Not all sugar gliders are cuddly, especially if they have not been handled from a very young age. Now during the bonding process your glider will ore than likely nip you, how much depends on things such as age and temperament. For example, my glider Archie will incessantly bite despite being handled the same, and as regularly, as his brother who will only nip on very rare occasions. Now, whilst it is true that you should always try to ‘take the bite’, there are things you can do to make this more manageable.
1. Keep the glider in a place where you can control/ easily remove him such as in your lap. Gliders are very smart and will soon figure out that if they bite in places such as your shoulders or back, there is often not much you can do about it, or at least not very quickly.
2. Don’t be fooled, wearing things such as gloves will not do much good at all. Gliders can tell the difference between skin and clothing, they may run about happily whilst you have a jumper on, but as soon as you take t of they will bite just as much as before.
3. If they are going to bite you, let them do it whilst you expect it and in a place that it will hurt as little as possible. Whilst they are out in your bonding pouch, hold out the side of your hand and let them bite you. DO NOT pull away. The glider will soon get board and leave you alone. Although this may still hurt it will be a lot less of a shock than if they bite your toes.
The most commonly used bed is a fabric rat. However I have found that my gliders love old slippers and old hoodies just as much! The main thing is that they are warm, especially in the winter, and how plenty of room to wiggle about. Another option is to tie a bonding pouch to the cage bars as gliders will often choose to sleep high up rather than on the cage floor. However, always make sure they also have another warm bed that they can choose to use.
Bird toys such as climbing frames, bells and swings are great for gliders. A food ball is also a good option, simply fill it will IAMs chicken flavour cat biscuits and they will spend hours rolling it about to get them out again. Some hamster and rat toys can used too, especially tunnels, see-saws etc. Some gliders also enjoy rat balls (not hamster balls as these are too small) but others will find them very distressing. Something I do with my gliders to to keep they entertained is to loop some Cheerio’s onto some string and hang it across the cage, the harder it is for them to get the better!
A lot of people tend to over complicate this subject. The two basic things you need to remember is that sugar gliders need a helping of fruit or veg with their meal, accompanied by a source of protein.
Fruit and Veg
This can be slightly tricky until you get the hang of it. The most important thing is that you need to get a 2.1 calcium to phosphorus ratio (so twice as much calcium as phosphorus). There are tables available online to help you figure this out, I personally use http://www.iguanaden.org/diet/calphosveg.htm as it shows you how to prep also. You need a minimum of three ingredients in each recipe in order to give sugar gliders a rounded diet. Here are some of my own -
Papaya - 4.8 Spinach - 2 Butternut Squash - 1.5 Apple - 1 TOTAL - 2:1
Rosemary - 4.8 Dandelion Greens – 2.8 Pineapple – 1 Sweet Potato – 0.8 TOTAL – 2:1
Papaya – 4.8 Spinach - 2 Okra – 1.3 Sugar Snap Peas – 0.8 TOTAL – 1.9:1
Rosemary – 4.8 Raspberries – 1.8 Butternut Squash – 1.5 Carrot – 0.6 TOTAL – 1.9:1
Papaya – 4.8 Fig – 2.5 Butternut Squash – 1.5 Broccoli – 0.7 Sugar Snap Peas – 0.8 TOTAL – 2:1
Rosemary – 4.8 Fig – 2.5 Spinach - 2 Mango – 0.9 Apricot – 0.7 TOTAL – 2:1
Papaya – 4.8 Butternut Squash – 1.5 Mango – 0.9 TOTAL – 2:1
Papaya – 4.8 Dandelion Greens – 2.8 Blackberries – 1.5 Strawberries – 0.7 TOTAL – 2:1
Papaya – 4.8 Navel orange – 2 Butternut Squash – 1.5 Sweet Potato – 0.8 TOTAL – 2:1
Rosemary – 4.8 Raspberries – 1.8 Cranberries – 0.7 Blueberries – 0.6 TOTAL – 1.9:1
Rosemary – 4.8 Dandelion Greens – 2.8 Mandarin Orange – 1.4 Apple – 1 Pear – 1 TOTAL – 2:1
Papaya – 4.8 Rosemary 4.8 Sweet Potato – 0.8 Apricot – 0.7 Honeydew or Cantalope Melon – 0.6 TOTAL – 2.1:1
Rosemary – 4.8 Papaya – 4.8 Broccoli – 0.7 Cucumber – 0.7 Apricot – 0.7
TOTAL – 2:1
Papaya – 4.8 Rosemary – 4.8 Broccoli – 0.7 Cucumber – 0.7 Plum – 0.4 TOTAL – 2:1
Rosemary – 4.8 Papaya – 4.8 Cucumber – 0.7 Apricot – 0.7 Cauliflower – 0.5
Once you have picked your recipe, weigh out 150g of each ingredient and put it in the blender (yes you will need a blender) then pour the mix into ice cube trays. two sugar gliders will normally eat between 3-4 ice cubes a day.
The most commonly used sources of protein are-
Chicken (boiled, skinless and boneless)
Egg (Boiled or poached)
Natural Yoghurt (Not Greek. no extra preserves, sugar etc)
Meal Worms (2-3 each)
Protein should make up 1/3 to 1/2 of their meal and should be varied. Natural yoghurt and meal worms should not be fed more than twice a week maximum.
You will need to supplement your Sugar Glider’s diet with vitamins in order to keep them healthy. Womabroo, Glider calcium, and glider booster are the staple and are available here - http://sugarglidershop.co.uk/store/index.php?route=product/category&path=65. Simply add a pinch of each daily to your glider’s food but be careful not to over supplement.
DO NOT FEED
Bird seed, nuts, chocolate, onions, any meat that is not boiled, canned fruit, rhubarb. If unsure, always check.
Snacks should be given in moderation and can also aid the bonding process. Honey and natural yoghurt are glider favourites, but are very high in sugar and should only be given twice a week in small quantity. Heather options include sugar snap peas, pomegranate seeds, chunks of papaya or sweet potato, IAMS cat biscuits (yes really) or wholegrain cereals such as Cheerios.
During prep, the rule of thumb is, if we eat the skin so do they. E.G. a pear is fine but an orange will need to be peeled.
Citrus fruits should only be fed a maximum of twice a week.
For picky gliders, try soaking their food in non-sweetened apple juice.
You will find that veg over fruit will make your gliders smell a lot worse.
Never feed insects you have not bought from a shop.