Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Howling Winds, Barking Gliders

Winds started picking up here yesterday as a major storm gathered strength over the central U.S. They were pretty steady and strong last night, rattling the windows. M followed her usual morning routine of coming in and giving the gang their morning yogurt treat and some time to run around the office. About 20 minutes after she had gone in with the gliders I came out into the kitchen and could hear several barking gliders. That's not typical, especially in the morning. By that time, it had started to rain and between the rain and the wind there was quite a din - fortunately no thunder. When I went into the office I found M sitting there with three of the gliders barking. Cirrus, I believe, was running across the floor, but the other three were sticking close to the cage. Virga stayed with M, and was comfortable sitting there with M's hand over her. It wasn't long before Cirrus was back in the cage, but they all had trouble settling down. The wind, rain, and perhaps even the unusually low pressure had them a little freaked out. They eventually did get settled in their pouch a good hour after M first came in, just about the time the power went out! They were also rather subdued in the tent tonight, with even Virga less frisky than she usually is. Foehn spent most of the time curled up in my hand, which is a first for her for that long. When she wasn't in my hand she was tight up against my leg on the floor of the tent, like she was just was just trying to feel secure. It will be a quiet night tonight, so they should be less stressed out. Foehn already seems to be feeling better as I write this. She is running in their wheel while the other three are taking a snooze.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Loose Ends

It's been fairly quiet with not much new happening.  All the gliders are doing well, and it will be another week before one of the girls is in heat again. CB has a break this week. It turns out that we have Virga and Cirrus both pegged in that department - they came into heat on the date we had marked on the calendar. The telltale sign was the barking, although it wasn't as nearly as constant as it was the first round. Foehn is the one who didn't fit the pattern as far as barking is concerned, so we'll have to pay a little closer attention to her next week when her urn comes around.

The gliders really enjoy their time with M in the morning. They are waiting for her when she comes in, and they ae more interested in first running around the office than having their yogurt. They have been pretty active this week during tent time as well. I think the secret to getting them going is to turn off all of the lights except for some indirect lightning. It doesn't take long for all four of them to start running and jumping all over. and they have certainly been getting their exercise.

Cirrus reached a milestone of sorts this weekend when she weighed in on Sunday at 70 grams. That's the most she has weighed since coming to live here. Part of that gain might be due to the yogurt she had just prior to being weighed, but she has that all of the time when we wake them up to be weighed. It's the bribe to get them to come out of their pouch. Nevertheless, it was good to see.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

One Year Ago...

October 14, 2009 was a cloudy, cold day in the Midwest. M and I were on our way back from picking up two  sugar gliders who were just a little frightened and uncertain about what was going on. They were a 5-month old brother and sister we named CB and Foehn. We had asked for two young females and were told they would be available, but that wasn't the case. I was close to walking out of the breeder's home empty-handed, but something told me to go ahead. During the ride home we discussed how this wasn't what we thought it would be (in terms of not getting what we asked for) and whether we had gotten ourselves into something more than we initially bargained for. Foehn was the more frightened of the two and she let us know during the five-hour drive home, crabbing at every opportunity and adopting a defensive posture when we peeked in the stinky pouch they had. Her brother CB, well, if he was frightened he didn't show it. He slept during the entire ride and seemed unfazed by his noisy sister. One thing was clear - these two had distinctly different personalities.

One year later, we are happy we made the decision we did. Not only were CB and Foehn removed from a crummy living situation, but they have won our hearts and we their trust. It's taken a lot of patience, persistence, and more than a few anxious moments (most of which have been documented in this blog). It was such a good experience that we felt ready to adopt two additional gliders in need of a new home in March of this year. Virga and Cirrus are older and were more wary, but what we learned with CB and Foehn helped us to work with them to overcome their fear and to eventually create that bond. It was cemented when they were introduced to CB and Foehn in July, and all four are now happily living together.

Monday, October 11, 2010


It was a long week, and M and I were both tired. However, last night it was time for the gang to get some play time, so I set up the tent and moved the stuff I needed inside. M brought two pouches to me - two gliders in each. For some reason they split sleeping arrangements sometime during the day. After I coaxed them out, I placed the pouches outside the tent and M came and hung them back in the cage. She headed off to bed, and the four gliders and I were in the tent for play time. They were slow to come up to speed, but before long they were about as active as I had seen them in some time. No sleeping in the boat, no crawling under the sheet on the floor, just a lot of running, climbing, and jumping, and a lot of it on me. After about an hour and a quarter of this, I decided to call it quits. I was tired and had a headache developing. I went to unzip the tent and get the pouch I use to carry them back to the cage, only, it wasn't there. Both M and I had forgotten to grab it when we set things up. Now you are probably wondering why I just didn't let myself out and go get it. If they had been in one of their more quiet moods, maybe I could have done that. There was no way I was going to do that tonight, at least without one or more escapees. As soon as they hear me removing the binder clip the holds the zippers at least two and usually all four of them are there in a flash. The know that sound means the pouch is coming and they are going back to their cage where dinner is waiting. I tried a couple of times to quietly open it, but no luck - they were four furry bodies there immediately. M was already in bed asleep and wouldn't hear me calling. I thought maybe I could wait them out, as usually they wind down at some point, which is usually when we call it a night.

Forty minutes passed and they were still going full speed. My eyes were getting heavy and my head was hurting. I tried sneaking the zipper open again, but failed. I think they were also getting anxious to get out. I clipped the binder back on the zipper to wait some more. As I sat there wondering what to do next, I counted only three gliders. I looked in the boat - nothing. I checked under the sheet - nothing. I checked the tree to see if someone was on the back side out of my view - nope. There were only three gliders in the tent - someone was missing. The zipper was clipped shut, so I couldn't figure out how anyone got out. Until I checked again. I had apparently missed one of the three zippers, and it was pushed open about three inches. That was Virga's M.O., I thought, and checked who was in the tent. CB, Cirrus, Foehn, but no Virga. I didn't hear her running around outside the tent, which had me a little worried. Well, there was not much to lose now, as I had to find her before she got into trouble. With Cirrus crawling up and down my back and shoulders, I unzipped the tent and quickly got out, fending off CB and Foehn as I did. I managed to direct Cirrus back into the tent, and then zipped it up. As I walked into the office to get the pouch, there was Virga climbing on the side of the cage. I opened the door and let her in, then went back to get the others. In five minutes they were all back in the cage, stuff was put away, and I was headed to bed.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Barks Have No Bite

It been two weeks since my last post - too long!. Between a business trip and other things I haven't had the time to sit down until now, so I thought I would provide a little update on the subject of my last post. Our theory about the barking may have been correct, but it wasn't repeatable. We are past the time when Virga and Foehn should have come into heat according to our last figuring, and we didn't see the same barking behavior as last time. Cirrus is next up (today in fact), so we'll see what happens. As started to write this there were a few quiet barks from the pouch, but your guess as as good as mine as to who it may have been. There aren't many other signs that one of them is in heat, except that CB tends to stay off by himself sometimes.

There hasn't been a lot new recently. They finally have become a lot more active during tent time. All four of them start spending 10 or 15 minutes grooming themselves, and then gradually come out and start running around. On Monday and Tuesday they were having a grand old time, so much so that I really hated to stop it. Last night was a different story, and they spent the better part of an hour all tucked in the boat. 

Foehn checks out the action from the boat
They have been getting plenty of exercise, however. M has been the one to give them their yogurt treat in the morning, and over the last month or so they have started to frolic and explore around the office. Cirrus started it all, and now all four of them are waiting for M to come in and open the cage door in the morning. They usually take a few licks of yogurt, but play time is foremost on their mind. After 10 or 15 minutes they climb back into their cage and head for their sleeping pouch. Only on rare occasions does M have to actually round one of them up. It's interesting how this has become their routine, but it's also a little unfortunate. Within a couple of weeks we won't be able to let them run around like that anymore, and we will miss it as much as they will. I'll have more on what that's all about in a future post.