Color Variations – Part II

Information Provided By Judie Hausmann

It is a great pleasure to bring you information this month from a long time member of the glider community and breeder of specialized colors.  Color breeding has not traditionally been a focus here at SunCoast, but it’s a topic that many are interested in learning about. Judie is a small Midwest breeder with quite a collection of rare and beautiful gliders. 

She has graciously shared definitions for some of the most exotic color variations and the going market rates. You might want to sit down and grab a bottle of smelling salts!  When you decide to venture into the market of the highly sought after rare colors, plan to open the wallet wide!

Last month we left off with white face gliders.  As far as exotic colors are concerned, this is one of the more interesting variations that is still somewhat affordable.  To review last month’s article, click here.

Remember from last month that the definition of het is “offspring that appear normal but carry the unusual genetic trait of one of, or both, parents”.  The going price for the white face glider, if produced by one white face parent and one normal parent, or two hets for white face, is $400.  White face offspring, produced by two white face parents, cost $500.  Hets produced by one white face parent and one parent of normal color are $250.  Hets produced by two white face parents run $325.  An even more rare variation is the white face cinnamon produced by one white face parent and one red cinnamon parent. These go for $600.

The true red cinnamon is born this color and is produced by one red cinnamon and a normal with a cinnamon gene.  Going price today is $300.  Red cinnamon offspring produced by two red cinnamon parents run $400.

Please note that not much is known about the true cinnamon glider. Judie has produced several babies that obtained their true red cinnamon color where the coat color was dark red with an auburn stripe visible from the time the joeys came out of pouch.  The color in the true red cinnamon should not change over time.  So if the joey shows the trait early on, beware that the color may change over time.  If the color does change, you should still expect the gene to be carried by this offspring.

The next color definition Judie has shared with us is called champagne.  These sell for about $800 and are a good choice to breed with the all white Leucistic.  When bred to a Leucestic, this pairing produces almost white gliders, but the dominant gene is still there, as the gliders produced are almost white but do have splotches of color, usually on top of the head and top of back.  The Champagne glider is of light color and the dorsal stripe does not go completely down the body.  The color may be described as somewhat blonde.

An even lighter color variation is described as Platinum colored.  These run about $1800 and are a light creamy color variation with a very short dorsal stripe.  They are very rare and are only produced from a Leucistic gene carrier.

OK, if you have a better budget than this, then the next color variation is the leucistic.  Leucistic gliders are all white with black eyes.  The males tend to sell for higher prices as they can be mated with multiple females.  Going rate for a male leucistic is $2500 and the female asking price is $2000.  First generation het for leucistic will command a handsome $1000 fee and second generation het for leucistic (possible het) sell for an impressive $700!  Prices that are set for these high value gliders will often be relative to the length of time and success a particular breeder has had with their breeding program. Inbreeding was a common method by which these colors were brought out.  Keep in mind that breeding too tightly can result in health issues and/or sterility.

The last variation we will discuss in this article is albino!  Time to call in the sugar daddy…  The albino gliders have pure white fur and red eyes.  There will be not racing stripes or other markings present at all on the glider.  If the glider is colored other than pure white, then it has an incomplete dominant gene, thus the off color.  For breeding purposes, such a glider would be considered a het for albino.  Pricing for the prized albino glider can go as high as $5000 plus!

An albino with pink eyes has a diluted gene that causes the eye color to be pink instead of garnet red.  This variation sells for $3000 plus.  
And the hets that carry this coveted trait command $1000 for first generation and $700 for second generation offspring!

Thank you Judie for taking the time to provide us with this “wealth” of information!   Now Judie asked that we share with you that she is not a geneticist.  From our observations of Judie, we can tell you that she is an extreme glider enthusiast with a great love and passion for our fuzzbutts.  Thanks to people like Judie who have a passion to learn more, we can learn more about different aspects of glider keeping!

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!

Dear Lisa and Arnold!
Hey there – how are ya doing??  I’m planning on driving down to Florida (with JoJo and Petunia Blossom, of course) in late January and had hoped that we could visit while I was in the neighborhood. Any chance we could drop by on our way south?? 

Dear Alice!
Yikes! Me wishes you could give me more advanced warning!  Jo Jo is maybe even famouser than me as the first sugar babe calendar cover girl.  Omigosh, me cant’s catch me breath!  I gotta get ready.  I totally have pouch hair!  Omigosh, why did I donate some of me tail fur for that Bloke’s allergy tests!  I have a bald spot!  What will JoJo think?  O, I hope she likes me cuz I looooooove her!  Jo Jo is so beyooootiful.  I gotta go …. Must find a toupee shop to cover me bald spot.  I’ll answer the rest of me mail later!

Arnold the Love Struck

Well, 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… Revisiting Diets

By Dr. C., of course!

Last month we began a discussion on glider teeth and while I intend to continue that discussion sometime soon, I am compelled to revisit an old topic.  I cannot emphasize enough how important diet and nutrition is when it involves the keeping of exotics.  Sugar gliders seem to be particularly susceptible to dietary issues.

As a health practitioner, I admit it is a bit frustrating at times to see the high volume of cases that are illnesses onset by poor dietary decisions.  Very few people bring their sugar gliders in for routine wellness visits.  Unless I am seeing a sugar glider for a routine procedure, like neutering, I generally see gliders that are suffering from some form of nutritional deficiency.

I hope to make a point to you in this article that you will take strongly to heart.  The majority of the sugar gliders seen in my practice for medical reasons are suffering from some form of malnutrition!  I spend a great deal of time educating my clients on good dietary practices.  It’s surprising to me to find out how many people take such extreme liberties with a diet plan that is rather well defined.

Sugar gliders are notorious for hiding illnesses well.  Many individuals are misled by a false sense of security that they are doing the right things nutritionally for their gliders because the gliders look well.  They are active and playful, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and may even be reproducing healthy looking offspring.  This often leads to the false impression that the diet plan is sound and healthy.  Then one day the sugar glider is lying on its side, barely moving, and the eyes are dull and partially closed.  Poor nutrition can show up in an instant!

You’ve likely read in books and online sources that sugar gliders can live 12-14 years in captivity.  Let me ask you an honest question.  How many people do you know that have gliders that old?  The fact is this – most gliders die prematurely and the cause is often poor nutrition.  This is such a fundamental part of good husbandry.  It’s not hard to feed animals like sugar gliders properly.

I do not intend to re-iterate the whole diet plan that I recommend again.  If you wish to see what my recommendations are, or wish to refresh your memory, click here to review that article.

With the advancement of internet accessibility, a lot of information is being passed around the online communities.  Even some of the books that are on the market are a bit dated in their dietary formulations.  I define a good diet quite simply.  The captive diet should closely emulate the free-range diet in protein, carbohydrate, vitamin and mineral content.  Most importantly, the captive diet should be one that has been successfully time proven and tested over generations of use.  Few of the diets that are presented to me meet these criteria.

I tend to favor the fresh food rotational approach in captive exotic diets.  I also think that a staple food should be offered and accessible around the clock.  Most fresh foods will spoil if left out too long. I ’ve recommended a soft pelleted staple food as I believe this type of presentation best fits the chewing needs of a sugar glider.

Unfortunately, many companies offer a hard crunchy pellet diet and many consumers have taken to soaking these foods to create a better consistency in the food.  If you go this route, soak the food in water.  Using juices or other moistening agents can lead to spoilage. And spoilage can lead to the spread of bacteria and other problems.

Portion control is critical in the sugar glider diet.  Most people tend to overfeed.  If you are offering basically fruit and protein sources, overfeeding either of these portions to a glider with a food preference will create a situation whereby they are filling up on the favorite foods and eating very little of the other offerings.  This is a great way to shortchange your gliders on critical nutritional elements.

Rotation of foods is important for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it helps to prevent boredom in the diet.  Captive animals need enrichment in their lives.  Not only in their play activities, but in the food offerings as well.  Secondly, each type of food offered will carry different nutritional values.  Let’s use mealworms as an example.  You don’t want to feed mealworms every day.  This is not to say mealworms are bad for gliders, because that is not true.  But an overabundance of mealworms can contribute too high of a fat content and over time this will create an unhealthy situation.

One of my favorite words when it comes to nutrition is moderation.  Just ask Lisa and Debbie how much I emphasize this!  You can have too much of a good thing.  By rotating foods, you are creating better balanced and more interesting meal selections.

Too many people jump from diet idea to diet idea in search of the perfect plan.  Pick a plan that is time proven and tested and stick to it. Don’t give up on that plan just because the gliders don’t eat a great deal for a night or two.  It’s easy to see in a colony situation how behavior patterns fluctuate in animals such as gliders.  Lisa and Debbie have reported to me on quite a few occasions that their whole colony of nearly 400 gliders has hardly touched their meals for one or two nights straight.  Environmental conditions that we are not aware of can highly affect animal behavior.  Do not take these intermittent hunger strikes to mean that your glider is sick and starving to death. It is a matter of understanding the nature of the beast.  Sugar gliders will go through phases like these and if it’s a short one or two-day duration, it’s not time to push the panic button and to jump to a completely different plan of nutrition.

Check out the facts on dietary plans.  Listen to the advice of the experienced vets and animal nutritionists in regards to these matters. It’s the single most important thing you can do to keep your sugar gliders happy and healthy for many years to come.  Nothing would please me more to see a trend develop where more and more people actually have gliders that live in excess of 10 years or more!  The path to this goal is good diet!

Tune back in next month for a brand new topic.  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!

Dr. C.