How Far can Sugar Gliders Fall Safely?
by Lisa

The case of the “Camp Shower Bonder”

I picked up a camp shower room at KMart which is great for playing with my suggies.  It’s tall enough that I can stand up in it, the ceiling is mesh so they can climb all over it and it has a small footprint for the space.  I was using a kid tent, but it was getting a bit hot after being in there for a while and after one of the rods broke, I found out that a replacement would be more than I paid for the tent.

I know animals that live in trees are pretty tough.  I saw a squirrel when I was in college fall out of a tree when a twig broke around the second or third story dorm window, hit the ground, stand up, clean off and run right back up the tree.  I’ve clothes-pinned some old sheets to the inside of my shower tent where there isn’t mesh, but sometimes they come off or the suggies jump at someplace they can’t grab onto and slide down the tent wall to the ground.

I know that six feet isn’t much compared to two stories, but I worry that they are going to hurt themselves.  How much do I need to be concerned about that kind of thing?  I don’t want to be so conservative that they don’t have any gliding room.

Luna & Scuttle
Hi Liz, Scooter, Luna & Scuttle!

Sugar gliders can glide about 150 feet in the wild.  That is half the length of a football field.  Granted, they must begin from a very high place!  Gliders are built well for long jumping and I doubt there is anything in a single story home that would be too challenging for a glider to handle.  I’ve had quite a few people send in pictures from two story loft homes with gliders jumping down to furniture from lofts with grace and ease.

After you sent your email, I began checking into these camping tents and I see they come in a variety of sizes and styles.  I think with the right configuration this could be a great alternative to tent bonding, particularly for those of us who are “middle aged” and keep forgetting to show up at yoga class!  A camping shower can easily fit a chair and if it is fully enclosed would create a nice private enclave to keep your gliders safe – and to force close interaction.

Bigger is not better if you are just beginning to bond with new gliders, but if your gliders are fully bonded, then you could go for the larger model as that close interaction no longer needs to be “forced”.    Bonded gliders will want to jump to you, on you, and give you those unexpected and beloved face hugs!  I think a camping shower and a pair of goggles along with some yogurt drops is a good alternative to the small junior dome tents that are so popular with new glider keepers.  Kids love the tent idea, but those of us who may be less flexible could be infinitely more comfortable in a camping shower.

Thanks for the tip Liz and Gang!  Face hugs to you for a great idea!

Will Breeding Gliders Make Them Mean?
by Lisa

Dear SunCoast!

If I mated a male sugar glider would it make him mean?  I have looked and searched but some say definitely, while others say no way.  Thanks for answering!

Dear Danielle!

If your sugar gliders are bonded before they breed, I would say that breeding them will not make them mean.  It could, however, make them behave in a very protective manner that some people may misinterpret as being mean.

We have a few gliders around here (well, maybe more than a few) and some of them are so fun and outgoing with us until joeys start to come out of pouch.  We know their individual personalities and nuances and some would prefer to be given space when they have young joeys.  This is a natural instinct kicking in where their instinct overrides their relationship with their people.

Not all sugar gliders exhibit this protective behavior; some actually grab my hand as if they are trying to get me to come inside of the nest box to see their new babies.  

So you see, some gliders want to show off, some gliders would prefer to be given space. This can be true of either males or females (or both) and you won’t know how it will go until you actually have the experience.  Others will be happy for you to share the experience.  It really is an individual thing.

If you do let your gliders breed and they do exhibit a protective behavior, then give them the space they are asking for.  I think it is really important that you keep their stress levels down, particularly when breeding them.  Once the babies are old enough, many will revert to their pre-parenting nature.

Keeping Pets Safe while Renovating
by Lisa

Taking on major renovation projects has always been of concern to me because of the “kids”.  My “kid core” is comprised of 7 adult sugar gliders, one big dog, and our newest family member Maxine, a 7 year old Himalayan cat.  Like many homes, we keep a variety of compatible pets and with each brings a challenge to the process of renovating the space.

I had a recent contact from a lady who was having some work done at her house.  While in her home, a worker opened the glider cage to peek in and then did not secure it.  Without going into further detail, there was an unhappy ending for one of her sugar gliders.  Good news is that she has found a new friend for the lonely glider.

With the popularity of ‘stay-cations’ this year, I’ve noticed a lot of people seem to be using their time to take care of some long awaited home-based projects in preparation for the holidays.  I’ve seen folks doing all sorts of home projects, including painting homes, refinishing hardwood floors, replacing windows, etc. so I thought this might be a good time to share a few recommendations for keeping our curious pets safe and sound during any sort of remodeling project.

Watch for these issues particular to sugar gliders:

1)  If remodeling a kitchen, make sure you have access to refrigeration to keep fresh foods on hand for your sugar gliders.  We humans have lots of alternatives for sourcing food, but your gliders need access to their special diet which often requires refrigeration.  The good news is small “dorm room” fridges are fairly inexpensive if you need an alternative to your own fridge to store glider goodies.

2)  If having electrical work done, make sure it doesn’t impact your refrigeration or if in cold climate, the heat in the glider room.  “Roughing it” can be fun, but remember your glider really wants to be in an environment that is between 70 and 85 degrees.  A sugar glider’s body temp is only 2 degrees different from yours; if you are uncomfortable, so is your sugar glider.

3)  Make sure your work crew does not just help themselves to a peek in cages that seem uninhabited during the day, because the gliders are all fast asleep in their sleeping pouch.  They probably won’t open a cage they see a bird in because they know what to expect from that experience; not so with a sugar glider that wakes up suddenly and is scared by the presence of an “unfamiliar tree”.

And in general, for all pets, including gliders:

4)  Protect your pets from excessive sanding and demolition dust.  Close them up in a distant room or other end of the house and make sure the work area is sealed to keep construction dust inside.

5)  Protect your pets from excessive and out of the ordinary noise.  Playing classical music in the room they are in seems to relax pets who are shut in another room and may have anxiety about that.

6)  Protect your pets from fumes emitted from cleaners, paints, solvents and other re-finishing chemicals.  Close off any vents in the room, particularly if you are painting a room with an air return vent.  It is important to protect your pets from fumes that may be experienced from paints, varnishes and other finishes.

7)  Make sure your pets are not able to take themselves for a walk when workers leave doors open.  When you have contractors coming in and out doing demolition and reconstruction, doors are nearly always left open.  Workmen are not going to close doors with every entry and exit because they are usually carrying something.

We often learn valuable lessons the hard way and I hope this advice helps you avoid any unnecessary trauma on yourself or your pets. Renovating in itself has its challenges.  One hazard of kitchen renovation could easily be human weight gain if you’ve taken out your refrigerator and stove. The temptation of fast food could impact that svelte waistline. So do your self a favor and eat from the glider fridge!  While I’d pass on the mealworms, the fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt and eggs all make great snacks.  Sugar Gliders do eat a very healthy diet after all!

‘Til next time, in good health for you and your sugar gliders!