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.