New Product Announcement: 
Possum Milk Replacer In, Wombaroo Out

By Lisa

Several months ago, it came to our attention that the company that makes Wombaroo decided to change their formulation.  The change was rather significant and in summary, the animal proteins were replaced with soy protein.

There is a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding the use of soy protein in pet products.  Well, let me rephrase this comment.  There is actually a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding the use of soy in people products as well.

For this reason, we have decided not to use any products with our sugar gliders where soy protein is the primary ingredient.  And if I’m not willing to use the product myself, there is no way we are going to offer it in Arnold’s store.  If you want to know more, then I suggest that you Google soy problems for yourself and you decide.

Once this change came to our attention, we’ve been on a mad scramble to find a suitable replacement product.  We began our search in Australia, as that is where Wombaroo came from and we just figured that companies in one of the indigenous countries of sugar gliders would have a better product offering.  Well, that is not necessarily true.  We did find one product that offered us promise, but the import cost made it almost as valuable as gold!

We discussed the issue with a couple of vets and animal nutritionists and were basically told the same thing.  Milk replacement products are not actually made from the milk of the species in question.  Rather, milk replacers are more generic in nature and the intent is to find a mixture that will most closely emulate the nutritional balance of the target species.

We were then advised to seek out some of the specialty companies in the U.S. who have come out with advanced formulations specifically designed to address some of the lactose intolerance issues that exist with many small animals, sugar gliders included.

Then the quest focused on emulating similar nutritional balance in a new product.  We also sought out a product that uses a more easily digested protein source, as this is the direction that science is moving.  And we are pleased to say that we have accomplished our mission and are now ready to ship out our new product, made just for Arnold’s store called Possum Milk Replacer.

True to form, we’re not going to waste your money on fancy packaging.  We are now able to offer you much more product for less money under the brand new name Arnold’s Choice!  Interestingly enough, we were also successful in finding other breeders that had used this formula for years with their sugar gliders because they felt it was not only easier to digest for the gliders, but much better on their wallets as well.  Now is that good news, or what?!

Dear Arnold: What’s the Difference Between
an Exotic Animal and a Regular Animal?

by Arnold 

Hello Arnold,

My name is Keziah and for school I am researching exotic pets.  Now I know you know a lot but I was wondering if you knew any thing about what makes an exotic pet different from a regular pet, such as a dog or a cat.

Thank you so much!

Dear Keziah!

Let’s start with regular pets, like dogs and cats.  These types of animules are known as domesticated.  Domestic animules have been raised for a very very very long time to be friends to people.  So what’s a long time?  Me looked up in me books of archaeozoology to see just how long a long time is.  Dogs have been friends to peeps since 15000 BC, that’s 17000 years ago!  Cats have been friends to peeps since 9500 BC, anutter really really long time ago! Even goldfish have been friends to peeps for a super duper long time.

Exotic is a fancy word for wild, so exotic animals are really wild animals that are friends to peeps, but ya might not expect to see such a critter as a friend to peeps.  Critters like me are exotic and so are monkeys, skunks and alligators.  Regular animals are domesticated.  Exotic animals are sophisticated.  Domestic animals are known as pets.  Exotic animals think of the peeples as our pets!  Nyuk nyuk nyuk!  And so it is!

Luv Arnold

Dear Arnold: Are the bugs in a can alive?
by Lisa

Dear Arnold,

Are your can of crickets and grasshoppers still alive and moving or are they dead in the can?  I am getting ready to order them more food and I have the meal worms that are still alive, but I didn’t know if the crickets and grasshoppers are too.  Thank you for your help.


Hi Hillary,

Lisa here.  Sorry to say I’ve intercepted this letter from Arnold’s mail bag, because I don’t want him to know the whole truth about the canned bugs. Fact is, the bugs are very un-alive in the cans, but may not always look that way.  It sure does look like those worms are doing the wiggly, squiggly dance when you open it up.  But I assure you that they really aren’t alive.

Reason I grabbed this before Arnold saw it is because I didn’t exactly tell him this.  You see, around here, we just say that they are sleeping.  Arnold prefers it this way!  The canned bugs are so fresh tasting to the sugar gliders, they hardly know the difference.

Happy New Year and thanks for writing to Arnold.

Best Wishes,

Giving Sugar Gliders as Gifts For the Holidays

By Lisa

Is it a good idea to give someone animals as a gift?  Well maybe, or maybe not.  There are gifts of the surprise type, but a lot of people give gifts that are known in advance and planned for, and I think this is the key to answering this question responsibly.

If you are planning to surprise someone with something live for the holiday, please think about what you are doing.  You are basically making a commitment on behalf of someone else that goes something like this:

“I am giving you a gift that will require you – for the next 10-15 years – to be a totally responsible person.  I am committing you to prepare fresh meals every night during this time frame and to have to do a lot of extra planning every time you want to take a vacation.  And for the next month you are to forget everything else to focus on making friends with your new surprise.”

Yikes!  Do you want to put this kind of pressure on a person you love?  Wouldn’t a gift card to Starbuck’s be a gentler surprise?

But what if this loved one is the type of person that, for the last three years, has dreamed out loud about having friends like Arnold and his pals?  What if this loved one has gone into magnificent detail about the type of home these new friends would have?  What if this person has read everything known to mankind about the nutritional needs, social needs and the commitment required to keep them happy and healthy?  Then would be it OK?  I think so!

The important point is in the planning.  Bringing new pets into a home on a whim is never a good idea, whether it’s a surprise gift or a spontaneous purchase made at a fair or a trade show.  Please be fully prepared and fully informed before making such a long term decision.

There is also the type of gift that someone might give themselves!  I
know a lot of people that do this, myself included.  If that is the case,
it is hardly a surprise and something you know that the proper
planning has been done for.

In preparing for this month’s newsletter, I decided to make a couple of phone calls to the local shelters in our area.  The first one I called was Friends of Strays.  This organization provides shelter and fostering for homeless dogs and cats.  I applaud their holiday policy which does not allow any adoptions the week before or the week after Christmas.  Why do you think they do that?  Animal shelters, such as the SPCA, see an increase in animals dropped off to the shelters after the holiday season.

Interestingly, they also see an increase after popular movies hit the silver screen.  A commonly cited story is about the increase in unwanted Dalmatians after the release of 101 Dalmatians.  Getting caught up in the euphoria of pet trends, holiday buying or venues encouraging spontaneous purchases of animals that the majority of the population knows nothing about is not good for the animals.  As an animal lover, I hope that the holiday message you impart to your circle is to encourage good decision making when bringing home new pets.  And when I asked the President of Friends of Strays if she had a holiday message, she chuckled, because her message is the same year round.  Please have your pets neutered.  This simple act will increase the quality of life for so many!

We are so grateful to you for your continued patronage and wish you and yours a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.  

Catch you next year!

‘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!