Yay to a .com

Finally with the help of my friend KP, I have finally gotten my Dot Com.

Suggies At Home is now http://suggiesathome.com

Easier, straight forward and hopefully I get more hits or should I say, more paw prints by readers into this blog. Thank you to all that have stayed tuned to my blog.

More updates later on as I have had quite a tired week with my industrial training. Will be back with updates soon.

Singing glider

I love this sound. All my females make this sound when they have joeys. It is very funny to see the sleeping pouch shiver because while the female sings, she would vibrate a bit. Not sure why, some say females do it to calm their joeys, some say when they want to communicate to their joeys. Anyway, I love the sound, it is cute.

I found 2 videos on youtube that you can hear quite clearly. The pitch and sound varies differently as if they have different songs.

A question from a reader

A question…. If I want to get a set of sg… Should I get both of them at the same time or should I wait to get the next sg?

Which has more cons than pros?

Hi Naimah,

Firstly, thanks for visiting this blog.

For your questions…. you can start with a single joey or a pair…. but personally, this is from my own experience…. I find bonding with joeys one by one tends to be faster. There are a few reasons:

Single joeys first (Pros and Cons)

  • When you bond with a single joey, it would be a 1 to 1 bondship with you and the joey. Meaning, you will be the one the joey sees everyday, to learn to trust and you would be the surrogate sibling or parent it turns to when it needs attention. So in a way, when the joey has no other glider around, it would turn to you and force itself to trust you.
  • It would be easier for you to bond with 1 because you will be giving 100% of your time, attention and effort. With 2, you would need to do equal bonding time, which may tire you. It is better to concentrate on your 1st joey first so that it would trust you and develop a special relationship with you.
  • But with a single joey, means you must be with it often as possible since it would be alone and joeys do not like loneliness. So you must be bringing it around with you in a bonding pouch and spend as much time with it when it is awake. It could mean you end up sleeping at 1am or 2am sometimes. You have to become the joey’s parent, playmate and companion.
  • With a single joey, you cannot forgo a day of bonding. You cannot say you are too tired and would play with your joey tomorrow and not today.
Getting 2 at once
  • You won’t need to worry about them being lonely as they have each other. 2 joeys would keep themselves busy and each other company, it would mean you can leave them for hours and not worry about them being bored.
  • Having 2 at once would mean you have to do double bonding. As the joeys have each other, they would seek each other as their security first rather than fully trust you first. So for new owners, it can be frustrating when the bonding process is slower.
I like to practice getting 1 joey first, then get a 2nd joey in about 2 to 3 months later. Because you would be focusing all your attention and determination with your 1st one. Your 1st joey would tend trust you and stick to you like glue later on. Once you get a 2nd joey, your 1st joey is already super tame and bonded with you, it may even teach your 2nd joey to trust you earlier than what you would expect. Gliders learn from one another, so the older ones do teach the younger ones how to behave. I did that with Keera and Kuno and Kuno is quite calm with me.
So think about it and see which is suitable for you, getting 1 first or 2 at once. Hope this reply helps you.

Why we should not blame vets…

I remember a few years back when I watched Emergency Pets on Animal Planet. Back then, I wasn’t even a glider owner but I remember watching one of the episodes with it. So here it is.

Vets try their best to treat animals that they think they can treat. Sugar gliders are still new and not much research is done on their anatomy and how to treat them in vet school, so many vets are treating sugar gliders base on their knowledge on treating mammals, particularly with small animals like mice and rats. Sugar gliders have only been in the pet industry for the last 20-odd years, so it is hard for vets to understand them.

We in Malaysia are fortunate to have a few vets that have decided to study and treat small mammals like sugar gliders. Dr Vellayan, the retired head vet of the National Zoo and Dr Jenny, a dedicated vet who tries her best in treating sugar gliders and other exotic animals. Once awhile they may make mistakes but we should not blame them since a lot of treatments involve trial and error. They try their best to help and are honest when they could not.

So choose a vet wisely. If they do not know what a sugar glider is, then explain to them. We cannot blame vets who do not know what a sugar glider is coz it never was an animal species in thier studies in vet school. They learn through practice and experience. When your glider needs treatment, best to look for a vet who is honest and can tell you if he or she is able to treat your glider. I would stick to the 2 vets I trust because they have taken the initiative to know what is a glider and to study on how to treat it.

Scent Marking

Sugar gliders are social creatures that live in large families in the wild. It can be anywhere from 5 gliders to 20 gliders in a colony. So how to they tell each other apart? How do they know which is their territory? They recognize each other and also territory by smell so they scent mark alot.

The males scent mark using their bald spot on their heads which is called a frontal gland, and their chest, a sternal gland. When I introduce new things or their new mates, they would rub their heads and chest on the new cage stuff and also the females that enter their territory. The male would also sometimes look like he is dragging his chest all over the cage, trying to cover the entire cage with his musky scent.

Females and males do mark, males being the more obvious and aggressive marker. Both sexes of gliders do possess minor glands on their feet, chins and sides of their mouths as well as their butts. Yups, their rear end.  Females have scent glands around the opening of their pouches, which is why you can see brown stains when females have joeys. This is so that the joeys would have the female’s smell, and she could recognize them.

Another way that I see my gliders scent mark is by peeing concentrated of urine, all in droplets around anything they would want to claim as their territory. My gliders would leave a thin dropelt train of pee on me when they climb on me. I see their cage bars with droplets of pee. That is why we should wipe our cages every night with a wet towel so that it stays clean.

Once I saw my female Keera rubbing her head under Gip Gip’s chin. She was trying to get the male’s scent on her, which was hilariously funny. Too bad my friend and I did not bring our cameras at that time when we were out having a drink. Then Keera grabbed Gip Gip’s head and rub her chest on his bald spot.

So I hope you understand why gliders mark.

Should I neuter my male?

Just like the title of my article, should we neuter our male sugar gliders? The answer would be yes if you are just keeping them as pets. Some may say it is cruel coz we are stripping away their sex life but remember, only humans, dolphins and bonobos mate for fun and reproduction. If you are not gonna be a hobbyist breeder, then best is to neuter your male.

Why neuter?

  1. You won’t need to worry about unexpected offspring.
  2. You won’t need to crank your head with additional cages or new homes for joeys.
  3. Your male will not smell as bad as before and will most likely stop or mark less. Less active hormones.
  4. It reduces the risk of getting testicular cancer.
  5. Your male can become sweeter with other gliders. Their territorial instinct can reduce but this depends on the glider itself as some may just be a tad territorial by nature. Just like humans, some of us can be moody.

What is the best age?

Well, the best time to neuter a glider is when it is around 5 months of age. This is when the male joey has reached maturity, he would start to show his bald spot and develop a musky scent. Normally joeys can be neutered at 4 months old because his testicles would have fully dropped into his scrotum but best is to wait till they are 5 to 6 months, just so that your glider is strong enough to handle the surgery. Never neuter too early because it would mean a riskier surgery since the testicles won’t be fully out, the vet may need to make a deeper incision during the surgery just to get to the testicles.

How is the procedure?

There are a few ways to neuter but it all involves cutting off the balls. LOL, removing the testicles. I have heard of males “neutered” naturally. How? Either some string got tied around their scrotum or the glider chews it off. Those are risky. In fact, some vets may even suggest that you use a string to tie the scrotum to cut the blood supply and let it drop off. Er…. I won’t use this method coz it can be risky, with bacterial infections coming in later.

Anyway, like I said, there are several ways, and I’ll highlight them.

Removing the testicle and scrotum

This method has disadvantages and advantages. The advantage is that it further reduces the hormone levels, making your glider less likely to try and mate or mark. The bad thing is that since removing the scrotum means cutting it off, the hole left by the removal would be bigger, so there would be more stitches needed and some skin pulling. Often gliders would feel an amount of pain and may chew on the wound, leading to self mutilating. So if this is done, a glider should be on an E-Collar (DIY stuff) and on some pain medication. You should monitor your glider closely for 48 hours.

Removing just the testicles

According to Dr Jenny from Hands and Paws clinic in Malaysia, this is the ideal way. Less pain, less stress. The method involves making a small incision, cut off the testicles and stitch back the incision, leaving the scrotum. Your glider would heal faster too but still, you need to monitor your glider closely for the next 48 hours. There would obviously be pain but the healing of this kind of procedure is faster and safer. But because the scrotum is left there, the male hormones would still be around and would take some time to decrease. So you will still see your male musk here and there a bit but with time, his rowdy behaviour would lessen.

Also, the best anesthesia to use would be the gas kind. The local anesthesic and general anesthetic injections are quite risky if the vet is not experienced coz an overdose could kill a glider. And symptoms like vomiting, sudden aggression and drowsiness occur with the injection type. The gas anesthesia doesn’t take a toll on the body, your glider would have a faster recovery with just a bit of giddiness. Still, always take precaution and prepare for the worst with any kind of surgery. Sugar gliders do not tolerate pain very well and may try and chew themselves to get rid of the source of their pain. So plan properly, maybe get an offday from work to monitor your glider after the surgery.

Here is my friend’s picture of her glider after he got neutered. Still passed out from the anesthetic. He was Dr Jenny’s 1st glider to neuter.

Then these are the testicles.

Little Rambo update

I guess little Rambo is gonna be booked soon. My friend saw his picture and couldn’t stop thinking about him ahahah…. poor guy. I poison him too much. Anyway, here is an update on the little boy that I call Rambo for now.

Today he weighs at 39g, 24 days old. A darling and very calm during his photo session. He didn’t mind my dogs that were barking too.

2 gliders visited me

My friend came by my home this afternoon with her suggies so they could have their nails trimmed. It’s always a joy to see the 2 gliders as they are well fed and well loved by their owner, who fusses over them alot as if they were real babies. I thought it would be a good idea to get a few photos and weigh them.

Here is her eldest female glider. She weighs at 95g. A beautiful round faced girl.

Then here comes her heavyweight champion. A female, this girl weighs at 145g! Big and squeezable. You may think she was overweight but she loves to run in her wheel and eats the same portion as her cage mate.

What does my friend feed? Well, her gliders are mainly on a diet of fresh fruits and GliderSLURP, fed twice a day. Mealworms as treats and they get alot of lovin’ from their owner everyday.

Answer to a reader

hye…my fren who bot a sg from u recommended me to deal with u…i’ve been reading alot on sg n hedgehog, n been considering on getting either one…..im not sure whether this info is relevant or not, but im staying in college…so would it be a suitable environment to place these sg? any info would be much appreciated…n if i have decided…..should i get 1 or a pair of joeys? my only concern is that…since these marsupials are nocturnal n social creature…..i would be gone for classes mostly during the day….would that b a major problem? thanx…sorry for asking too much…i just need to know so that i wouldnt neglect this cute animal

Hi Nurul

Well, first of all, send my regards to your friend. Thank you for visiting my blog too. Well, the answer is gonna be long so I though why not share it in a post.

Many students actually do own sugar gliders now. I have many friends who are still in college like me and we too only have time after classes. You have to make sure you can commit to the gliders coz when they are joeys, they require lots of attention, lots of bonding and handling time. You can shorten the bonding by always carrying a sleeping pouch with them all day, but that depends if you got classes that restricts noises or not.

About hostel, well, it also depends on the rules. Are you allowed to have pets in the hostel? Would anyone complain if they heard barking and crabbing from a glider? There are students who have been able to keep gliders in their hostels plainly because the rules are not strict and no one comes around to check their rooms. So be sure you can cope this.

Secondly, one of the things I would say glider owners should have in their homes would be a small fridge and a blender if possible. The fridge would keep the produce and food fresh for your glider and a blender comes in handy if you need to create some fruit blends for them.

About 1 or 2 joeys, it would be up to you. I normally start off with 1 joey first, then after a month or 2, I go on with the second joey because the time gap allows me to concentrate on bonding with the first joey. Gliders should be kept in a pair for life, so in the end you would definitely end up with 2 gliders. Anyway, it is up to you, 1 or 2 joeys but you must be able to give each joey individual attention. Bonding and handling is crucial at their young joey age as that is where they learn to trust you, to see you as their friend, care giver, security tree and their surrogate mom. If we do not give them enough bonding time, the gliders won’t be very tame, they will not trust us. To them, we are just food givers and a big annoying monster. I don’t really get much sleep or travel and have a good time with friends coz I got many gliders to handle, it’s just a big commitment for me. So you have to be ready to commit, to stay up late at night to handle them and to stay confident and not let a few crabs and bites or nips scare you. Remember, when we get a glider, we gotta be ready for a 10 to 15 year commitment.