Friday, October 14, 2011

Fun Fact Friday: Sugar Gliders

It's been a while since Fun Fact Friday has made an appearance and what better way to bring it back but to put Sugar Gliders in the spotlight? Surprised?
I didn't think so.

Fifteen Fun Facts About Sugar Gliders
1. Most of them only grow to be about six inches long. This tiny six inches does not include their long, prehensile tail.
2. Sugar Gliders have opposable thumbs, which means you better lock your cage up well or they will figure out how to escape.
3. The "gliding membrane" goes from the Sugar Glider's wrist to ankle and is what helps them with their gliding. (It is this membrane, opposable thumbs and prehensile tails that makes them able to be active in many different ways. They can climb, glide, hang by their tails and grab on tight with their hands).
4. There is a lot of misinformation out on the internet about Sugar Gliders, as there is about most everything else. So, it is important to find credible sources and do a lot of research. I.E. there is a video series that has a lot of good information, but it is sponsored by a specific brand of Glider pellet food that claims to be a complete diet. The vet in the video series says that this particular food is the only good one for Gliders. If there are claims that exclude every other option out there, investigate the source further to ensure they are not biased.
5. Sugar Gliders do not like draughts or being cold. It is said that the room that houses your Sugar Gliders' cage should be between 70 and 90 DG F. If you are comfortable wearing a short sleeve shirt, your Sugies are probably comfortable. To combat your Sugies getting cold many products have been designed. There are problems with some of these products. So, again, do your homework. I.E., Sugar Gliders can be chewers on certain objects like electrical wires. There is a company who says that your Sugar Glider "needs" a heat rock in his/her cage. The heat rock not only plugs in and has wires running out of your Sugar Glider's cage, but your Sugar glider could also become dehydrated or accidentally burned if the rock is turned up too high or if the thermostat malfunctions. The wires alone, to me, would make this product unsuitable for Sugar Gliders. (Oh, and don't think you're being smart by placing them near your heat vent. Sure it's warm there, but they don't like draughts either remember)?
6. Sugar Gliders are marsupials and USUALLY have two Joeys at a time.
7. Sugar Gliders can be taught to bond to their human Mom and/or Dad with gentle, confident handling. Sugar Gliders do NOT need a harness and leash to teach them to stay with you. The harnesses marketed at Sugar Glider owners are dangerous as they can entangle a Sugar Glider and/or cut their "gliding membrane." Some sources even say that putting a harness on your Sugar Glider will impede the bonding process rather than speed it up.
8. When purchasing a home for your Sugar Glider height of the cage is more important than width or depth. They need gliding room! Also, ensure that the bars are no bigger than a half inch apart because any bigger and Joeys could make a great escape. The bars must also be covered in PVC coating or plastic to ensure your Glider's safety. (Cages lacking a coating  could cause zinc poisoning).
9. Male Sugar Gliders, when not neutered, display two bald patches; one on their heads and the other on their chests. These are scent glands and when neutered will dry up, reducing the "sweet musky" smell that is associated with the male. If neutered before reaching sexual maturity, which is usually at about a year old, the bald spots will never appear.
10. Sugar Gliders are inherently clean. They groom themselves frequently-sort of like a cat-and each other. They may scent mark the bars of their cage, but that is easily wiped down. Healthy Sugar Gliders do not stink. They may have a softer animal smell-as every other creature, including humans do-but they are not smelly, unclean critters. In fact, you will probably never bathe one.
11. Sugar Gliders bond to their human(s) primarily through scent. Therefore, don't be surprised if you stop smoking, change your scented lotion or don't wear perfume and your Sugar Glider suddenly doesn't know you. You smell different to them and thus you are not the same person. (A little helpful tip I read about helping to bond is to not wash your hands right before handling your Sugar Gliders. The Glider will smell soap instead of you and you have also washed your human smell away). Also, most sources agree that when bonding with Sugies, getting them used to more than one person's scent is not confusing. I was relieved after reading this since our new babies will need to bond to both Mr. K and I.
12. Healthy Sugar Gliders are grey with a black stripe down their backs. in North America breeders have started breeding for colour variations, but this basically means that consumers are paying more money for a genetic mutation. (It was the same with rare coloured cats/dogs).
13. Apparently, once a Glider is bonded to you, you can take it everywhere in a pocket. I read a story that told of a girl taking her Glider into university classes with the little fuzz butt asleep in her bra. I am sure this is true, but I'll let you know how "bonded" Gliders can really get once ours arrive.
14. The bonding process apparently can take anywhere from 1 to three months. Many sources have conflicting information about this, but all agree that you really can't put a time limit on it. There have been cases of Gliders who were rescued, bonding years after rescue. "Patience is a virtue."
15. Sugar Gliders are also called "Honey Bears" and "Honey Gliders." In the wild they only live about six years or so, but in captivity in a safe, healthy environment they can live up to 15 years. In the wild they also live in a "colony" of about 10 to 15 Gliders and that is why they suggest that you have more than one Glider living together. That said, if you are willing to give that Sugie a whole lot of attention, then having only one apparently can work.

There you have it; a small introduction to the Sugar Glider. Everything I have relayed above is stuff I have read and compiled from what I feel is credible sources. As I've pointed out, there is a lot of misinformation available, so I am sure I'll learn a whole bunch more once our two little fuzzies move in. Also, the breeder wants to sit down and have coffee before we take our Joeys home, so I am certain we'll learn good, solid information from her.
Happy Friday. :)


Brooke, Cessna, Aspen, Canyon & Rogue said...

The sugar glider sounds like a really neat little critter. I can't wait to learn more about them over the next little while. I had never heard of one until you mentioned it on your blog.

L^2 said...

Very interesting. They sound like neat animals.

browndogcbr said...

Hi Y'all,

Sounds like a fun little critter to have around.

Y'all come back now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

Torie said...

I take it sugar gliders are like little canggeroo thingies? They sound so cute!

What about kanga and ru for the gliders? (Winny the poo).

I'm glad that you and Glacier are working well. I love the "find" command! Ushi prefers working in "busy conditions" as there is more for her to do. She gets rather bored easily.

Take care, xxx.

Jen said...

They sound like interesting animals. I'd love to touch one, as I can't really imagine what they look like.

Sherri Briggs said...

These are interesting facts. And in my opinion, they're a must-read! Sugar gliders are definitely the sweetest animals. They can be aloof at first, but once it recognizes you and your scent, it will follow you everywhere. Thanks for sharing!

Sherri Briggs @ Pet Glider