Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vacation Escapade

This has been a crazy six weeks.  Since the middle of July I have been gone two full weeks, and then last week M and I headed to northern Wisconsin to enjoy a week in the Northwoods with good friends of ours. I have had little time to blog about the gliders until now. As was the case last year, the gliders accompanied us on the trip up north. We were much better prepared this year and departure and travel went without out a hitch. We spent one night in a hotel, a La Quinta Inn, which are pet-friendly. It was clean, comfortable, and we all got a good night's rest, or play, in the case of the furry four.

During our week up north I tried to spend some time in the tent each night with them. They all were "sleeping in" during our week up north, and frequently were still asleep at 10:00 or 10:30 p.m.  Normally at home they are up and around sometime around 9:30 p.m. On Wednesday night we wrapped up play time and they all climbed into the pouch for the trip back to the cage. Their travel cage is a portable "pet playpen" with a top that zips on. I opened up the top an placed them on the floor. They all came out of the pouch, but Cirrus climbed back up my arm and didn't seem to want to get off. Finally, I coaxed her down and zipped the top closed.

Sometime around 4:00 a.m. M got up to use the restroom and on the way out the bedroom door heard barking coming from the tent. I left the tent up in a loft area in the cabin. It was out of the way and I didn't have to fold it up each night. Anyway, at first M didn't quite comprehend what she was hearing, as she was still sleepy and not expecting to hear barking from the tent. She checked it, and sure enough it turns out Foehn was in the tent. After a few minutes of coaxing she as finally able to gather Foehn up and bring her back to the cage. In the meantime I had awakened to M talking to Foehn, shocked that she was out. We thoroughly checked the cage to make sure that someone had not chewed through the screening or tunneled through the floor. Everything as intact as far as we could tell. What likely happened was that Foehn climbed out while I was dealing with Cirrus and I never noticed her leaving. They move so fast that she was probably out of sight before I finished with Cirrus. Fortunately, she chose to head at some point to the tent which was familiar to her. M thinks Foehn was barking to attract her attention. I couldn't believe I didn't see her leave.  There are a dozen other places she could have ended up in the cabin where we would have had a difficult time finding her, and possibly with a tragic outcome. Needless to say, from that point on I made sure to do a head count after things were all zipped up for the night. Other than that little incident, all of us had a relaxing time, and they are all back to their regular routine at home.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's All in the Presentation

Sugar gliders are still relatively new in the pet world, in the last 10 years or so. Since they are an exotic and relatively new as pets, you can't go to your local pet superstore and buy a bag of glider chow.  Diets have been developed over the years to try and meet the nutritional needs of gliders. There must be a good balance of protein, vitamins and minerals. In particular there should be a 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus in their diet. Too little calcium or poor calcium uptake can result in several health issues, most notably Hind Leg Paralysis, of HLP. Most of the diets developed are a variation of the Leadbeaters Mix as a staple, and then additional fruits and vegetables. We use one called the Blended Diet, and our gliders have done very well on it. I wrote in an earlier post about how we started to see significant weight gain in the gliders when we had a feeding station for each of them. So, each night, M usually is the one who "plates" their dinner and places the glider kitchens in the cage while they are playing in the office or tent. Some owners just place the food, especially the fruits and vegetables, on the floor of the kitchen. The staple diet is liquid (about 1.5 teaspoons) and has to be in some sort of dish. Well, we found some nice "tasting plates" on clearance at a local Pier One Imports, and that's what we use for their fruits and vegetables.

Four dishes of Blended Mix Diet (top),
and the fruit (melon) and vegetable (bok choy) servings.

One dish of each is placed in a glider kitchen, and the kitchens are placed in the cage. Each kitchen (plastic storage containers we purchased)  has two 2.5 inch holes cut in the side for access.  Gliders like to play with their food, and they also tend to flick it around, so the kitchens contain the mess. They sure have made my life easier when it comes to cleaning the cage every week.

The kitchens are loaded and ready to be placed in the cage.