We did it: last night, Mr. K, Fiona, Yoda, Plato and I entered the infamous, or not so famous, tent for some quality bonding time. A lot of the literature on Sugar Glider bonding suggests that you begin your bonding process trapped in a tent with your Sugies to ensure a safe environment where the Gliders can get to know you on their own terms. Both boys let it be known that they were not happy about being trapped in bonding pouches, but once the zippers were undone, it did not take them long to emerge. In fact, Fiona didn't take long to pop her little head out either. Mr. K and I used to have to wait at least twenty minutes for Fiona and Gus to decide to come out. It was almost amazing how quickly the three Sugar Gliders decided to grace us with their presence; at least in Fiona's case. She thinks she's gracing us with her presence. That little stinker has become a diva. Perhaps she was always one, but ever since these two boys arrived, she's been waiting for glass slippers and a sparkling tiara to be added to her cage.
We probably spent close to two hours squished into the tent with three little fuzz butts jumping from one of us to another, climbing the tent wall and dropping from the ceiling on to our heads/faces and just general Sugie silliness. It is an awesome thing to see each individual personality display itself. Physically, the boys are difficult for Mr. K and I to tell apart, but their movements, sounds and general demeanor are so different that it clues us in to who's wriggling down our shirt collars.
Plato is a little dare devil who isn't afraid of anything. We should have called him "speed racer" because he does everything at top speed. Even when the other two are tuckered out, Plato is still awake running his little heart out in one of the two Wodent wheels we have in their cage. He was no different in the tent. He would scamper up the side of the tent at top speed, launch himself at our heads or faces (they need their claws trimmed) and then run as fast as he could around our shoulders/head only to glide to the side of the tent and race back up it. It was easy to tell who Plato was when he was hanging out on you because he didn't really hang out. He was too busy running around as fast as he could. That said, he's very sweet and even lets Mr. K pet him while he hangs off of the tent's roof from his back feet. Considering that the boys' breeder wasn't able to handle them very much, our two boys are impressively friendly; especially Plato.
Yoda is sweet too, but in a calmer, laid back way. However, he is always on guard and I think kind of takes on the protector role. He is the one who crabs the most when the sleeping domain, containing all three Gliders, is disturbed and yesterday he lunged at Mr. K and grazed Mr. K's face with his teeth. When neutering time comes, he'll be the first to have the procedure done. He shows, to my untrained eye, too many signs of alpha manliness and so we don't want that to get out of control.
He too enjoyed cruising around the tent, but was more satisfied to sit between my shoulder blades and hang out. At one point, we thought he escaped the tent-not sure how-as we couldn't find him anywhere, but turns out he was just chilling on my back. He had been there so long, I couldn't feel him through the thick sweater I had on. To make sure he was doing all right, I offered him a yogurt drop which he accepted and proceeded to eat, still perched between my shoulder blades. I was even able to gently pet him while he sat on my back, which was the first time I've really had a good "look" at our, or any, Sugar Glider, despite having Gliders for over a month. He was very good about not biting and both he and Plato seem to be past that horrible "chomping" phase Miss Fiona is gradually growing out of.
Speaking of Miss Fiona: how is she?
Well, as I stated above, she is the queen and definitely rules the roost. If she crabs at all, even just a little bit, both Plato and Yoda go scampering to check on her. Yoda sometimes fusses at her if she has been awake before the other two and climbs back into the pouch, but she chitters at him and he quiets right down. Pretty soon, she'll be perched on the edge of the hammock expecting the boys to be her man servants, bringing her yogurt drops and paying her compliments. She's a sassy girl. It seems all of the girl fuzzy creatures in my life have an element of sass to them. I wonder why that is. ;)
Fiona is doing so much better since the arrival of her new brothers. She chirps and is much more active. She lets herself be moved from her sleeping place to a bonding pouch which she had started refusing to do after Gus died. Her chomping has decreased and she has started licking more than anything. Last night we had a break through when she first groomed me, by pulling on my hair and combing it out with her little fingers, and then doing the same for Mr. K. She's never groomed either of us and it was so good to know that her bonding is progressing.
It's already been a wild ride with these three "flying monkeys," as we like to call them, and I'm sure there is much more in store for us. I don't think it will take long for them to bond at all. Plato escaped the cage yesterday when Mr. K was attempting to scoop the three of the Sugar Gliders into a bonding pouch. Instead of running away and hiding though, Plato scurried around on the couch where Mr. K sat and eventually entered the cage on his own. The first time Fiona escaped out in the living room, she hid for two hours under the couch. Plato's already even sat on top of Roscoe, not minding the shaggy dog trying to sniff him.
The last few days have been great, watching Fiona come even further out of her shell and getting to know our two newest family members. As I've mentioned before, bonding with these little flying monkeys is definitely a process, but a very rewarding one. They aren't the easiest pet to keep as they require a lot of patience and persistence, but I would definitely recommend them to people, or a person, who has a lot of time and patience. In the long run, you will have a little companion who will be by your side, quite literally, for many years to come.