to the best of us!

Jingly Yers,
Arnie Bell
Vets Speak Out (or Not?) on Pellet Food
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by Lisa

In our August and September newsletters, we wrote a two-part series having to do with pelleted foods. Part I was on the topic of many gliders benefiting from access to food during the day. Part II discussed the fact that professionals with experience feeding exotics prefer using pellet foods as part of the diet (not just as a snack) because of this behavior.

In closing last month's article, we posed the following question to the sugar glider community:

"Before we sign off this month, I would like to ask for your feedback on this topic. What we are looking for in particular is ANYONE who has first hand knowledge of a veterinarian or animal nutritionist with zoo or exotic experience who believes that a diet without a good high quality pellet food is the best approach. Many message board members swear up and down that this is absolute truth. Please contact me with a name and phone number of those doctors. I will try my best to contact them for an interview in a future newsletter."

Not one person sent us the name of a vet who is opposed to feeding high quality, animal specific pellets to sugar gliders. What we DID receive was the exact opposite of what we asked for! We received responses from about a half dozen people with the names and phone numbers of their vets who are very much in favor of using a high quality pellet food as part of an overall diet plan with sugar gliders.

The above request also sparked discussions on both the major message boards, Glider Central and Glider Gossip. Many people on those boards favor a "no pellets" approach, but we were not contacted with any vet info. And that's OK! We're not trying to be "right" about diet - everyone has reasons why they approach diet a specific way. We're simply trying to point out that the "all pellets are bad" philosophy is hard to understand, given the evidence of exotic professionals - both vets and nutritionists - endorsing the use of pellets. If you want to know more about why they do, read Part II.

We even received an email from a national zoo in the U.S., who was kind enough to share actual correspondence between the animal keeper, zoo veterinarian and the commissary director regarding Wholesome Balance. There was also quite a bit of feedback from members of the community who expressed "relief" to know they are making a good choice by following their vet's advice and feeding a high quality pellet food as part of their sugar gliders' overall diet plan.

These articles are intended to help glider keepers understand that the majority of experts do indeed support a high quality pellet as part of the diet (not as a treat, but as part of the diet). We know there will always be some people who believe differently, and of course it is their right to do so. We just wish to point out that the widely accepted professional viewpoint on glider diet is that a pellet is a fundamental part of good husbandry practices.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share information and feedback with us on this topic! We're still open to hearing from vets or nutritionists with exotic experience who believe a high quality, animal-specific pellet should not be part of a sugar glider's diet.

'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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