Using Red Lights with Sugar Gliders

by Lisa

Dear Lisa,

I wanted to tell you about this light bulb that I got.  It’s one of those energy efficient twirly ones and it is red.  It does not get hot at all and I cannot believe how much more our gliders come out in their room to see us when we have this on instead of a bright light.  I leave it on for them all night.

Hi Mary,

I too use red lights in my glider room.  Last year when we were decorating for the holidays, I found a couple of strings of red pepper holiday lights and strung these over Arnold’s cage.  They’ve been up ever since.  Since the lights all glow red because of the “chili pepper” covers over a standard strand of small white Christmas lights, it produces the same type of red light that zoos would use in a nocturnal house.  Nocturnal animals do not see red, so the soft light it casts allows us humans to see our furry little friends as they jump and play in the prime time of night.  

I’ve had people write in that have used other types of creative red lights as well such as rope lights.  The use of red lights has been an accepted standard for a long time with nocturnal creatures.  White light will decrease their activity level and encourage them to hide.  Exercise is important and there are many ways to create the red light environment without spending a lot of money.

My only advice is that you don’t string the lights so close to the habitat that the gliders can touch the lights and possibly chew on those cords.  Also, when you let them out at night, just keep an eye on them that they don’t mess around with the lights.  Rope lights tend to be a bit more protected than the typical string of Christmas lights.  My gang has not shown much interest in the lights as a possible toy, but I never let them out unsupervised either.  If you do tend to let them play while you step away, make sure your setup is safe for them.  Red lights rock for gliders and humans alike!


Do Sugar Gliders Like Sugar Cane?

Dear SunCoast,

I purchased a stalk of sugar cane from a local market for my gliders and didn’t think to check and see if it was safe for gliders to have.  I cannot seem to find any information on whether or not it is OK for them to climb on.  If you have any information you could share, please let me know.  Thank you.

Dear Kim,

Sugar cane is a food so from the standpoint of a plant that is toxic versus a plant or stalk that is non toxic, sugar cane passes that test.  But that is not the only consideration.  Sugar cane IS sugar.  And gliders will chew on it to eat that sugar.  So from a nutritional standpoint, feeding pure sugar is probably not the best idea.  Sugar does not have great nutritional values; sugar is high in calories, so it may lead to extra weight gain and increased hyperactivity.

So personally, I would avoid sugar cane as a treat for gliders.  There is also evidence that sugar gliders can be affected by blood sugar issues.  We’ve discussed cases of suspected hypoglycemia and diabetes in gliders with several vets.  These cases often seem to be directly linked to diet and/or old age.

So my advice is to avoid too much sugar in the glider diet.  Nutrition is so important to their long term well-being and lifespan.


Setting up a Joey Cage

by Lisa

Hi, my name is Becky and I’m a vet tech and a soon to be new glider mom.  I have some questions for you.  I had heard that you should keep the cage somewhat sparse while you are trying to bond with your new joeys.  Is this true or can I go ahead and make their cage a fun and exciting new place right away? I  can see both sides of this argument and would love your input.  My next question is about cooking certain vegetables.  Some I know you serve raw, but what about things like frozen veggies?
Dear Becky,

In regards to your habitat set up, my advice is to go for it, right away!  We handle a lot of babies every year and deal with lots of new glider parents.  Enrichment is important and will not distract the joeys from bonding with you.  It is important to help them satisfy their natural curiosities and instinctual habits.  Creating a sparse cage  could affect their mental development and will not serve them well or affect your bonding one way or the other.  If they are bored, it could actually have a negative impact on their relationship with you.

This idea of keeping a joey cage sparse is a fallacy.  BUT, you want to keep them under your control when out of the fabulously decorated habitat.  If you give them too much freedom out of the cage before bonded, they may become more distracted by the environment than connected to you.  Once bonded, let them have fun outside of their home as well.

Now concerning those veggies, we feed all of our fruits and veggies raw.  But we live in Florida and have access to nice fresh veggies and fruits year round.  This is not true worldwide and when using frozen veggies … my answer is the same … raw!  Cooking will decrease the level of vitamins and nutrients found naturally in plant based foods.  Raw foods are more healthful.

You can even put the frozen veggies in the cage while still cold.  Some gliders may like to lick them while cold.  If the gliders prefer them at room temperature, they will wait for the veggies to thaw before munching down!


How To Get Your Gliders to Fly!

by Arnold

Dear Arnold,

What is wrong with my sugar gliders?  They don’t seem to know how to fly?  Do I need to teach them to do this or will it just happen?

Hallo Amy!

So Amy, would that be short for Amelia?

To give ya a good answer here, me has consulted up with my pals Merriam and Webster.  Merriam had this to say about what it means to fly: “to move in or pass through the air with wings”.  And Webster had anuther idea about fly: “a winged insect”.  And what me has to say about this is Yo Merriam, me has no wings. This is why us suggies don’t fly. And to Webster, me says “an insect”?  Sounds yummy!

Suggie gliders don’t ever fly Amy!  It might look like that in some pictures, but what we are actually doing is gliding.  Gliding and flying are not the same.

Now here’s what Merriam and Webster has to say about gliding:
“to move smoothly, continuously, and effortlessly”.  This is what us suggies are all about.  And we can move this way through the air with the greatest of ease.  No wings on us, but what we have is a patagium that helps us glide smoothly from high places to low places.  When us suggies jumps from places, our patagium opens up sorta like a para-shoot!

So … now Amy … do you mind if I call ya Amelia?  Me only knows one sugar glider that actually flies and his name is Charles (but I call him Chuck-a-roo!) 

Me s’pose that you could get your gliders to fly if you got them a flyin’ machine like Chuck-a-roo!  

Have fun and Happy Flyin! 
Off to the wild blue yonder now!
Over and out! 

P.S. Happy Hollydaze and Happy New Year too!

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