Fun Animal Videos
by Lisa

I get some of the coolest links sent to me of some really awesome animal videos and I’m sure you do too.  Most of them are not about sugar gliders, so I never really thought they would be appropriate to share in the newsletter.  As video websites like You Tube become more popular, I think it would be great to offer videos of glider interest from time to time, so please feel free to send me links that you’ve come across.

Now having just said that I think it appropriate that we feature some cool glider videos from time to time, I’m going to share a non glider video with you.  Forgive me on this 99th issue of the GliderVet news for being a bit self indulgent; I thought it would be fun to share some fun facts about my family.  You see, everyone in my family loves animals.  It’s part of our rules for admission into the family!  Now my sister in law has two types of animals in her home that are not great to keep with sugar gliders.  OK, see now, I’m not totally ignoring sugar gliders as a topic.  Cari has a Jack Russell terrier who would find my sugar gliders nothing short of yummy and she has a parrot that was blown out of a tree and her husband (my brother Ray) brought it home to her to nurse and to raise.  His name is Yoshi.

Now a lot of you know that I’m originally from New Orleans and I’ve not sent any love or shoutouts to my home town football team for winning the Super Bowl this year and for those who know me, this was a really really really big deal to me as I’ve been a fan since day one for the Saints.  My youngest dog is named Breesy in honor the Saints quarterback!  So try as I might to send my heartiest congratulations to my home town and the New Orleans Saints ….
… Yoshi says it best.  If you like fun animal videos, check out my sister in law and her bird buddy Yoshi here.

And if you find video links that you would like to share, even your own, please send them to me.  We’ll be happy to share any message that in some way supports the Thrive versus Survive approach to  sugar glider care.  And please remember that birds and sugar gliders are natural enemies, so keeping them in the same room is not a good idea.  Also, certain breeds of dogs, cats and ferrets are not good mixes with sugar gliders as they are natural hunters and may try to harm or kill sugar gliders.

A Newbie’s Take on Bonding
By Sommer C

Lisa’s Intro: I don’t think I need to add much to this; Sommer’s perspective is fresh and being brand new to sugar gliders, I find her an incredibly intuitive and wise young lady.  So I am just printing her letter verbatim with no comment.  Enjoy.

So, I’m a new mommy to three sugar gliders named Rhiona, Zoey and Jasper.  Our boy Jasper has a way of telling us that he’s not happy but as far as I can tell he’s bottom rung in the pack.  Our girls are a little closer in rank even though our little Zoey is more for the quiet resolve than her sister is.  I have been spending a lot of time with them and have made a lot of observations I believe to be relevant to their bonding.  I’ve noticed for the most part that their behavior is much like siblings in a human family.

I have always liked the dynamics of a social hierarchy within the animal kingdom, this is just a really hard way of saying that I like the way animals set up their families.  Pack animals have always been my favorite because I grew up in a big family and can see the similarities.  Now, when most people think of pack animals our brains go to wolf packs.  These have a rigid social structure in which the weak are killed off and the strong are in command.  What most people don’t realize is that the non-predator social groups are a lot more relaxed.  There will often still be one leader but it’s not named through some fury version of the gladiator, more commonly than not this position goes to the loudest most confident animal in the area.  Our families and friends are the same.  We don’t really fight each other for power but the strongest personality in the room usually takes the lead.

I want you to think of your own families and friends and how they fit together.  As humans we are social and most of us need a little interaction to survive.  Not unlike our little friend the sugar gliders.  In my own social circle I’m the scout.  I’m that friend/sister that goes out and seeks out other people.  I checkout the kinds of people and places that my sister and brother would never even think of approaching, I then report back.  If I like what I see the next time I go to that place my sister or brother might follow me.

I’m fun and trusting and my sisters and brother believe that if I end up getting in trouble for my efforts then its par for the course.  This is how our girl Zoey handles us.  She checks us out with just the smallest amount of pensive thought and then reports back to her sister and brother.  She tells them we’re not so bad and progressively they start to trust her judgment.

Jasper like my youngest brother is our daredevil.  He’s a sweet boy for all intents and purposes but he puts on that “You can’t hurt me” face to the world.  To put this in a way that most people can understand, he’s that friend or family member that yells, “Look what I can do!” quickly followed by a three hour wait at the ER.  Jasper is loud and quick to bow up like he’s going to pick a fight but if you have the patience to wait him out he’s a big softy.  He can be loud but he doesn’t bother his sisters too much and when they look at him just the right way he shuts up.  He likes to run around the cage and try to get his sisters all stirred up but since he’s just the annoying little brother he doesn’t get too much off a result.  He’s low man in the pack but Rhiona will still jump to protect him if she has to.

That brings us to our champion.  In a normal group this is the type of person that is the mothering type.  When you go out to the bar she is the person that keeps everyone in line and makes sure everyone gets home.  She is the worst critic of everyone’s behavior but only she is allowed to make fun of the people she loves.  We named Rhiona because it means queen and that’s what she is.  She is the protector of the others.  Whenever we open the bonding pouch to pick them up she starts crabbing and yelling at us to step off.  She even stands on top of her sister and brother as if telling us, “If you want them, you’ll have to get through me.” 

I can tell already that she’s going to be my hard sell.  She is so concerned with how her siblings are doing she has trouble bonding or trusting us for herself.  She does however play a very important role in the bonding process.  Most people have heard the saying “control the head, control the body”.  Well it works the same in social dynamics.  If you convert the leader than the followers will come with her.  She will inevitably be my hardest challenge but once she is bonded I have a feeling it will be the strongest bond.

I believe that it will help a lot of new parents if they start to think of their sugar gliders as a little people rather than little animals.  They have personalities just as complex as humans do and they will react just as differently to stressful situations as humans would.  When you take the time to figure out their personalities it’s a lot easier to bond with as little stress as possible.

From Lisa: Thanks so much Sommer!

A Sugar Glider Afraid of the Dark?
by Lisa

Dear Lisa and Arnold,

How are you?  I have funny, funny story! (Can’t stop laughing)  My question is, are sugar gliders afraid of the dark?  This is what happened.  Last night the electric was to be shut off in my town between the hrs of 12 thirty am to 5 thirty am!  I was a little concerned for Furby (glider), but didn’t think too much of it!  About 1 thirty am Furby is barking like crazy (woke me up).  Electric was out.  Furby was in his cage barking and barking.  So I went to his cage to calm him down he was running all over (I was still laughing).  I tried to give him a cookie or a snack to quiet him.  Well this went on for an hour and a half on and off!  I assumed he was scared of the dark!

His cage is across from the bedroom so I went back to bed figuring this was going to be a looooong night!  I figure I will use the light from the cell phone to give his some light.  When there was some light Furby stopped barking but every time I nodded off the phone light went off and he would start barking again. 

This went on till about 2 thirty am!

Finally the electric went back on and I got up to make sure he was ok.  He was hanging out on top of the bedroom door!  When he saw me he jumped on me all happy and then took off and didn’t hear him for rest of night!  It was the funniest thing.

I keep a small lamp on in living room along with TV on low for noise and light above stove gives off light also.  So when everything
went dark and quiet, I am going to take his barking as crying!  Poor
baby!  He didn’t know what went on when electric went out!  I didn’t figure gliders would be scared of the dark!  Which makes this story toooo funny!

Maybe he’s just spoiled?  Lmao!  I just wanted to know what you make of this?  I have been laughing all morning!  I was telling my daughter and she was like yea, I heard him barking like crazy and she started laughing!  It was really funny! 

Thank god this only went on for under 2 hrs!

Dear Linda,

That’s funny …. you paint a very vivid picture.

OK, here’s my two cents worth.  I don’t think he’s afraid of the dark, but he might be afraid of the quiet.  Electricity does have a sound to it really with appliances buzzing, fans spinning, air conditioners blowing, etc … He may have heard predatory sounds from outside in the still quiet that were freaking him out.  Change is stressful and going from soft background sounds to nothing was probably a lot more dramatic for him than for you because hearing is not one of our primary senses.  I think smell and hearing outrank vision with sugar gliders, so changes in those areas will have a bigger impact than we might be able to relate to.

Now you also mention that you keep some light on for him at night.  I hear from a lot of people they do this to control barking.  You also keep a low TV on, so there is background noise.  Both of these things changed that fearful and funny night.

Arnold says to tell you to get one of those Guardian generators, ‘cuz if Furby wants TV, he should have it no matter what.  And Arnold thinks Furby was acting out in this way because he was just about to find out whodoneit on his favorite TV show and then BAM!…off the TV went.  So a guardian generator will solve the problem!

I always listen to Arnold, but I don’t always take his advice.

May the light be with you!
Lisa and Arnold

‘Til next time, in good health for you and your gliders, we sign off in appreciation of all of you who share great glider adventures with us!