Friday, March 30, 2012

Our Household: Part 2

Yesterday we took a stroll down memory lane and met Jetta, my first guide dog; a spunky Black Labrador who always made sure there was never a dull moment. I thought today we'd switch gears and talk about three, odd, little creatures that have recently joined our family.
Meet Fiona, Plato and Yoda. Never mind who are they, but rather, what are they?
Fiona, Plato and Yoda are Sugar Gliders. I call them my flying monkeys, but that isn't entirely accurate. Actually, it's really inaccurate. Sugar Gliders are native to Australia and Indonesia and are nocturnal marsupials with a "gliding" membrane that stretches from their ankles to their wrists. Sugar Gliders are approximately six inches long, with a prehensile tail-they can use it to grab things-and opposable thumbs. They are also very clever creatures and, if not secured properly, can learn to open their own cage. I have often seen them referred to as acting like dogs, and, after owning them for four months, I would agree with that statement.
All three have learned their names, but Fiona is the best at coming when she is called. All three have really taken to Mr. K even though the Sugar Gliders were supposed to be my critters. However, Sugar Gliders choose who they bond to and they have taken a liking to Mr. K. We always joke that there is no denying who the Sugies belong to because Mr. K likes to drink Coke and if a Sugie is out, they are instantly drawn to the Coke can. Obviously, we do not let them have the Coke as it would be very bad for them, but you almost have to fight them off of the can because they cling on for dear life. Friends who are over and drinking anything sweet are warned to keep their cups covered. We've watched one of the Sugies shove a paper back book off of a glass of Coke so that he could get into it. Did I mention that they are very smart?
When we first got Sugar Gliders, we had Fiona and her brother who we named Gus. Unfortunately, Gus died accidentally, when he escaped our living room and fell into the open toilet; one of the most common ways for a Sugar Glider to die. It was incredibly sad and both Mr. K and I felt horrible for Fiona. Sugar Gliders are very social creatures, living with up to sixteen other Gliders in the wild, and within 24 hours of Gus's passing Fiona started acting as though we had never bonded with her. She didn't sleep well and would bite us if we came near her. We knew that we had to find her some friends fast.
Enter Plato and Yoda.
On December 31, Mr. K and I hopped a train and went to pick up the two male joeys who we named Plato and Yoda. We were really nervous about introducing them as a lot of the literature we had read made the process sound very complicated and sensitive. Perhaps in certain situations it is, but for our three, all we did was put the sleeping boys in the cage and Fiona immediately climbed in with them. After the boys' arrival, Fiona was much happier, sleeping better and also allowing us to pet her again. It is interesting to note that Sugar Gliders are incredibly soft. I would say that their fur  almost feels like a bunny. What is also interesting is that their hands and feet do not have fur and the opposable thumbs are present on both the front and back feet.
 Since then, Plato and Yoda were neutered as we didn't want any joeys and it also makes them more friendly. Not to mention, their "man" smell decreases drastically as the scent glands on their forehead and chest dries up.
For the most part, the Sugies are cage dwelling animals, but we let them out at night so they can interact with us and get some exercise. Their cage is definitely quite large, standing over six feet tall, but it's good for them to get out and "glide." They also like to sit on Mr. K and groom him. They do this by going through his hair with their hands, spitting on his hair and pulling any tangles out. They also use their teeth to pull away any dead skin. Before the boys were neutered, Plato was a bit rough and Mr. K wouldn't let him groom, but since the operation he's become much more gentle. The funny thing is that Yoda is the biggest out of  all of them and is probably the gentlest. They are some of the neatest little creatures and are always providing us with entertainment when they are out and about. Mr. K even sometimes carries Fiona around with him in a bonding pouch when we are out in public. Just the other day, we had supper at a nearby pub and Fiona was nestled under Mr. K's hoodie.
So, it's not just dogs that occupy our home: we have little flying monkeys too! I never thought I'd be much into exotic animals, and although Fiona, Yoda and Plato are Mr. K's babies, I really like having them around. Watching a movie in our house just isn't watching a movie anymore if there isn't a little fuzzy critter scampering/hopping/gliding around the room.


Mango said...

Your house sounds kind of exciting. Those sugar gliders certainly keep your guests on their toes.

I loved reading about your first guide dog too.

Since I am a new friend, nice to have a bit of history.

Mango Momma

K9 Katastrophie said...

Yep if you want to make a woman happy just get her a man! They sound so adorable! I have only seen Suger Gliders once before. I remember their owner would feed them little yogart drops. The little critters would take the drops in their cute little hands and munch on them. That is so funny how they groom Mr. K!

I heard that Sugar gliders hate dogs. Is that true?


The Websters said...

We had sugar gliders too! After Nora caught one who had escaped the cage, we decided they needed a new home. I felt TERRIBLE about sending them to a new home but the new owner had had sugies before and was very knowledgeable and excited to have them again.

We also had a male neutered. I'm glad we're not the only ones to pay such a fantastic expense for a little creature =)


garthriley said...

I'm a new reader too so am really enjoying this series. I don't know how Glacier can resist the flying monkeys though,