In just under three weeks Mr. K, Tenie, me and the dogs will hop a train and be off to collect our new furry bundles of joy. Mr. K and I are getting increasingly more and more excited to start bonding with the two Sugar Glider joeys that we purchased from a Scottish breeder. We've had a bit of time to prepare our flat and ourselves for the babies' arrival, but now feel that we're about as ready as we can be. I am not under any illusions that everything will be smooth sailing or that we won't have a million questions and perhaps a few freak out moments once the joeys are home, however, I'm really looking forward to the experience of raising two well mannered, well bonded Sugar Gliders.
I feel like all I've been doing is reading forums, internet articles and browsing Sugar Glider specific online shops. I've asked a lot of questions on the Sugar Glider forum we joined and can't really do anything more but wait. Owning these little guys is nearly as complicated as owning a dog. People say it's not, but we've had to purchase a lot of stuff that is Sugar Glider safe and make sure we have the right environment for the little fuzz butts. That said, I think an amount of work goes into owning any kind of pet and if a person wants an animal that is low maintenance then perhaps they shouldn't get one. Even fish require particular conditions to thrive and some species can be even more complicated to take care of than a cat.
Sugar Gliders are technically considered exotics as they have not been domesticated long enough to be considered otherwise. As far as I can tell, they have been popular pets for about twenty-five years in North America, but only about ten in the UK. That means, there is a lot of conflicting information about diet and such things. I have gleaned, from everything that I have read, that feeding the Sugar Gliders a diet that, could be compared to a raw diet for dogs in its quality rather than specific foods, is the best way to go. There has to be a specific ratio between vitamins and minerals, otherwise the Sugar Glider's health can be compromised. What makes the diet a bit easier is that it can be blended and frozen into little ice cubes to be served later. So, preparation may take some time on a Sunday night, once a month, but that really isn't that bad. People who feed their dogs a raw diet would find these preparations a breeze as there is no raw meat to be concerned about; just fruits, vegetables, eggs and a few other supplements. All of these ingredients have specific ratios of course.
Food is not one of the things we have ordered for these little munchkins just yet. We want things to be as fresh for the joeys as possible. However, the cage is up and assembled with a Wodent wheel already in the bottom. Ladders and a hammock have been added to the cage for some climbing fun and there are two water bottles located at each level for optimal hydration opportunities. To add to the cage's homey feel, we've ordered a tunnel to hang from the roof, a sleeping pouch and a Snuggle Safe heat pad. This heat pad has gotten rave reviews and can be apparently used for puppies, kittens and/or small animals such as rabbits. The pad has a scratch/bite proof cover that you place over the pad after heating it up in the microwave. It stays warm for up to 10 hours and all of the reviews back this claim up. The pad is safe because there aren't any electrical cords for chewing or accidental shortages and the animals can't burn themselves because of the cover. The important thing to note when using it with small animals, or any animals in a cage, make sure they have room to move away from it just in case they get too hot.
Mr. K and I have also ordered two bonding pouches, which are little pouches with a zipper at the top and a mesh ventilation window that the Sugar Glider sits in when sleeping during the day. This pouch allows the Sugar Glider to be close to you-you wear the pouch-and get used to your scent without you handling them before they are comfortable with you. The zipper ensures no escaping, even though most Sugar Gliders aren't going anywhere during the day as they are completely passed out. So just think, any time I'm just sitting around messing about on the internet or maybe even doing the laundry, I'll be waring a little pouch containing a tiny sleeping creature or two.
We opted for the cage pouch over the nesting box that some would suggest because we think the pouch will be easier to keep clean. Sugar Gliders need a dark, warm place to sleep in during the day, especially if you are not carrying it around in your bonding pouch. The cage pouch is to act as that safe, warm spot for snoozing. Nesting boxes apparently are more difficult to keep scent free. If you do not put it up against the ceiling of the cage, the Sugar Gliders may decide the roof of the box is a good potty area. The sleeping pouches can be removed and just thrown in the laundry, whereas, a nesting box has to be taken out and sprayed down. A lot of nesting boxes are wooden and wood holds in stink. The sleeping pouch also seems cozier and these little monsters are all about comfort, warmth and snuggling.
Besides the pouches and tunnel, we also purchased some yogurt drops, which are a treat for the Sugies. These treats are used to help with the bonding process as well. If you've got a nippy Sugar Glider, you distract it with food. Sounds simple enough? I'll let you know. Sugar Gliders aren't really biters unless you continually provoke them, so hopefully Mr. K and I won't end up with too many nipped fingers. We also purchased the supplements needed for maintaining a Glider's health and are just waiting on all of that stuff to arrive. In the mean time, we'll keep "glider proofing" our flat-similar to puppy proofing only a bit more since these guys can climb/glide-and wait excitedly for November 26th.
There is one thing I forgot to mention: we have finally decided on names. Should I tell you, or shall we make it a guessing game?