Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Buddy

While the markings on our sugar glider are often the most direct way to tell who is who, it is also easy for us to tell them apart by their personalities. They are all very distinctive. This is the first of four posts in which I'll take a look at the personalities of each of our gliders.

I think CB and I had a bond from the moment we left for home after picking them up from the breeder. I'm sure he didn't feel that way toward me at that time, but I knew he and I would hit it off. The day we picked CB and his sister Foehn up was an unsettling time for them. Foehn crabbed off and on during the long ride home. CB couldn't care less, and he slept almost the whole trip.  His name "CB" is the abbreviation for a cumulonimbus cloud, or thunderstorm.  He isn't the "stormy" type, though. I liked CB's laid back personality.

CB hanging out in my pant leg during tent time
He likes his sleep, and he will go to lengths to find a comfortable place to curl up.  Usually that is in my shirt (or M's). After only several months with us, when they had becoming more trusting, CB would crawl into my shirt during tent time for a nap. He obviously wasn't quite ready to play. While Foehn (and later Virga and Cirrus) were running around the tent, CB was curled up in my shirt just above the belt getting some more rest. After 20 or 30 minutes  he would usually find his way out and play with the others.  Sometimes, I think he does this to get a break from the three females he lives with. 

CB climbing out of my shirt after a 30 minute nap
While CB has an easy personality, he doesn't just sit back and watch the world go by. He will be two years old in May, not quite an adolescent in glider years. When he isn't sleeping he is usually pretty active. On three occasions he has gotten away from us and gone exploring. These little adventures might have been fun for him, at least for awhile, but they were stressful on us. One of these in particular was scary for us, and probably for him as well by the time it ended after a couple of hours. He hasn't gone exploring since this summer, when I inadvertently left the cage door open. Part of that is we are more careful and part is that he is comfortable with us and isn't afraid of our hands. Given the opportunity, though, he will take off.  He, like Foehn, doesn't particularly like to be held, but during those times when he doesn't mind he will sit quietly and let you pet him between the ears. Eventually, though, he gets restless and is off looking for something to get into.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Early Morning Antics

I was just becoming conscious of the news on the radio when it went on shortly after 6:00 a.m. this morning and was in that fuzzy zone between being asleep and being awake. I heard a noise like something hitting the floor in the kitchen, but at that point wasn't sure if I was dreaming it or heard it for real. When I was finally awake a few moments later, I figured I had better go check just to be sure. As I stepped out of the bedroom a single bark came from the gliders' cage. I flipped on the red light near their cage to see what was going on. Cirrus heard me and jumped to the front of the cage. At my feet was an assortment of plastic toys and doodads that had been in a plastic bowl atop their cage. I then realized what I had heard - it was the bowl falling off of the top of the 5 ft high cage. Cirrus had managed to work the bowl along the top of the cage to the edge where it eventually fell off. All of the gliders love to play with stuff sitting on top of the cage - it's a challenge for them.  The openings in the wire are one inch by one half inch, so they have to work at getting at what is ever there. So, I picked up the mess, and in the meantime Cirrus retreated to their sleeping pouch.  M was due to give them their morning yogurt licks, so I headed back into the bedroom to get ready for work. M was up and getting ready to head out to them and I told her what I had found. We were both amused about what Cirrus manged to do.

After getting dressed I headed to my office to get my stuff for work. When I got to the cage the same bowl that I had picked up 30 minutes earlier was on the floor with its contact scattered all over. I figured maybe M had dropped it. When I asked her about it, she said "I thought you had left it on the floor."  "No," said I, " I picked it all up and put it back on the cage."  Well, it didn't take us long to figure that Cirrus, and apparently also Virga, had managed to work it to the edge and knock it off again. M said when she came out they were both on the front of the cage looking at her like "What? We didn't do anything..."  They had to have worked fast, because there wasn't more than about 10 minutes between the time I left them and the time M came out.  Unfortunately I didn't have the video camera set up, but I wish I had.  They were certainly enjoying themselves!

This is what greeted me when I came out the second time
this morning. The smaller items were in the plastic bowl,
and the bowl was on top of the cage.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Checking Out the Ladies

M contacted me at work this morning after she had returned the gliders to their cage after their morning time together. She noticed that both Virga and Cirrus, our 8-year old gliders, both seemed to have something wrong with their pouches. The color was not the pink healthy color they should have been, and seemed to have some dried discharge. We were concerned that their pouches might be infected, and called the university small animal clinic for an appointment.

There was nothing else to  indicate that something might be wrong. Virga has had some loose poops at times, but otherwise seemed OK. All four gliders have been really active, and in fact last night as one of their most active nights. However, sugar gliders often try and hide their illnesses or injuries as a matter of self-preservation. In the wild a sick or injured glider is more susceptible to predators. Sometimes by the time you notice a glider is in distress it is too late. So, with all of this in mind, and the fact that the ladies were due for their annual checkup in a month, off to the vet we went.

Cirrus and Virga did very well during the exam, considering they were being handled by a stranger and their normal sleep time was being disrupted. The vet, who we had not been to before, was very thorough with the exam. She swabbed their pouches to check for infection or other problems. They also ran tests to check for parasites or other digestive issues (giardia can be a serious problem in gliders). After about 30 minutes the vet came in to give us the news.  There was no sign of infection in their pouches and the coloration and small secretion was normal. The tests and exam for parasites were negative. We were relieved that there were no problems and both Virga and Cirrus were healthy.

We really liked this vet, and we'll be making an appointment to take Foehn and CB in for their annual exam in the near future.