Becoming a Sugar Glider Breeder – Part III
For the last two months, we’ve shared with you some of the insider realities of being a sugar glider breeder. This month, we will discuss exit strategies. In other words, how will you choose to get out of the business when the time comes. If you missed the first two parts on this topic, click here and here to catch up.
Consider in advance what events would trigger you leaving the breeding business. No matter how much you love sugar gliders, there will be a point in your life when you will choose not to breed them anymore. The very small hobby breeders should not really have issues here as its easy to have the male gliders neutered and enjoy your gliders for the rest of their lives as members of the family. However, as the breeding operation gets larger, the solution to get out of the business of breeding gets more challenging.
In an ideal world, it would be great if you could plan the timing of getting out of the breeding business. Unfortunately life doesn’t always work that way. Consider what you would do if you were to become critically ill or injured. Do you have someone who can step in and care for your animals in the interim?
You should also consider what would happen if sugar gliders were suddenly banned because of some unknown disease that was discovered. I know this all may sound a bit far fetched to you, but is it really? Do you remember the monkey pox scare last year? While this predominately affected the resale of prairie dogs, it could have easily have affected sugar gliders and other species as well.
We have frequent discussions here at SunCoast concerning the development of our exit strategy and if we had a fully developed plan, we would gladly share that with you now. Our intention is to be here for a very long time and we do have backup personnel able to manage our breeding operation at the drop of a hat.
This is a fun and rewarding business for those who approach it with eyes wide open and are prepared for the realities of what it all entails. We are always happy to share our “insider” tips with you at any time. If you think breeding gliders is something that you would like to do, even after reading all of the negative issues we’ve brought up in this series, then go for it!
We’d like to share one more parting thought about breeding gliders. DON”T NAME the babies! If you do, they will be much harder to part with. After all, bonding works both ways. It can be really easy to start off thinking that you are going to be a breeder and ending up being a collector.
SPECIAL NOTICE: For a limited time only, we will be offering a few of our established breeding pairs to small breeders. We cautioned you earlier to make sure you know what you are getting and we will share complete backgrounds on any pairs we offer for sale.
Why are we doing this? We are embarking on an experimental project to try colony breeding with four females to one male. We have tested trio breeding over the years with good success only if the colony grew up together. Older gliders do not colonize as well and “joey robbing” takes place under those conditions. So it will take us at least two years to gather enough data to determine how well larger colonies co-exist. We are hoping that this type of breeding will naturally slow the female’s production rates, thus extending their overall life span, health and well being. Wish us luck and contact us if you have an interest in acquiring some of our breeder pairs. The email address for inquiries on this is:
Sorry, no longer available.
Going for the Gold: Finding the Best Glider Products
Sowwy mates, I’m not here to bwing you another exciting episode of Dear Arnold this month. You see, I am attending the Glider-lympics right now, so me is sending you a special report that I call Goin for da Gold! I also wanna talk to ya about a new service that me is offering free to all of my fans out there in Glider-Land called Ask Arnold: finding Gold Medal products for your sugar gliders. But first, I will share with you a few of the highlights going on at Glider-lympics.
I’m sure its obvious to all that us glidees exceed at many Glider-lympic events like high jump, long jump, high dive and all gymnastics. Ya already know bout these sports, so I’m gonna tell ya about few of my faves that maybe ya dunno about.
First off, the 100 yard crash! This exciting event features those long distance gliders who try and go 300 feet or more in a single leap! And while us suggies are quite agile, graceful and fast, we tend to land with a splat … hence the crash part. Next, one of me best personal sports is the Snatch and Jerk. This involves strength, dexterity and a whole lotta mealworms! The next event is one that many gliders overachieve and its called Yogurt Toss. Here style points are awarded for a good wrist flick, amount of gobblety gook tossed, and symmetry of the wall splatter.
But my favorite of all Glider-lympic sports is Synchonized Gliding. Here’s a picture of me practice squad warming up for the finals coming up soon.
Alrighty then, mates .. now that ya know what me has been up to , lemme tell ya bout me new service. Well, its not really new cuz we’ve been doing this all along as a top secret, double silent, hardly known at all til now service called Ask Arnold. We’ve been doin this lots with our customers who buy baby gliders from us and I asked my Glider Gang, “Why aren’t we doing this for everyone?”. And my Gang responded … “geez Arnold … we dunno????”. Ya see, that is why I’m the Chief Executive Glider and they are merely my helpers. What WOOD they do without me?
Here’s how Ask Arnold works. When you are busy shopping for your gliders, and you are not sure about a particular thang or two, just send a link to what you want an opinion on to:
One of me helpers will get back to you with a fair and unbiased review of that product. Of course, ya know that I luvs it when you buys stuff from me little ole store. But there are other little ole stores that has some good stuff to. I can promise ya that me staff will not pester you to buy my stuff. We often send folks to other sites where we know they has stuff we don’t. This is just like the Santy Claws in me favorite movie, that ole classic, Miracle on 34th St. If Macy’s didn’t have exactly what someone was looking for, Santy would send them to another store down the street! Heheheheh … I think that is bodaciously cool!
What I look for in products is this: First and foremost, it must be safe for suggies. Then its gotta be fun for suggies. And its gotta be a good value for the hoomans who love the suggies. And that’s that.
Now lemme tell ya bout stuff you need to know when buying suggie stuff. We have lots of peoples we talk to that go out and buy a bunch of things from a place called Pet Store. Pet Store doesn’t sell suggies, doesn’t know suggies BUT still say they have good suggie stuff. Hmmmm … how do they know? Lots of folks come home with oodles of stuff for ferrets! Yikes!
Well listen up ferret breath, a well bred sugar glider has no bizness hanging out in a weasel abode. Ferrets are gigantic and we suggies are tiny. Back in the olden days before gliders decided to live with hoomans, there wasn’t much choice … so the hoomans had to make do with what was out there. But now there are many products made just for sugar gliders. Here’s anutter of me favorite stories for you. Goes like this …. Ferret and chinchilla stuff is too big! Hamster stuff is too small. Sugar glider stuff is just right.
Be wary of companies that offer stuff that is known to be unsafe for sugar gliders. Let me give you a few X-Zamples. Sugar glider leashes and harnesses are not only unpleasant for gliders, but could hurt the ole patagium (gliding membrane). Food and treats that contain nuts and seeds not a good idea either. Nuts are too high in fat for us and seeds! Yikes! Do we look like birds to you? Birds have a special thing in their body that helps digest seeds. We don’t have that same gullet thing and should NOT be given seeds at all. Heat rocks are anutter thing we get asked about a lot and they can burn a glider really bad and should not be used. If someone is trying to sell ya stuff like this, my advice – don’t buy nuttin from em.
OK, now I don’t want ya to think Ask Arnold is just a service to warn you from bad things, but we can also help you find good things. One thing we do a lot is help people who want to build their own cages. We can help you find good sources to buy the materials and give you advice on how to go about making a good cage. Some people really want cages made of PVC or vinyl coated wire (see PVC warning here). Like the powder coated cages I have in me store, these are also good cages for gliders and many companies that sell them build them themself. We don’t really build stuff here, but we know who the good companies are that do and if ya need to know more, just:
Ta ta for now and I’ll be back next month with another exciting episode of “Dear Arnold”.
The Gold Medal Gentleman
Exotic Pet Vet
What Dr. C Says On… Putting Sugar Gliders On A Diet II
by Dr. C., of course!
For those of you who missed the beginning of our discussion on overweight gliders and encouraging weight loss, please click here to read Part I of this article. And now, as promised, we will proceed into some of the specifics of things you can do to help your glider maintain a healthy weight.
Let’s take the easiest diet scenario first. Once you are sure that the cage is large enough and toys are glider appropriate, if all the gliders in the cage are overweight, then you need to cut back on your meal portions. This is rather uncomplicated if the weight problem is universal. If your gliders are breeding, you want to balance your fruit and veggie servings and your protein servings in accordance with my recommended dietary guidelines. The protein level should account for 45-50% of the total food intake. If you find that this level supports the females weight level well, but the male is getting fat, then cut back on the food you leave in the cage and give extra protein to the female outside of the cage. Don’t just hand feed her while in the cage as she may have a cage mate inclined to steal food. Separate her away from the male so that she can get the extra nutrition that her body requires. If your sugar gliders are non-breeding, then approximately 35% protein should be sufficient.
Now let’s jump back to our case study from last month. In this cage, Janine is severely overweight at 185 grams. Buddy is slightly overweight at nearly 200 grams. Naomi is the perfect picture of health at 120 grams and Arnold is a bit on the scrawny side at 105 grams. A common question we get asked here at SunCoast is how much should a glider weigh. Well, unfortunately there is no clear-cut answer to this. You see, just as people weight ranges are best targeted based upon height and frame structure, sugar glider weight ranges should also be determined based upon build.
You might notice that I said Buddy is only slightly overweight yet he weighs more than Janine by 15 grams. He is a large glider with a significantly larger bone structure than any of the others he lives with. My best advice to you in determining a suitable weight for your glider is to find a veterinarian familiar with sugar gliders. The sugar glider Buddy is a solid glider. Janine, on the other hand, has a softer feel to her body mass. The best way I can describe this to you in ordinary terms is that she feels as if she has no muscle tone. This is a sign of obesity. Additionally she has obvious rolls of fat under her chin. She looks fat and a healthy sugar glider should not look fat.
Here is the regimen I’ve asked Lisa and Debbie to follow in feeding this cage of gliders. They are to give a base meal with minimal portions comprised of one fresh fruit or vegetable per night and 35% low fat protein. A single glider serving will be set in the normal feeding area. This feeding station will be Janine’s. A second feed station will be set up in another part of the cage with the other three gliders portions set up accordingly.
During playtime, Buddy, Arnold, and Naomi will be selectively hand fed, in accordance with their weight needs. Arnold and Naomi will be allowed to eat as much via the hand feeding as they choose to as both of these gliders seem to burn off their calories with exercise and do not have weight problems. Buddy will be allowed a standard portion. Due to the fact he is larger than most gliders, this should help him lose a little bit of excess weight. Janine will not be hand fed any additional foods except for maybe a small occasional treat that is low in calories. Most people keep two sugar gliders. If you have one that is at a good weight and one that is chubby, then follow a similar plan as this one.
In addition, the cage has been re-arranged to better accommodate exercise. There have been two large Wodent Wheels in the cage for some time now and with four gliders, they all take turns in the wheels. Janine will sit in the wheel, however, and let the others push her around. So I’ve suggested to go with three wheels in the cage to see if Janine won’t be encouraged to actually use the wheel and get some badly needed exercise. It will be interesting to see how this test pans out.
Also, pay attention to the caloric count of the foods you are offering. Many people feed nuts to gliders. I do not recommend nuts, as I believe they are too high in fat. My advice is to eliminate such items from the diet. Another food that can contribute to obesity is honey in the diet. Lisa and Debbie used to mix up honey with some cereal with boiled eggs for a protein meal. They’ve discontinued using honey quite awhile back in favor of less caloric apple juice. They discovered that the whole colony of breeding gliders seemed to be gaining too much weight. This one simple change helped normalize average weights to a more reasonable level.
Also, protein items can tend toward high caloric values. Remember to keep the fat level low. This is why I recommend items like chicken and eggs and to avoid items like beef and pork. Mealworms should be given in moderate amounts as well. If you follow my recommended diet plan, you will see that I recommend mealworms no more than twice per week. If you are feeding 5-10 mealworms each and every day that single issue alone could be the contributing factor to glider weight problems as mealworms are a bit fatty.
I hope this information helps you develop a more healthful dietary plan for your sugar gliders. It really boils down to part knowledge and part common sense. Each animal is an individual and will have genetic predisposition and varying metabolic rates requiring somewhat individual attention. If you are successful in maintaining your pets at healthy weights, you can expect them to live a longer and happier life!
As always, these topics are driven by your requests, so send your questions about glider health care issues by clicking here and we will do our best to include in a future edition of the GliderVet Newsletter. I send my wishes for good health to both you and your sugar gliders. I’ll see you again next month!
(Janine M Cianciolo, DVM)