Another Exciting Episode of … DEAR ARNOLD

Note: Some of Arnold’s fan mail may be edited cause Arnold wants some of them to be shorter so he can have more space all to himself!  Yuk Yuk Yuk!  And now … for more “thinking outside of the pouch” advice …here’s Arnold!

Dear Arnold,

What is it about sugar gliders that people find soooo appealing?
All I know is that before I acquired Scrat on Sept. 4. 2004, I had this
perfectly beautiful tiny little bedroom called by friends, neighbors and
family “The Antique Room”.  It was full of antiques and wonderful knickknacks, many from different countries, such as Australia, Germany, Switzerland, England, and Holland.  The room was totally feminine, ornate and charming.

Now that room is bare of at least 90% of the knickknacks, also minus the antique desk, the tea tray table and delicate lamp.  The Duncan Phyfe love seat is still in the room and although I keep it covered with a blanket, the gilders love to crawl up under the blanket and run up and down the back, side, and across the cushions of the love seat to the point where the silk like upholstery has hundreds of tiny pulled threads from tiny, sharp sugar glider claws.

There is this huge cage that takes up one wall and sticks out far into the room, (where a beautiful ornate writing desk used to be placed). On top of a perfectly lovely Shaker Style Sewing table is an old towel and on top of the old towel is a Manzanita tree w/multiple toys hanging off the multiple branches.  I still have an old curio cabinet in the room that has a towel placed over the top of it because the gliders love to run up and down the length of the cabinet and you know that the gliders are not house trainable.

There are toys inside of the cage and a small wooden basket on the floor with more toys, paper towels, toilet paper, feather teasers, hamster balls, etc. all over the room. I look at the room and think what happened to my pretty Antique room?  The room is a mess.

Yet, I love how they climb all over me, I love how they touch their little noses to my lips, I love how all 3 of them will nibble on my left ear, but never the right ear – does my left ear stick out more?  I just love it when I’m sitting down on the floor or the love seat and all 3 of them are sitting on me, cleaning their fur, or eating a piece of fruit, maybe a mealworm.  I love it when they play chase with each other running up and down my entire body.  I love how if I try to leave the room for a few minutes, even though they may all 3 be doing their own thing, as soon as they sense that I am trying to leave, they make mad dashes to run and jump and leap onto my body to keep me from leaving the room.

I keep trying to figure out exactly WHY I find them so charming, I don’t know why exactly, I just know that I do.


Dearest Earla,

Your letter is perfecto!  Cause ya see, last month I let everyone peek in me mailbag and see a letter from our friend Deb, and she kept going on and on and on about THE TASTE!  For all of youze who wrote in wanting to know more about the TASTE, methinks that Miss Earla got the TASTE big time!

When ya don’t care bout your habitat decorations any more, when ya don’t care that we likes one of your ears and not the other, when ya do just about any’tin to make us happy – that is the TASTE!

Some peeple think they own gliders, but those who realize that gliders like to keep hoomans as their pets, those are the ones who get the full blown experience of THE TASTE!

Earla, where do ya live sweetie?  I’ll bite your other ear – yuk yuk yuk!  And send me love to Scrat, Jenny, and Baby Noel!

Your pal,
Dear Arnold,

This is just an observation my husband and I have made with our breeders in reference to the daddy taking care of his children.  We have watched our “babies” for countless hours in the middle of the night.  It is very obvious to us that daddy has quite the part in taking care of his children.

The most amazing to me was to watch daddy direct the kids to the water bottle.  He pushed one of them over to it, put a paw on each side of the baby’s head and pushed it to the water bottle spout, back and forth, until water came out.  I was just amazed at the part that daddy plays in babysitting, teaching and loving the kids.  I would never take daddy away from his children….he is way too involved.  I want to thank you for your monthly newsletter – I look forward to each issue. Your time and effort is greatly appreciated.

Karen Allen

Dear Karen!

Wow!  What a cool story!  So many people write to us and want to take the Daddy’s away from their own joeys and we say that is a big fat no no.  Lisa already tole everyone that Daddy’s keep their babies warm and give em piggyback rides and stuff.  And now we know that Daddy gliders also like to be the water boy as well!  Rock on!  OK, gotta go now – this makin’ me kinda thirsty!!!


That’s all Blokes!  Tune in again next month for another exciting episode of Dear Arnold!  Don’t forget, you can share your short comments or fun questions with me by clicking here.

Exotic Pet Vet
What Dr. C Says On… Wild Caught Vs Captive-Bred

by Dr. C, of course!

Last month I was asked to address the tsunami disaster in Indonesia, as this country is one of the native habitats of sugar gliders.  Now and then, I break away from answering the most frequently asked questions when I believe that a particular topic will have some educational impact on matters that I am personally dedicated. T his is one of those months.  I think it a natural segue to stay on the topic of Indonesia for one more month because this country is the largest exporter of wild caught sugar gliders.

This topic is extremely important to me, both from an ethical and health standpoint – wild caught versus captive-bred animals.  There are many wild caught animals offered for sale at pet stores, pet expos, and on the web, often at “bargain” prices.  I am at a loss to explain how someone can state they “love” or “care about” animals and make such a purchase.

When I first began my career, I worked in Central America with a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wild life caught for the pet trade.  This involved a variety of animals from reptiles, parrots, and monkeys to anteaters and jaguars. Without exception, all were malnourished, dehydrated, parasite ridden, and usually diseased from the deplorable, crowded conditions they endured after capture.  Animals were often packed on top of each other, with those at the bottom suffering injuries from crushing or suffocation.  Entire regions were decimated of wild breeding populations.  In some areas, the ecosystems may never recover.

Economically, it is less expensive to overcrowd animals in shipping containers, give inadequate nutrition, and withstand significant mortality of the “product” animals, than it is to provide good nutrition and quality healthcare.

Captive-bred animals, especially those sold by reputable breeders, are more expensive than a wild caught counterpart.  This is true whether discussing sugar gliders or reptiles.  Breeders tend to place more emphasis on good nutrition and health to ensure their breeding pairs produce offspring.  Keeping animals healthy costs money and this is passed on to consumers, but (and this is a critical point) consumers can be assured they are purchasing an animal which received good care, was not abused by traumatic capture and overcrowded shipping, and that the ecology of a wild habitat was not disrupted.

My views on this topic are strong, some might say harsh, but the wild caught pet trade is harsh.  Buying wild caught animals sustains this business practice and purchasing a wild caught animal under the guise of rescue is misguided because it propagates the trade.  When considering an animal purchase, I encourage you to spend the extra money and buy captive-bred.  Join me in helping to end the wild-caught market.

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 your request 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!

Dr. C.  
(Janine M Cianciolo, DVM)