Gus and Fiona seem to be settling in a bit better. They were quite active last night, coming out to eat and run in their Wodent Wheel with Mr. K and I sitting very close to the cage. Gus has even sat in Mr. K's palm for a brief moment and has let himself be pet a bit. Fiona is a bit more timid, which was what we read about the females, but she is becoming braver by the day as well. Working on the bond between Sugar Glider and human can take up to three months, so we'll just have to be patient.
One way the bonding process can be sped up is to wear the sleeping Sugar Glider around your neck in a "bonding pouch" while he/she sleeps during the day. We have two bonding pouches and after some effort, Mr. K was able to shuffle Fiona from her sleeping spot in the fleece tunnel into the bonding pouch. I wore her around my neck pretty much all day yesterday and she only fussed at me once.
When Sugar Gliders are afraid, they make this crazy loud noise called "crabbing." It kind of sounds like a giant locus. It can actually be quite intimidating, but if you ignore it and soothe your little fuzz butt, it usually subsides quite quickly.
We didn't manage to get both joeys into the same pouch because Gus realised what was happening and woke up. He crabbed quite loudly at Mr. K, so we left him alone. Once he was back into a deep sleep, Mr. K scooped him out of the tunnel into the other bonding pouch and I wore him around for the rest of the afternoon. The joeys are so light you hardly notice they are hanging from your neck; even if there are two of them. Gus crabbed at me once as well because I moved the pouch that he was in and took the blanket covering them away so I could get up off of the couch. I gently cupped him against me and his crabbing slowly stopped.
We have also read that it is important to make sure your Sugar Gliders have a means of staying hydrated while in the bonding pouch. The best way to do that is to put a thin slice of fruit-an apple or pear-into the pouch with them. Mr. K cut up two slices and I put them in with each joey. Gus moved around quite a bit and I thought he had eaten some of his, but Fiona hardly moved. I assumed she just stayed asleep, but when we put them back in their cage and looked in the pouches, Fiona's apple had been consumed far more than Gus's. Perhaps she's a dainty eater?
Both Joeys are tucked away asleep in their cage right now. I've thought about scooping them out into bonding pouches to work on our bonding, but I'm not brave enough to get them out. They are so small I am terrified of squishing them by accident. Plus, I don't like being yelled at: I don't want them to crab at me. :) That said, perhaps after lunch I will get up the courage to get them out. The more the Sugar Gliders smell you and associate your scent with warmth and safety the quicker the bonding process will go.
Tomorrow evening we will try letting them out of the cage with us locked in the foyer of our flat. Some suggest putting up a pop up tent and releasing the Sugar Gliders in there with you. The tent would be a safe place for them to roam and to get used to you, but we don't have a tent nor do we have the space to put one up. People have also suggested a big closet, but our closet is not big enough for both Mr. K and I. So, the foyer will have to do. We will have to stuff towels under the door jams to ensure Gus and Fiona don't wiggle out into rooms we don't want them in as well as blocking off the kitchen. Bonding must be done in a positive way, similar to dogs, and starting in a safe, controlled environment is the way to go.
So, I technically still haven't pet Gus or Fiona, but I have technically snuggled them; even if it was through a polar fleece pouch and I loved it. These little guys are so fascinating and I am so glad we have added them to our family.