Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Oh Boy! This is Gonna be GREAT!"

This quote, from Flounder in the movie "Animal House", is what I immediately imagined was going through CB's mind when I opened the door to the cage yesterday morning. This was the first attempt to see if they would come to me to get their morning treat, as opposed to my delivering it to them in the cage. Foehn was certainly interested, and climbed out onto my knee. CB hardly gave me a look as he scrambled through the door and headed down to the floor. True to his nature, he scurried all over the office exploring. Foehn did a little exploring of her own as well, but she actually didn't wander to far from me and the applesauce. Within a couple of minutes she climbed on my arm an headed for the jar I was holding (small baby food size), and I easily guided her into the cage. At some point CB figured "Hey, I'm missing out" and came back to the vicinity of the cage. I was able to lure him to the door and then inside with the applesauce. Once he was in, they both headed to bed. We tried the same thing this morning with similar results, although Foehn stayed with me and the treat and wasn't interested in wandering too far. Fortunately CB has been easy to coax back to the cage, and part of that may be is that it is the end of their day, and he does like his sleep

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Change of Scenery

I have the week after Christmas off from work, so we decided to try something while I am home. During my morning ritual with Foehn and CB (when I give them their before-bedtime treat) we've wondered if they would come out of the cage to (and on) me for their treat, and not take off exploring. I have not wanted to do this during a regular work week. If one or both decided to take off, let's just say my day would not get off to a good start.

On Saturday we moved the gliders' cage from its corner in the family room into my office. It is probably the most glider-proof room in the house next to the bathroom. Not perfect, but there's not much they can get into. The idea was to "invite" them out of the cage in the morning to get their treat and see what happens in a controlled environment.

So it was with some anticipation I headed for the cage Sunday morning at my regular time (about 6:45 a.m.). I did not hear the usual rustling they make running up and down the side of the cage when they hear me come out. They were already in the pouch! Not just in the pouch, wriggling around getting settled, but sound asleep. Bummer. I pretty quickly realized why they turned in early, or so I thought. The office has two large windows which provide a lot of natural light. Their corner in the family room is not quite so exposed and stays somewhat dark. So, we made a point to shut the blinds in the office Sunday night so that it would stay darker in the morning Yesterday morning I was happy to see they were up and waiting for me, but as luck would have it I had to put off the experiment because of time (something came up I had to take care of). Today I came in fully prepared, treat in hand, and there was no sound coming from the cage. They were already asleep for the day! I'll give it another try tomorrow.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Foraging We Go...

A post in one of the glider online forums the other day gave me an idea for a foraging "toy" for the gliders. I finally got the time to try it out on Friday night. I took three empty plastic prescription bottles and drilled several small holes around the sides. M gave me some small fleece scraps, which I used to plug the opening after putting pieces of baby yogurt drops in the bottles. I then left them scattered on the floor of the tent during tent time. It did not take Foehn and CB long to figure out there was something good inside the bottles! They could smell it through the holes drilled in the bottles. It took them a few minutes to figure out how to get the bottle opened by pulling out the fleece. That's when the real challenge started. The treat was near the bottom of the bottle, and their heads are not big enough to get very far in. There were some comical moments as Foehn pushed the bottle along the floor of the tent trying to get her nose further inside, and for a brief second it looked like her head was stuck. She finally jiggled the bottle enough where the yogurt drop came toward the opening and she was able to have her reward. In the third bottle they manged to push the fleece halfway down the bottle, and I didn't think they would be able to get it out since it was wedged in there pretty good. Having tasted victory earlier, Foehn pretty quickly figured out how to work the fleece out of the bottle.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

She Likes Me! She Really Likes Me!

We had to make some adjustments to the gliders' tent time this week. On Saturday we went and cut down our Christmas tree, a beautiful spruce, and I set it up and put the lights on Saturday night. The tree is in the family room and now there isn't a lot of room to set up the tent. So, we moved tent time into our bedroom for the time being. The tent is only up for the time we are using - it folds down and stores under the bed. This is a Genji tent, and the metal frame is built into the tent. It pops up and folds down in literally seconds - here's a video showing how it folds down. Pretty cool.

When we had tent time Sunday night both Foehn and CB came out of the pouch almost immediately, with only a small bribe needed. More to the point, CB did not spend time "warming up" - he went right to climbing, running and jumping. This was unusual, as they have never been this quick to get started before. The same thing happened on Monday. The only thing we could figure is that there was only a small lamp with a 15 watt bulb on in the bedroom, and the light was very subdued. In the family room we have the several lights and the TV usually on, and sometimes the lights in the kitchen which is open to the family room. Since these guys are nocturnal, the subdued lighting may be more to their liking.

Both Foehn and CB have been climbing on me more and more each night. They climb up my back, across my shoulders, down my arm, or launch from my shoulder to the tent side where they climb. Last night Foehn climbed up my back and was sitting on my shoulder. I could not really see her as she was close to my neck and out of my peripheral vision, even with my head turned. I felt a little pinch on my ear, then another, and then something in my hair. She was nipping my ear and my neck, not so that it really hurt. I could not figure out what was going on, and M, who was watching this through the tent, said "She is grooming you!" Gliders groom themselves regularly and often each other. Typically, once you have bonded with a sugar glider and earned its trust it will start grooming you. When it grooms you, it will bite lightly (more like scraping its teeth on your skin) and/or lick repetitively. However, even light bites on an ear lobe are a little disconcerting especially when you are not able to see what is going on. Now I know why CB sometimes hisses at her when she starts to groom him! Of course, she seems to always want to groom CB while he is snuggled up and asleep!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eight and a Half Weeks

Sorry It's been five days since my last post. It's not because nothing has happened, but I'm still dealing with this cold and have been trying to get to bed earlier to shake it off.

The gliders have been with us a little over eight weeks - it was eight weeks on the 9th. We had a couple of more steps forward this week with both Foehn and CB. For some time now during tent time they would run around, climb, etc. but would generally avoid climbing on me except if I had a treat. Ending play time was at times a hassle. CB would go to the pouch, but Foehn wanted to keep playing. Things have changed a lot in the last two weeks. Ending tent time every night is just a matter of laying the pouch on the floor of the tent. As soon as they see it they both make their way in and are ready to go. They know dinner is waiting in their cage. This is now part of their routine and It's nice not to have the stress of trying to corral them. Then, this week Foehn has been climbing up and down my back, on my shoulders and jumping off to the side of the tent. She even takes a break from her climbing to periodically come down and check things out and climb on me again. CB still takes time to get going (about 45 minutes, actually), but once does he is climbing and jumping. He really likes to leap from one wall of the tent to the other. The other night there was a glider on my shoulder, and it turned out to be CB, much to my surprise. That was a first for him. And the other day, they both crawled into my M's shirt for the first time.

We are also busy getting ready for the holidays. In keeping with the season, M made Foehn & CB two new pouches for the cage. The Christmas tree pouch is their favorite. It's 12 inches long and deep. They have been in the reindeer once or twice, but the tree pouch is where they sleep. They also like to play with the "candy canes" (made out of plastic straws).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Finding the Time...

First it was the Thanksgiving holiday, now it's a cold. I came down with a cold Friday night and haven't been up to writing a post the last couple of days. On the other hand, not much has happened compared to CB's escapade the other night.

Despite feeling wiped out from this cold the last couple of days, I did spend some time in the tent with Foehn and CB the last two evenings. Since pretty much I just sit there and let them run it's not too taxing. It's been taking CB a good 30 to 45 minutes to get revved up. He is really content to just settle in to my pant leg or under my knee. Then as if someone flips a switch, he is out running, climbing, and jumping. In the meantime, Foehn gets going pretty quickly. One of her favorite things is to climb to the top of the front screen of the tent, and climb back and forth and back and forth along the top....M says it makes her dizzy just watching. Foehn is actually wearing a path in the screening. Occasionally she will jump down, check on CB, run around, but then get right back up there. Sometimes I wonder if she doesn't have OCD! Last night though, she did jump on to me a number of times from the tent. She also climbed up to my shoulder at least a half dozen times, which is a first (at least for the number of times). She climbed up my back to one shoulder, then across to the other shoulder. Sometimes he would jump to the tent wall, other times she would climb down my arm to my knee and then jump. She was having a great time, and so was I, for that matter. We think it is another significant step.

This weekend I assembled a "tree" out of PVC pipe for them to climb on. M wrapped the "trunk" in rope, and the branches will be covered with fleece sleeves. After a little hesitation because of the newness, they both have taken to climbing to the top and launching to the tent wall. I'll try and have a photo or two in the next post.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

CB - the Explorer, Part Deux

I was fully intending to post last night, but ended up being otherwise occupied. It was a long day, but ended with about an hour of tent time. M turned in early, so it was just me and the gliders. The ending tent time thing really is working. When I need to end it, I bring the pouch in, they climb in within a minute or two, and off we go to the cage where they can have their dinner. Last night went as usual, except that I was holding the pouch closed rather than having zipped it. They are both pretty squirmy in the pouch when they know dinner is soon. Well, as I was placing the pouch in the cage a glider streaked out of the pouch and onto the side of the cage. I thought it was Foehn, since the glider in the cage was already getting settled in the sleeping pouch, and that's CB's M.O. However, we discovered that it in fact was CB that had escaped but only at the end of this long escapade. He far surpassed his previous adventure.

I was unable to coax or bribe him into a pouch, although I almost had him once. He scampered into the dining room, which adjoins the room their cage is in. I was pretty successful in keeping him corralled there, or so I thought. He was under the dining room table, and I was trying to move his pouch close so he would see it and hopefully go in. I don't know exactly when, but he seemed to just disappear. I looked all over and listened. After ten minutes, I realized that he was either no longer in the area or hiding quietly. I went in and told M, who was just falling asleep, that "Foehn is gone and I don't know where she is!" We searched everywhere upstairs. We made sure all the toilet seats were down, looked behind the stove, under beds, in the cushions of the sofa. M thought that since we couldn't see him investigating anything he might have gone downstairs into the basement. When I could not locate him initially I immediately checked the basement stairs but did not see him and assumed he didn't have time to get down there without being seen. After a half hour or more of searching upstairs I was feeling pretty bad for letting him get away and wondering if we would ever find him. I was standing at the top of the stairs and thought I heard something. I told M to stay still, and sure enough I heard some rustling in the basement. I shined my flashlight into the basement and saw a long tail move out of the light! He was down there. The good news - we knew where he was, but the bad news was that he was in the basement, and the basement is full of "stuff". To top it off, he made a beeline for the worst area of the basement, the "utility" area whee the sump pump, well tank. and water softener are located, and which is currently packed with more stuff including wood I use. It is dusty and generally a mess and hard to get around, in addition to having tons of places for a glider to hide. Once we found him in the basement, it took at least an hour to finally grab him. We would lay a pouch down with a meal worm or yogurt treat. He would go halfway in, grab the goods, and back right out before I could grab the pouch. Finally, he exposed himself enough where I was able to grab him with a fleece blanket. He was scared and dusty and bit me hard. We had him, though, after more than two hours of searching and chasing. It was when M was wiping him down to get the dust and dirt off that we realized it was CB and not Foehn.

Typically CB is laid back and calm. Here's a photo of him settled into my pant leg during tent time - that's the "normal" CB. However, once he gets a taste of freedom he is a different animal...CB, the Explorer.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Morning Ritual

It's been almost a week since my last was a busy Thanksgiving holiday and weekend.

I wrote in a previous how Foehn, and occasionally CB, wait for me in the morning for their treat before turning in for the day. CB missed out at times because he was already settled in for the day in their pouch. Well, he has, as they say, finally "gotten with the program". The last several mornings CB has been there with Foehn scrambling to the front of the cage when I come out to get ready for work. The first of these mornings he was in the pouch, but curiosity got the best of him and just before I was ready to close the door he scampered out of the pouch and climbed down to the door for his share of the treat. Ever since that morning he has been waiting for me with his sister. No doubt they were disappointed with me this weekend as I did not get out in time Saturday or Sunday, and by the time I came out (around 7:30 am) they had already turned in. They were ready and waiting this morning, however. There was a minor mishap as I was closing the cage door after their treat. A small bowl with the yogurt/applesauce mix was in my left hand, and I didn't realize I had my hand close to the cage. Foehn nipped my ring finger as I was latching the door with my right hand. Startled by the unexpected nip, I jerked my left hand back and a nice glob of the mix ended up on my clean shirt.

Enjoying a morning yogurt treat(my yogurt-covered finger is the focus of attention in the far right hand side of the photo)

Well, they both are now awake as I write this and busy grooming themselves in the pouch. They are both looking out at me and I think they may be ready for their dinner. I best get them to their cage before they decide to try and explore on their own!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Is More Like It

The last few nights of tent time have gone well, but we have had a few "adventures" outside of that. On Sunday our son visited with his glider Molly and we had them all in the tent together (supervised, of course). Molly was all over the tent climbing and jumping, while CB and Foehn remained in their pouch, watching but tentative. They eventually came out and the three of them were checking each other out. As long as it was one on one things were OK, but when both Foehn and CB were sniffing out Molly at the same time it got testy. There was some hissing and brief entanglement but no damage was done. That ended that. We'll have to try a different tactic in the future.

M had them both on their blanket most of last evening. I left for a few minutes to take the trash to the curb, and when I returned M appeared to be searching for something. That something was CB. They had been scooching over to the side of the blanket, and when M saw that they were avoiding droppings, she tried to clean the blanket while still keeping them under control. CB saw this as the perfect opportunity to go on an adventure. He climbed up M's arm, ok, that was a good sign, jumped to the arm of the sofa, oh oh, bad sign, then hopped under the sofa. Scooping Feohn up in the blanket, M struggled to her knees only to see CB investigating the floor outlet under the sofa! Bad idea. When I came in she was trying to keep him corralled under the sofa (it has high clearance) to no avail. He wanted to explore - again. Into the dining room, back into the great room, and down the hall into the guest room. I was a little concerned because there was a lot of stuff in there, especially in the closet, which is of course where he headed. After trying to tempt him with his favorite meal worms to no avail, he scooted under the bed.. equally bad idea, as the bed has very low clearance... When he finally slowed down after 20 minutes I placed two pouches near him. He contemplated these for awhile. The lure of a familiar place and mealworms as his reward for the correct choice was too strong, and when he crawled into one of the pouches the game was up.

Waiting to come out and play

They have had their usual running and jumping in the tent the last three nights. They are becoming more comfortable each night climbing on me and using me as a launch platform. CB in particular is a hoot to watch. I usually sit with my legs folded. He will climb on my leg and run up on my knee. There, he scrunches down, wriggles his butt into position, and then launches himself to the side of the tent. He climbs up and around, jumps down, an does it again. They both also like to shinny up a 10-inch piece of 1-inch PVC pipe that we use to hold a water bottle. Once they get to the top they jump off to the side of the tent.

The best thing that has come out of the last few nights is that it appears we all now have agreed on how to end play time. When I start to see them slow down, I place one of their bonding pouches on the floor of the tent. The last three nights they both have been in the pouch within 5 minutes. I then gather them up and we let them out into their cage where dinner is waiting. We think they have started to figure out that when the pouch appears that dinner is not far behind. It sure is a lot less traumatic than trying to gather them up in a big piece of fleece - for all of us.

Foehn and CB enjoying dinner

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More Fun in the Tent

I was out of town on Thursday night so M had some time in the tent with Foehn and CB. They were uncharacteristically quiet, at least by recent standards, and didn't do much climbing in the tent. M was laying down in the tent as it was more comfortable for her. Foehn and CB must have thought that was a good idea as well, and they curled up and went to sleep on her chest.

They were much more active last night and tonight. They were climbing, jumping, and running for the better part of two hours. Last night they had some more foraging activity. Once Foehn discovers there are meal worms or some other treat in the bowl, she stays with it. CB will go in and find something, eat it, and then go back to climbing for awhile. Last night one of the meal worms was inside of a soft plastic toy, and Foehn had her nose stuck in the open end trying to get at the meal worm. It eventually fell out, and there she was on her back, in the bowl, thoroughly enjoying her reward. (You can see the red toy in the photo.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Under the Big Top

We've had a couple of great tent sessions the last three nights. M and I think one of the reasons is that we decided to leave the wheel out of the tent for the time being. When it's there, Foehn and CB spend all their time on it. Without the wheel, they have to occupy themselves by running around, climbing on the tent, and climbing on me.

I'm able to lure them out of their pouch with a treat after they have awakened. The first offering or two is sometimes taken back into the pouch, but I hold each subsequent one further away from the pouch so they have to come all the way out. CB got the best of me tonight once...he stretched out of the pouch but left two toes holding on, and once he got his treat he pulled himself back in.

There has been more progress in establishing trust each night. They now regularly climb up and on to my legs and use them as a jumping off point to the tent wall. I've been putting a yogurt treat in my shirt pocket hoping they will smell it and then go after it, but so far no takers. They both had a a good day's sleep so they were full of energy. The big step tonight was that tonight, for the first time, they jumped on to my shoulder from the tent, and then off my shoulder to the floor or back on to the tent several times. Once of them jumped to my head as well, but I'm not sure who it was. When they are running and jumping it's pretty hard to tell who's who.

One of the things we enjoy watching them do (and they like it too) is "diving for mealies". We have a plastic contained filled with plastic practice golf balls and other small balls and toys. We put some meal worms in the container, in the golf balls, and in some of the small toys. They smell the meal worms and then go foraging in the container for their treat (they love meal worms - most gliders do). Sometimes all you see is a furry butt and tail sticking out of the container. Here's a photo from tonight's session.

Diving for mealies

We ended tonight's time in the tent after two hours. Although they were slowing down a bit, they were still rarin' to go and weren't real happy about having to ending play time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The First Four Weeks

Foehn's injured "hand" is healing well. If you didn't know what happened you could not tell by the way she has been climbing and running around. She and CB spent time spinning on the wheel tonight and Foehn was back to her old self, at least in regard to activity.

In all of the "excitement" around Foehn's injury several days ago, the mark of their first month with us sort slipped by. They both have come a long way in that time. CB has always been a little more tolerant and laid back. In some respects he has not come as far as Foehn, but partly because he didn't have as far to go. They both have have become much more trusting, and every day Foehn seems to be taking another step. Last week with her injury she let us examine her and treat her without crabbing or making a fuss. After the initial injury M held her for three hours, and Foehn was content to stay with her that long. We can easily reach into their pouch and pet them without crabbing or pulling away. In fact, if Foehn is crabbing she tends to calm down when we do so. Tonight was fun in the tent. For the first time she came to me for a yogurt treat. I was sitting in the tent holding treat in my hand while she was in the pouch. She saw me with the treat and scampered out of the pouch, up on my leg, and took it gently from my fingers. We did this a couple of times, and then CB poked his head out figuring he was missing something. He finally came around and crawled out but had to be coaxed a bit. He did eventually climb up my leg for another piece, but not with the enthusiasm of his sister! After all, we probably interrupted his nap time.

Play time tonight only lasted about an hour. After spinning on the wheel for a while (do gliders get dizzy??), they both crawled back in their pouch and we moved them to their cage for the night.

Friday, November 13, 2009

On the Mend

We had a surprisingly quiet night. Foehn spent the night in the "hospital cage" on the heated floor of our bathroom. I woke up about 2:30 a.m. and she was awake but quiet. I had to refill her water bottle because it had dripped out into one of the blankets, and she crabbed a bit when I removed the bottle. M said she laid awake listening for Foehn until about 1:30 a.m., and when she went in at 4:00 a.m. Foehn was sleeping. The only other noise was about 5:45 a.m., just before my alarm went off. I heard some barking and wasn't sure where it was coming from. Once I was awake enough I realized it was CB and found him pretty active, climbing all over the cage. We think he was just calling for Foehn because it was time to go to sleep. He eagerly licked some yogurt from my finger (following it up with a chomp on my finger each time) and then checked out the two pouches in the cage looking for Foehn before climbing into one.

The visit to the vet was reassuring. He examined her closely, using a small hand-held examination camera connected to a laptop computer. With it he could examine her with magnification, and save the images on the laptop. Pretty cool. He told us that her injury was relatively minor and does happen occasionally with gliders. We are still not sure how it happened. The nail may or not grow back, but in a couple of days she should be feeling a lot better. You can tell it still bothers her a bit, but even the vet said that he could not tell right off the bat which limb was affected. We'll be keeping an eye on her for the next few days to make sure that it continues to heal.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Small Crisis

M sent me a note late this afternoon saying that Foehn's front hand/paw was bleeding. M had been hanging some toys in their cage when both Foehn and CB jumped out of the pouch she had around her neck, on to her arm, and in and on the cage. That's when she noticed Foehn was bleeding. M was able to gather her up and check her out. One of the nails on her right front paw had torn partially from her "finger". M was able to get Foehn calmed down but wasn't really able to get a good look because Foehn did not want her to mess with it. The bleeding had stopped, though. By the time I got home the nail had come completely off, and that may have actually lessened the pain for Foehn. We applied some Neosporin to the affected area, and we have an appointment at the vet in the morning. Foehn is actually doing pretty well. The finger doesn't seem to bother her and she is leaving it alone, which is a good sign. We have her in a "hospital cage" for the night so we can keep an eye on her and so she doesn't injure herself further climbing around her cage with CB. After some initial anxiety in being in a new space she has settled down in one of her blankets. Her cage (actually a plastic storage container with a latching lid, with food and water) is on a chair next to me here and Foehn is curled up on her blanket watching me. She seems to be comfortable and calm.

CB will be spending the night alone in their cage and we're not sure how he will react. I expect we will hear him barking tonight trying to call his sister. Between the two of them, it may be a long night.

M adds: And as if this wasn't enough, Berg went to put CB back in the cage, and... Pop, he was suddenly in the mood for adventure! We had him cornered under the cage for about 10 min. then he escaped. I was holding Foehn, so she could not get at her nail, and CB scooted under the sofa, then made a bee line for Berg's office. Oh, good, thought I, at least he is in a somewhat safe room! But, even with mealies and yogurt treat, Berg was having trouble getting him to go back into his pouch! A first! After about 10 min, I asked him if he had CB, and he says, "No, I can't find him" WHAT!!! So, I cautiously open the door, and Berg says, "I think he may have gotten into that hole in my wall"!!! WHAT!!! Now, I am seeing a REAL crisis! How are we gonna carefully start tearing up drywall, at 11:00 at night, AND keep him close? We couldn't possibly... I am thinking, crap, he is going to get into the basement, and be gone!

Then, Berg says, "shhh, I think I can hear him!." I think,"Great, we can hear him in the wall, as soon as we start tearing up the wall, he's gonna run, " I am still cuddling Foehn, so she doesn't hurt her foot more, what the hell are we gonna do?

But, the noise was coming from Berg's closet!!! Berg opened the door slowly, and there was CB, kinda deep inside but visible. Almost had him, but he got away from us, and went over by that hole in the wall! We had him trapped there, it is behind a tall file cabinet, in a corner. This time, he needed an energy break, and went into the pouch to get his yogurt treat, and was safely deposited into his cage!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Who's Who?

One of the first issues we encountered when we got our gliders was how to tell them apart. Of course there are the obvious differences "under the hood", so to speak, but that's not much of a help unless you are actually checking. You really can't see Foehn's pouch without brushing back her belly fur. There's no way to tell when they are running around or even when they are still. We read a suggestion to dab some food coloring on the white fur on the head, and we tried that with CB. However, that didn't last more than a day before they cleaned it off. It turned out the best way to tell them apart most of the time is by their personalities. CB is more laid back and likes to sleep. Foehn is much more active, always first up and first out. After about a week or so there was another difference which I noticed - the dark stripe on their heads is different. CB's stripe is a little wider and the end is more rounded. Foehn's stripe is a bit narrower and the end of the stripe is not rounded. Most of the time this is pretty reliable, especially when they are together. In the photo below, Foehn is on the left, and CB is on the right. See the difference?

Foehn (L and upside down) and CB (R)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Glider Wrangling

After I posted last night it was time to get the gliders back to their cage. I was still at the computer when M called out from the other room. Foehn had jumped out of her hands on to her arm and M hadn't yet opened the cage door. I hurried to give her a hand with CB still with me in a pouch. As I opened the cage door CB jumped on to my arm, much to my surprise. Uh oh. Since I was right at the cage door I moved my arm into the cage and CB jumped off. One down, one to go. She wasn't going to go easily. Foehn jumped on to the outside of the cage and for the next 15 minutes she ran up one side and down the other (but never the side with the door). CB was in the cage, and at times he and Foehn seemed to be communicating. Although M and I were keeping her corralled near the cage, she didn't seem to have much interest in leaving the vicinity of the cage, and she could have. Maybe it because CB was inside or perhaps because dinner was waiting. Eventually we were able to gather her up and let her join her brother. That was enough excitement for one night for them and us.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

CB - the Explorer

The gliders had a somewhat different schedule today. We were gone much of the afternoon and so they spent the entire day sleeping in their pouch in the cage. They were starting to stir when we got home around 6:00 p.m., so M went into the tent with Foehn while I had CB, sleeping of course, in a blanket. (By the way, these are small fleece "blankets", roughly 12 x 18", lest someone thinks we are using a large regular blanket). When he finally was awake and a little more active he went into the tent as well. No wheel tonight, though. They both spent more than 90 minutes on the wheel last night, and except for very short climbing breaks spent their whole time spinning around. Foehn was climbing the walls of the tent tonight at first, but once they both found they could crawl under the flannel sheet on the bottom of tent, well, that was a pretty darn comfortable place to be. This was earlier than their usual play time, so both readily climbed in the pouch when we placed it in the tent.

We settled down again with the both of them, M with Foehn and me with CB. Foehn is getting very comfortable being out of the pouch, held (in a blanket), and petted. CB was in a blanket as well, but he's like a squirmy kid sometimes, always readjusting his position to find that "just so" comfortable spot. At one point he poked his head to look around, and before I could react he was again out of the pouch liked greased lightning. He jumped on to the arm of the sofa and then on the floor. He first headed under the sofa, and I could see the tip of his tail sticking out from under the back The pouch was on the floor but he was not interested. He skittered out from under the sofa and across the floor to where the entertainment center sits in a corner. This is where Foehn ended up the second night we had them. It's easy for a glider to get behind it, but not us big creatures. CB moved along the side and to the back before I could get him. I didn't want him getting into the dusty tangle of cables back there. Fortunately, he stayed toward the side, but out of reach. I went to the back, he would move toward the front. I went to the front, he would move to the back. In the meantime I knocked over a plant which fell on to the tent and them making a very loud noise and spreading dirt when it hit the floor. CB appeared to be a little scared at this point from the noise and with being in a new and strange place. We thought we would tempt him out with a yogurt treat. However, he snatched that before I could get to the front to grab him and took the yogurt treat to the back where we couldn't reach him. We figured by now he would probably welcome the security and comfort of his pouch, and we laid it on the floor with a yogurt treat inside. Within seconds he was in and ready to end his latest adventure.

"Cleanup on aisle 10..."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Wheel Goes 'Round 'n' 'Round...

We just got finished with some time in the tonight. The last two nights we have put their "Custom Choice Cruiser" wheel in the tent, which they love running on. It's big enough so both of them can be in it, but they are not always of like mind. CB generally likes to run from left to right, and Foehn likes to run from right to left...I have no idea why. However, it's comical to watch because when that happens the wheel doesn't really turn and they end up running up their respective sides of the wheel. When they are in synch they love to really get going on it. Every few minutes one of them (usually Foehn) will try to get out while the other is still running full tilt. Foehn will hang on to the outer rim of the wheel for dear life while CB is running full speed. It makes me queasy just watching it! They take brief breaks from the wheel to run around and climb up the walls of the tent, then hop back on. For all of his sleeping, CB sure makes up for it on the wheel. He was on that for the better part of 90 minutes tonight. Of course, now that they are back in the cage he is "resting" in the pouch.

Yesterday marked their third week here. They are becoming more and more comfortable and the signs of trust are gradually becoming evident. Tonight, for example, Foehn let me pet her while we were in the tent. A week ago she would have run away from my hand. The next milestone we are looking for is for them to climb on to our hand or arm.

CB celebrated their third week by briefly escaping for some exploration last night. I was returning him to the cage in their pouch. Normally, you can't pry him out of it once he is in, but last night I opened the pouch to check him and put him in the cage and he was out like greased lightning. He jumped on to me and to the floor, and then it was exploration time. He headed to the foyer, and to my dismay toward the basement stairs. "Not good", I thought. If he got to the basement there are a zillion places for him to hide. He scampered down the first two steps and looked like he had intentions for more. The only way I had a chance of ending this well was to get below him on the stairs. I was able to do that pretty easily, and he tried to get away from me back up the stairs. However, the stairs are oak and not carpeted and he wasn't able to get a grip. I scooped him up with one of his blankets, ending his little adventure.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A New Glider Sound

We have only heard the gliders bark twice...well, three times now. I woke up this morning at 4:00 a.m. to hear quiet barking (it didn't wake me up). A glider bark sounds much like a dog, but a very small dog. I went out to the great room to check on them, and it was Foehn barking this time. I think she was trying to call CB to get his butt out of the pouch and come and play. He crabbed a bit when he heard my voice, so he wasn't asleep.

M had an interesting experience today when she went to put them in a bonding pouch. CB was already in one pouch, and she had coaxed Foehn into a second. All of a sudden both CB and Foehn started what could best be described as crying. M said the sound was sort of like a cat mewing. She could not get them to settle down, and finally realized that they wanted to be with each other. When they finally got together in one pouch they stopped and settled in to sleep. This was something new - we've heard them crabbing, hissing (especially when Foehn bothers CB when he is sleeping in the pouch), barking, and chirping, but never crying.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bonding, Escape, and the Wheel

I didn't get a chance to write an entry this weekend. It finally stopped raining, the sun was out, and it was no time to be sitting on the computer! The evenings were spent bonding with CB and Foehn.

The last few nights we have been coaxing CB & Foehn out of their pouch and into our laps. They both have spent a couple of hours being held in a fleece blanket and being petted. M has had Foehn the last three nights (she is always the first out) and I've had CB. They both have taken to this little ritual without any problems, and we are both marveling at how far Foehn has come in two weeks. We still have a ways to go, but the progress has been great so far. Foehn seems to enjoy being held and petted, although she does crab a few seconds once in a while just to let us know she isn't completely happy yet. CB is more concerned with finding a comfortable position in which to sleep, so he wiggles around in the blanket to get comfortable. Then he tucks his head in and goes to sleep while I pet him. The boy does like his sleep!

Twice now CB has gotten curious and jumped away from me to explore. Last night he ended up on the screen on the window, and I could see that chasing him wasn't going to get him back very easily. So, I held the pouch up near him and the attraction of a comfortable place to sleep was too much to resist. He tentatively poked his head in the pouch, and then quickly the rest of him followed. It was almost too easy! He made a short escape tonight, but only to the arm of my recliner. I moved the pouch next to him rather than trying to pick him up, and without hesitation he headed for the bottom of the pouch. There he remained, looking out at me for awhile and even venturing to the top once or twice. However, it wasn't too long before he was curled up asleep, and now he is back in the cage, asleep, in the pouch.

We stayed up later than we should have last night to watch them in the cage. CB really likes to run on the wheel and this was the first time we have seen him go to town on it. He runs like crazy to get it going, then stops running, holding on while the wheel keeps spinning, riding it around. When the wheel slows down he does it again. Foehn joined him in the wheel last night, but they couldn't quite get the coordination thing down. At one point CB was running one way, and Foehn trying to run the other. The wheel doesn't work so well that way, but they were having a great time nevertheless.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Excuse Me! I'm in the Bathroom!

M: Having rheumatoid arthritis has really prevented me from enjoying tent time with Foehn and CB. So, yesterday, I decided to try our bathroom. I took a large quilt and put it on the floor, which is ceramic, but heated. The quilt only covered a small area, but was comfortable enough for me to sit on for a long time. I put the pouch with Foehn and CB in it on the quilt between my legs. They were already awake, even tho it was only 1:00 pm. They weren't too sure what to make of this invitation to freedom. But, after thinking they had to sneak out, Foehn took a run for it. She ran around the perimeter of the bathroom, noticing, about the same time I did, that even tho the door was closed , the space between the door and the floor would surely accommodate her. I move very awkwardly, and I was afraid if I wasn't careful, CB would surely suffer from my attempts to prevent Foehn from testing her theory. So, I took off the sweater I was wearing and threw it by the door. This was enough to redirect Foehn, and encourage CB to join in the fun! They were chirping and periodically hiss to each other as the explored the territory for about an hour. They would run up my back, up my legs, almost to my face, but then chicken out and run to the sweater. Finally, the adrenalin rush wore off, and both of them snuggled into the arm of the sweater. They were surprisingly easy to coax back into the pouch, and content to stay there the rest of the afternoon. I should mention, though, I am reluctant to allow Foehn to jump out of the cage onto me, again, a mobility issue, but they have not been in a zippered bonding pouch for a week now. I just attach their sleeping pouch to the strap I made for the bonding pouch. I am so excited that there is a way for me to participate in "tent" time!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another Step for Foehn

Yesterday morning I went through the usual ritual of giving Foehn and CB a small treat before they turned in for the day. As has been the case the last couple of times, Foehn came to the cage door eagerly waiting for me to deliver the goods. And once again, CB crawled in to the blanket before I could get back to the cage and Foehn got first licks in. However, I did unroll the blanket and coaxed CB out without him crabbing, and then he joined in with Foehn licking the treat from my fingers. Foehn crawled on to my hand (looking for more goodies, of course), but did not get scared or nervous. She actually stayed there and I lowered my hand to the cage floor to let her off. That was a pretty big step in the trust department. We're going to have to work more on CB - he's too concerned with getting to sleep in the morning and isn't that interested in anything else.

I was gone overnight last night on a business trip and M had the gliders to herself. When they briefly woke up she gave them each a grape which they both thoroughly enjoyed. They only get a grape once a week or so, but they are their favorite. M got a great photo of them (below) working on their grapes, CB on the left and Foehn on the right. CB appears to be really relishing his grape!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Some Big Steps

I intended to post this last night, but our Internet service was out for at least 8 hours.

The bonding process is moving slowly but steadily along. Foehn, in particular, is really making progress. I usually come out to get ready to leave for work between 6:45 and 7:00 a.m. One of the first things I do now is to check on the gliders. They are both usually still up and around, and after a few days of this I realized that they are waiting for me because I usually give them a treat before I leave. Foehn comes to the front of the cage when I open the door. She has been very good about not biting, and will grab my finger while she licks it clean of the treat. When I take my hand out to get some more, she will climb up the front of the cage to the door in anticipation of more. CB is not as interested. He will come and join Foehn licking my fingers, but really isn't interested putting in more effort than that. This morning I came out and stopped by the cage, as usual, to check on them. Both were out and climbing around. By the time I was back with the treat a minute or so later, CB had crawled into the blanket to sleep. Foehn was waiting for her treat. I tried to coax CB out, but he just crabbed at being disturbed, so he missed out. Two minutes after I closed the cage door after her treat, Foehn had turned in as well.

Yesterday M was able to coax Foehn out of her pouch on her lap. Foehn fell asleep on a fleece blanket while M petted her. She didn't crab or try to get away. That was a huge step for Foehn. Her bro' just snoozed away in the pouch, where I was able to pet him quite awhile. Of course, he could sleep through a tornado.

Today M went to put them in the pouch for the day, and was using a pouch I had yesterday. CB, who had spent much of Sunday afternoon and evening in that pouch, crawled right in. Foehn would not follow him, and instead tried to get him out, going in and crabbing at him, and actually moving the pouch around. Then she was running around the top of the cage where I had a shirt hanging so she would get used to my smell. It was a smell she recognized, as she should have with the pouch. She would not go in the pouch and leave CB alone. He finally got fed up and climbed into another pouch hanging in the cage! M did eventually get Foehn into the pouch where she spent the rest of the afternoon and so far this evening. She was really restless (not a deep sleeper like CB) and couldn't settle down. When M gave her to me to hold this evening, she crabbed up a storm. She did quiet down but didn't seem to want to sleep. On a hunch that maybe she missed CB, we put him in the pouch with her. There was about 10 minutes of little bodies maneuvering, a bit of noise, and then quiet. They have both been asleep ever since.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Visit to the Vet

Today we visited the vet for a wellness check for both gliders. Although some dealers claim that gliders are a "no vet" pet, following that advice can be a gamble - with any pet. The time to have a vet is before you really need one. So, we made an appointment at a local animal hospital with vets who specialize in exotics (as gliders are classified) and brought them in for their first checkup.

Other than the fact that they weren't happy to roused from their sleep to be examined, both CB and Foehn were pretty well behaved. They crabbed a little when the vet took them out of their pouch but that was about it. They were weighed (CB 80 grams, Foehn 72 grams) and examined. They were also checked for parasites (giardia can be a serious problem for gliders) and both were negative. The vet said they were in good health. She spent time with us talking about diet, glider behavior, their tendency to hide illness when they are ill, general care, and who we need to contact in an emergency should one come up. Their next visit will be a year from now, unless something comes up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Taking a Break on Play Time

We had some time in the tent twice more this week. CB and Foehn had generally a great time in the tent, but unlike the first time, it was a real chore getting them back into their cage. The first time we did this they both went back to their pouch after seemingly wearing themselves out. Not so the last two times. On Monday we hoped to wind things up by around 10:30 p.m., but it was 11:30 before I finally got them settled. We had to resort to getting them out one at a time. At one point they slowed down and wandered into their pouch, but never at the same time. After about 15 minutes they got their second wind, and that was that. It was another 45 minutes before we got them rounded up. Last night was a similar scenario. They were having a great time, especially since there was a wheel in the tent. CB spent a lot of his time running in the wheel, and eventually Foehn got interested as well. CB was not stopping, and Foehn would get her nose repeatedly bumped as she tried to get into the wheel while it was turning. They also did not seem interested in slowing down at all. We finally removed the wheel from the tent, both to get them to wind down and also because I didn't like the way Foehn was getting her nose whacked by the wheel (although she didn't seem to mind so much). Rounding them up was a chore, because they are still skittish around us at times, and won't allow us to just pick them up. I scooped Foehn with a blanket as she was crawling across the top of the tent and got her into the pouch. She didn't fuss or crab at all, but her brother was a different story. I took Foehn back to the cage, and then came back for CB. He was not cooperative at all, and after one unsuccessful attempt at scooping him up I decided to try and coax him into the pouch. Twenty minutes later he crawled in, and I held the top of the pouch closed and picked it up. He was crabbing up a storm, which is unlike him but I think he was both not happy about being chased and not happy about ending tent time. Once he was back in the cage everything was fine. I did some checking and found that this "roundup" problem is not unusual, but we have decided to try and work on bonding without playtime for several days. That will lessen the stress on them, and on us.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Well, we had a marathon session in the tent last night. I was intending to keep "play time" to an hour, but CB and Foehn had different ideas. They had another great session running, climbing, and jumping from the tent and from me. After about an hour and 15 minutes they appeared to be winding down and I placed the pouch on the tent floor for them to climb in to. They crawled in and out, but neither at the same time, so an organized, quiet end like the first night didn't seem to be in the cards. After 20 minutes of this, they both got a second wind. CB finally called it a night after about 2 hours and crawled into the pouch. I moved him to their cage, and then came back for Foehn. She was not ready to stop, but I was - I had to get up for work in the morning. So I had to finally gather her up in a fleece blanket and moved her to the cage.

We are making progress with bonding. The are licking food off of our fingers with minimal nips and bites, and M was able to pet both of them in the pouch today. Foehn, the more skittish of the two, climbed part way on to my hand tonight to lick up some chicken and apple baby food.

I decided that I would first let them out in their cage before moving to the tent tonight, but they had other ideas - food. Both of them decided to snack and hang out in the cage - no interest in getting back in the pouch so I could move them to the tent. We took these photos tonight. The first is of CB and Foehn at the food cup, and the second is of Foehn relaxing between nibbles. We never did make it to the tent tonight.


Monday, October 19, 2009

The First Tent Time

The bonding process has been going well for us the last few days. CB and Foehn have become comfortable in their new home. M has been keeping them in a bonding pouch during the day, and the other day was able to pick them up and place them in the pouch without any crabbing or problems. They woke up long enough to do their thing and get a drink of water. Foehn now allows us to pet her, although she still crabs from time to time.

Yesterday we decided to try letting them play in a tent. I set up a two-man tent we have, and last night I climbed in, along with a vegetable plate and a couple of toys. They were still asleep when M handed them to me in the tent, but once coaxed out of the pouch they started to explore. We were in there for an hour and a half, and they had a ball. They ran all over the tent, facing off with each other from time to time, then running to a corner and back again. Foehn loved to climb the screening, and at one point spent almost 15 minutes climbing around the top of the tent. The big moment, though, was when Foehn climbed up my back to my shoulder, and then jumped to the floor of the tent - twice! CB also jumped on me once or twice, and that was a big step for both of them in terms of trust. They are still a little skittish about hands, although both were sniffing my hand but neither bit last night. However, M was trying to rub Foehn through the screen and she took a bite down on M's finger.

I just sat in the tent the whole time, not really moving too much and let them do the exploring. I really didn't expect too much for the first time, but they quickly took to being in the open space. I think they would have kept going for as long as we would let them, but after about 90 minutes they were slowing down a bit and I was getting tired of sitting in one spot! I placed the bonding pouch on the floor of the tent and after a few minutes they both curled up in there (CB was first, of course). Once back in their cage they both ate some and got a drink, then settled in for a nap. Play time is tiring!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sewing Up a Storm

M has found a renewed interest in sewing since our glider sitting adventure in September. She made some extra pouches for Molly, and has made two sets for our gliders, and recently completed a Halloween-themed pumpkin/witches hat pouch. She was in our local Hancock Fabrics store yesterday buying more fleece (it's on sale), and apparently the staff has been noticing her many recent fleece purchases. Curiosity finally got the better of them, and they asked her what all the fleece was for. Of course she happily explained it to them. They were quite interested and thought gliders sounded so neat.

M here. Yes, it is true... I have avoided making anything from fleece since fleece was available... I didn't like it. Didn't like sewing with it, thought the no-sew quilts were for lazy people (sorry), I don't quilt either, low attention span, have to finish projects quickly. But, Molly was a glider in need. My son doesn't sew, winter was coming, she loves to snuggle, and so, off H and I went. He NEVER goes to a fabric store with me, at least, not with out that "when will you be done" sigh every 5 minutes! But, here he was, picking out colors, telling me how our son would like the camo one (he had complained because I had made Molly some rope toys with white and pink rope).But the real show of glideritis was when he said, "I'll pay for them! Whoa, maybe I can milk this sudden interest......

I have dolls from when I was a child and pregnant with our first baby, for whom I had made Halloween costumes. He found a thread on decorating cages and asked if I could make a pumpkin pouch. I went a step further and made a witch's hat they could hide in. Once I get started, my creative juices just take over and I needed more fleece, because, if i made something for ours, I had to make Molly the same thing, maybe in a different color.

Now, along with six huge plastic containers of fabric I have been "collecting" for the perfect project forever... our guest bed is now full of fleece! I was almost relieved when my sister told us they were going to be able to get here for a visit! Because, my craft room was already a mess, and once fleece entered our lives, I just put off cleaning it, and just added to the mess.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The New Additions

Yesterday.we picked up our gliders. We really wanted two females, but ended up with a brother and sister. The first 24 hours has been rather interesting and eventful. We had a long trip (several hours) from the breeder.. We had prepared by bringing a travel cage, some water, and apple, a pouch - preparing for most eventualities. We figured they would probably sleep most of the way home, since that was their normal sleep time. They were in a small cage on a table while we were at the breeder, and I was able to put my hand in it and let them explore and get used to it. They were used to being around people, so they reacted pretty well, all things considered. They probably weren't too happy to be roused from their sleep to be introduced to us, though. When it was time to go and their sleep pouch was put back into the cage, the male immediately headed for it and curled up inside. His sister had to be coaxed into it. Once in their own pouch, we put it and them in a larger bonding pouch that M had made.

We settled on names during the ride home, although we already had a pretty good idea. The brother is "CB", and the sister is Foehn (pronounced Fane). "CB", or more correctly "Cb" is the abbreviation for a thunderstorm cloud. A foehn is a warm wind, often known as a "snoweater".

The ride home was interesting. One of the gliders was periodically crabbing - never really settled down to sleep the entire trip. It was also lunging and trying to bite at times, obviously a little stressed out. M placed a piece of apple in the pouch and the crabbing glider enjoyed that. Most of they way home we both had opinions as to whether it was CB or Foehn that was making all of the noise. My feeling was that it was Foehn since she had been reluctant to go back into the pouch to begin with. M thought it was CB, since it seemed more like a guy thing. We had a lot of fun going back and forth about who was making all the noise. Once we got home we found it was Foehn - her brother slept like a baby the whole trip home. It's a guy thing.

Once home we placed them in their cage. We hung two pouches in the cage and had some fleece blankets on the bottom, but we left their "stinky" sleep pouch in there as well since that was what they were used to. For the first hour or so they were all over the cage, still a little stressed out in their new environment. However, they had settled down quite a bit by the time we were ready to turn in and were eating and drinking. They seemed to be getting used to their new home.

About 1:00 a.m. I woke up and heard a steady but quiet barking. I realized it was one of the gliders and went out to investigate. It was CB. Everything appeared OK, and as far as we know, he didn't bark again. M was disappointed that I didn't wake her up to hear it.

The real surprise is when I came out on the morning to leave for work. I noticed that one of the pouches that we had hung in the cage was bulging. Sure enough, they both had settled down in one of our pouches and not their old pouch on the cage floor (no way to hang it)!

They spent the afternoon with M in a bonding pouch and stayed very calm most of the time. Foehn stills crabs at times, while CB is pretty laid back (he does like his sleep!). I was wearing the pouch tonight when we had a little excitement. They woke up and Foehn decided to jump out of the pouch (it wasn't zippered at the time) and explore. Not good. I was trying to zip the pouch so CB wouldn't get the same idea but he wasn't about to miss out on the fun. So, on our first night we are trying to corral two exploring gliders. Thankfully we were able to round them up and put them in their cage. No more unzipped pouch when it's close to wake-up time!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Four More Days

Yesterday we drove through rain for four hours to pick up the cage for the gliders. It was made to our specs by Klubertanz Equipment Co in Edgerton, WI.  Other than time, it turned out going to pick it up was slightly cheaper than getting it shipped. It was too big to ship via UPS and would have had to been shipped by truck. It turns out it was a good idea for another reason. One of the staff there (actually the guy who built our cage) told us that they often have cages damaged when shipped by truck, and and then they have to be returned for repair, sometimes more than once.  The cage is 60 inches high by 30 inches wide and 24 inches deep, and will be plenty of room for two gliders. It has two larger doors on the front, and two smaller doors on the left side. The new residents will move in four more days .

Friday, October 9, 2009

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

We did a lot of searching for information on sugar gliders in the past couple of months. There is a lot of information out on the web. The great thing about the web is that it allows you to access lots of information quickly. The bad thing about the web is that it allows you to access lots of information quickly, but not all of it is good information. There lies the rub.

One of the first sites we accessed was the Pocket Pets web site, AKA Perfect Pocket Pets, or PPP. This is the company that was selling sugar gliders locally in June and from whom our son purchased his. The web site is somewhat cartoonish (they call sugar gliders "sugar bears") and seem to be especially appealing to children or parents of children. The business model for PPP is to sell to impulse buyers at festivals, malls, etc., They are generally in an area for only a couple of days. There is a growing amount of evidence that some of the franchisees are dishonest with their customers. More to the point, many obtain their gliders from "mill breeders", and often sell immature or diseased gliders to people who are thinking they are getting a minimal care pet. The PP web site has a number of "special reports" on topics like cage setup, feeding, and bonding. Frankly some of the information in these "reports" is OK, but a lot of it isn't. The trouble is, a person who is new to this and hasn't had time to learn more about the topic can't possibly know the difference. To be fair I do have to say that our son had a good experience with PP, but he just might have been lucky. Molly has had no health issues and has bonded well. PP sends a daily email for a month after the purchase (I don't know what's in them), and let's you contact them if there's a problem. Unfortunately, there are numerous stories about owners who called and did not get the help they needed or got wrong advice to the detriment (or death) of their gliders. The bottom line is that if you are really interested in owning a glider, it's recommended that you do not purchase it at a home show, festival, fair, mall, or from a fly-by-night operator using a hotel room.

So how do you find the good information?

There are some very useful and informative web sites as well as a few discussion forums. One of the forums we've have spent a lot of time on and in our opinion is one of the better ones out there is Glider Central. There are forums on a variety of topics from bonding to health to diet and nutrition, and it's pretty active. We first posted a question about caring for our son's glider, and received quick and helpful advice. As one reads more and more, however, you realize that emotions ( and an owner's devotion to their gliders) sometimes gets in the way of objective advice. I'm sure this is not unique to glider owners - many dog, cat, and (insert-your-pet) owners are also passionate about their pets. "Myths" about what is good or bad for gliders are sometimes propagated, not out of any ill intent, but because one or more people honestly believe them to be factual. When someone states absolutes with no attribution ("'Blarney' will harm your gliders") it tends to perpetuate the myths and cause confusion. There are some areas that are controversial - the topic of diet will always get a lively discussion going. Sometimes you start to feel that the more you learn the less you really know. The folks on GC will be the first to tell you - do your research before you decide to get a sugar glider (or any pet for that matter). Learn all you can, from more than one source, question what you don't undertand, and try to keep straight differences of opinion from differences in facts.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hook, Line, and Sinker

Three months ago we didn't know what a sugar glider was, and now we are less than two weeks from acquiring a pair.

I'm still finding it a little hard to believe. Our first exposure to the existence of sugar gliders was in June when a company called Pocket Pets had an exhibit at one of our local festivals. We happened by the booth, stopped only briefly to see what it was all about (more on this in a later post), and then didn't really give it much of a thought. That evening, we found out our son had purchased a sugar glider, and in fact, that we probably missed running in to him at the booth by 15-20 minutes. Well, that sent us scrambling to the web to find out more about them and what he might have gotten himself into. Our first stop was to the Pockets Pets web site, the company where he had obtained his glider from, but we later expanded our search to other web sites and forums.

The line was cast about a month ago when we cared for his glider Molly for a week when he went on vacation. We took our pet-sitting job seriously, and both enjoyed watching her and interacting with her. After a couple of days she took to us as well (she was in a new environment and was understandably a little uncertain about things). For me at least, I started to get hooked as I kept her in her pouch around my neck while working in the evening. She would pop out to look around, especially if I got up and walked around. One evening she sat near the top of the pouch and I rubbed between her ears, and she fell asleep. I stopped to type something on the keyboard, and look down to find her looking at me as if to say "Why did you stop?" I went back to rubbing and she went back to sleep. I began to get reeled in later in the week after I set up a small tent in our three-season room and let her run and play, with me in there of course. It was fascinating to watch her gradually explore, then go full bore climbing up the walls and jumping back down. At one point she had a thing going where she jumped on to my leg, then shoulder, then to my head, then to the top of the tent, jump down to the floor, and then do it all over again.

In the meantime, M started making her a sleeping pouch to hang in her cage. Before you know it we are buying more fleece to make a few extra pouches for Molly. At that point we started thinking about getting our own. Glider owners call it "glideritis".

I'm the practical one and don't like to rush into things. We did a lot more research (M did most of the searching), and we talked about whether or not we wanted to really do this. We've had pets in the past (turtles, hamster, anoles, etc., dogs when we were kids) but nothing quite like this. I like animals but have never been a big "pet person". However, I caught "glideritis" from the experience of caring for Molly for a week. She got me (and us) hook, line, and sinker. Even so, we weighed the pros and cons and let some time pass before making a final decision. Since then, more research, getting the necessary "stuff", and preparing for the day we get our gliders. If we are going to do this we want to do it right.

M here. I would just like to add that I knew he was bit after the first night we babysat Molly. He hadn't had "that" look on his face since our kids were born! Molly was obviously taken with my husband, too! She tolerated me, but was much more affectionate with him.