Fake or Original?

I saw on Mudah.my several sellers going around promoting their sugar gliders as ORIGINAL Grade A or High grade Australian sugar gliders. Hello???!!! How on earth you can get Australian Sugar Gliders when it is strictly forbidden to get any glider in and out of Australia since the 1950s….????

Anyway, sugar gliders are not objects, ok? Don’t go around labeling these wonderful animals like some latest handphone or laptop…. grade AAA, perfect condition and stuff. All sugar gliders are grey variations (the wild colour) if they are the local ones from Indonesia. Get your FACTS right!!!! Our sugar gliders, even the ones in USA are from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. So to tell people sugar gliders from Indonesia, locally bred in Malaysia and from Thailand are wild, untame, brown and bites like hell is soooooooooo untruuuueeeee…. Rubbish to you. Please don’t educate people like that you money minded people. Show some respect to the poor glider ok?

Also, some may advertise as their sugar gliders are so pure from Australia that they always stay grey and never bite. One way to get them not to bite is that some evil cruel sellers take nail clippers to cut away half of the length of the bottom front teeth of the joeys. Please do not do this. They will have trouble eating later on.

These are Australian Petaurus Breviceps….. so different from the Indonesian and Papua New Guinea ones.

Their markings are lighter, not as bold. They have a different face.

Compare it with our ones from local breeders, Thailand and Indonesia

 

Oh wow, commercial breeders…..

I just stumbled upon some pictures of how a mass breeder’s breeding facility looks like. I do not own any of these pictures, now did I photoshop and recreate it. Since it was on the Internet and available for view, it is meant for the public to see. Hope you guys understand why I have been so against commercial mass breeders.

So people, stop buying from pet shops, online dealers, online agents, online sellers looking for a quick ringgit by selling cheap sugar gliders. Get from proper recommended or experienced homebreeders.

Gliders are not from our jungles

I have decided to write this article base on a few disturbing news that I have heard from friends and from what I have experienced.

Now, it is natural to think that sugar gliders are like flying squirrels. They do look almost alike, and sugar gliders are, after all, wild animals. So is it proper to let them go into our jungles if we get bored of them? NOoooooooooooooo…. no no no…. Big No!

Why????

Because sugar gliders are not native to Malaysia, they are not our local fauna…. and tame sugar gliders will never be able to survive in our jungles. If wild gliders, they may endanger our local flora and fauna.

I went to a pet shop that I frequently go to, and I asked them about sugar gliders, like how is the demand. Obvious answer is that people want joeys, the younger the better because when they are underage, they look so babyish and vulnerable that we tend to feel like we should care for the like babies. Then he told me that some of his customers actually release their gliders once older coz they feel that keeping them captive is pitiful. I would like to smack those people to make them come to their senses. Gliders that have grown to trust humans and live in a cage with food laid out for it since it was a joey will never be able to survive in the wild. Yes, gliders enjoy freedom, like in our homes, and yes, they are attracted to trees, but they should never be released into our jungles. In our local jungles, there are many types of snakes, bird of prey, wild cats and civet cats that will eat gliders. Even a wild rat would eat a glider if given a chance.

I believe many people are practicing this because recently my uncle’s friend found a semi-tame glider in a park. Either it escaped from it’s cage or someone released it in the park. Poor thing was so hungry and tired.

Sugar gliders do not belong to our jungles. We may be near to Indonesia, but it is just not right to release gliders here. Our local flora and fauna may suffer. Gliders may eat the same things as our tree shrews and squirrels, so that may cause a problem or gliders may destroy some of our native plants that normally other animals do not bother. These are just possibilities, so best to take this into consideration.

So please, do not think that releasing a glider is the best thing to do. Once a glider is tame and kept in captivity, it should never be made to defend itself in our jungles. We should never endanger their lives. It is not cruel to keep gliders if you keep them properly, it is cruel to kick them out of your home by just simply letting them go into the wild. We should never assume that a captive bred glider would know how to survive. With predators and cars and dangerous things around, a captive bred glider will have little chance of staying alive. So think twice, keep your gliders properly or if you get tired of them, find them a new home with someone else. Do not take the easy way out.

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.

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.

Is my kid ready to have a glider?

This would be a question a parent would ask oneself….. when is the right timing? What pet? Is my child responsible enough?

In my point of view, children as young as 4 can start handling gliders but with supervision. I do like to visit pet fairs and bring along my gliders. It’s great to get the attention from curious visitors, and it is good when I see children coming up to me with questions. I let children have a go at handling my gliders if they behave well and will not squish or squeeze the life out of them.

Letting a child have a pet is a great responsibility. I was given my first pet rabbit when I was 3 years old…. but then I was too young that all I did was play with them while my parents did the cleaning and caring. I took full responsibility of a shih tzu when I was 9 years old, my first pet dog where I have to clean, care and train. It was hard for me at first but later on it help with my confidense, my organization and also it taught me responsibility.

Is it a good idea for a kid to have a pet? Yes! It would be, provided that your child is mature enough to do the dirty work such as cleaning and such, and understands the care and conditions for the pet. One thing I notice when children have pets is that they would spend less time loitering or lazing away. It gives them something to do during their free time.

Now here are a few things one must know when giving a pet to a child:

– Best ages would be a child above the age of 10 years old. This is where a child would have full responsibility of a pet so he must be mature enough to understand about pet care. If you are thinking of getting a glider for a younger child, then remember, it is your responsibility to educate your child and to care for the glider.

– Allergies….. be aware that gliders have fur, so if your child is sensitive to fur, better avoid keeping pets. Gliders have claws so children should wear long sleeve clothing to protect their delicate skin when handling a glider.

– Claws, gliders have sharp claws so scratches that are itchy and red will always come about if a glider did not get it’s claws or nails trimmed nicely. Adults should supervise their kids.

– A child should show interest. He or she must not want a glider on impulse. Test your kid’s knowledge on sugar gliders. If there is interest, your child would not stop talking about what are sugar gliders and how to care for them.

Teenagers are generally easier when it comes to pets. They know what they like and dislike and they are at an age where they are able to care for their own pets responsibly. Of course, only let you kid have pets if they are really into it and will take good care of them.

It will be a big step so when you think you want to get a pet for your kid, discuss with them about it. Never let it be a surprise. Also remember, get the whole family involved too.

Edit:

Silas,

Thank you for your comment. Yes, we have to be careful, all animals actually carry bacteria that is not healthy for young children. The best way to handle this is by praticing good hygiene. Children, particularly the youngsters can easily get salmonella from pets. So make sure children wash their hands after handling or touching a glider.

Travel with your glider buddy.

When we have bonded with our gliders, then we tend to bring them where ever we go. Is that not true? We may carry them in our pockets or inside our shirt or in a pouch if it is just for the day. So in this article, I will touch on a few things about traveling with your glider.

The basic necessity would be to have a bonding pouch. You can make your own, provided that you use the right material such as fleece or any material with no loose threads. I get my bonding pouches from SuggieStuf, all handmade with love by my friend, known as krynzpeaches. These pouches have a mesh for ventilation, a strap with a stopper to go around our neck and a zipper to keep our gliders safely inside the pouches.

When we go out of our home, we should always carry our gliders in their bonding pouches. It is for their own safety as gliders are very curious animals and will try to jump at anything that they feel there is a need to explore. Even my most bonded glider will jump to any tree if I stand next to it for too long.

How about traveling back to hometown or out station? Should you bring along or send to a boarding facility? If the traveling is just for a few days and it has nothing to do with work or business, then bring your gliders along. They would be lonely and depress without you. If you so happen to be on a business trip, have to travel by air or will be backpacking a lot, then I would suggest boarding your glider at a boarding facility or with family or friends. It would be less stressful for the gliders since you won’t have much time for them when you are busy with work or traveling and if traveling by air, it is not wise to sneak a glider into a plane.

If you are traveling with your glider for more than a day, then you will need to have a traveling cage. Why? Gliders do not like to be zipped up in a bag or pouch for too long a period and will try to chew their way out. This would damage the bonding pouches and you will need to spend more money on buying more bonding pouches. Get a cage that is foldable and easy to carry. For gliders that are not chewers, I would recommend getting a Flexarium by Exo Terra. A Flexarium is a lightweight cage, made of PVC and nylon mesh, easy to assemble and saves space. The Flexarium comes in a few sizes, the smallest one would be the most ideal as you can install it in a few moments and it fits perfectly in a car. The Flexarium can be found at Pet Lovers Center(Sunway Pyramid), Pet Safari(Ikano) and also through a few pet shops by placing special orders. The smallest is roughly 2ft and cost below Rm100.

If a Flexarium is hard to come by, then the other best option would be getting a travel cage that is easy to fold away and assemble in a few minutes. I personally use small bird cages. Some websites have suggested hamster cages but those appear to be too small and is not really foldable. Some hamster cages are rather hard to assemble.
It must not be too small, find a cage that is comfortable enough for 2 gliders in a short period. Saw a few of these cages but with pointed roofs for sale at Pet Safari.

So how about food? Well, just pack a few fruits and mealworms with you. Jar babyfood is also ok for traveling, as well as dried organic fruits. Don’t forget their water bottle as well.

GliderYUMMIES will soon be offering travel kits and travel treats in the near future.

A male’s bifurcated penis

Some people may wonder what is that pink worm-like thing poking out of their male sugar glider’s anus….. well, it is their bifurcated penis! It is long, pink and the ends are split in 2, kinda looks like a snake’s tongue. As I rarely get pictures of this, I found one on Sugar Glider University.

Picture credits goes to Sugar Glider University.

I strongly advice people to read up and include this website into your research list. This site has been one of my favourite sites to use for my research. Plenty of info.

Heartless pet shops

Have you ever wondered where do pet shops get their sugar glider joey supply? How about what they feed them? Ever wondered about the age of a joey sold at most pet shops in Malaysia? If you were to ask the pet shop keeper about the joeys, they would give you very blunt answers.

How old are the joeys? – “2 to 3 months old lah”

What do you feed them?

“Ah, easy only. Feed apples, cat food and some mealworms” or “Feed Gerber jar babyfood” or “Just apples and grapes” or “Sunflower seeds and apples”

What cage to use? – “Small bird cage or a hamster cage would do”

Easy to care? – “Very easy, like hamster only”

In reality, the joeys sold at those shops are about 4 weeks OOP to 5 weeks OOP. Their diet needs to be varied, with a good ratio of fruits and veggies, along with insects. You can read more about diet in my other article. Anyway, cages, we all know the minimum is a 3ft tall cage and they are not as easy as hamsters, quite complicated.

Photo from shakeera (LYN member)

The picture above here is an example of underage joeys in the market. This picture was taken by shakeera outside of KL Sentral. I was personally there as well but I did not have my camera at that moment. The joeys are around 4 and 5 weeks OOP, seriously hungry. The only thing available as food is half of an apple, which has gone brown with age. The joeys have nothing to sleep in but a small little cup that is barely 3 inches in diameter. Joeys at this age still need milk. They still need their mom’s warmth and care. Don’t you feel like crying when you see little baby animals snatched away before they are of the right age to cater to the pet trade? The people manning the store would tell you that the joeys are 3 to 4 months old, they are super tame and easy to care for and they should eat only apples so that they do not smell. Some rubbish advice that is, they are too young, they are too scared and weak to bite or crab and probably sick from malnutrition. The price is cheap, so this attracts a whole lot of buyers, but it is a pity to see so many people fall into this trap.

Photos from KJ (LYN member)

Do these look familiar? I won’t mention the name of the shop but the way the joeys are housed is actually a familiar sight in a particular shopping mall. The joeys in the pictures are about 3 weeks OOP to 4 weeks OOP. Extremely malnutrition, most of the joeys there are very sick. I personally saw one dying. A few other people also told me they have seen dead ones at the same place. Why are they dying? Well, the joeys have nothing to eat but a few pieces of very brown apples. At this age, the joeys need milk, apples is high in phosphorus and the joeys have not much energy to chew solid food. This makes them weak and suffer from brittle bones and poor growth later in life. Who knows how long they can live, maybe not the full 10 to 15 years of life. The worst part is that the joeys in the pictures are constantly damp with moisture from the apples and also urine, which makes the staff blow dry them with a hair dryer. This is not the way, the hair dryer can burn the joey’s delicate skin and ears, causing extreme pain. Now, don’t you feel like telling these people off about the way they are keeping the joeys? Of course rite? But whenever we open our mouths to help these joeys, the staff would turn a deaf ear and act arrogant. They would stand firm about the way they keep the joeys, saying it is the correct way and given the correct food and treatment. I once brought a 2 month OOP joey to them, and they told me my joey is not 2 months but 4 months old….. Gosh, they really do not know about joey age. They will say those that they sell(those tiny underage ones) are 2 months old and I got cheated by getting a 4 month old as a 2 month old joey. Insane….. To me, with that answer, it shows just how ignorant they are.

Photos from KJ

Look at these photos, this time it is not just joeys but adults. The adult gliders are not tame, mainly wild caught and sold with the sold purpose as breeding animals. What are they fed? Well, dried dogfood, apples and sunflower seeds. Such a fattening diet and it is really bad for gliders since the dogfood is the low quality type and sunflower seeds can cause intestinal blockage. The gliders are only given food troughs as hiding or sleeping boxes, exposing them to light. Every few days, the gliders are taken out of the shop and are showered with a hose, later dried off under the sun as if they were stuffed toys. Gliders are nocturnal so imagine how much the gliders actually suffer.

Those small bird cages house breeding pairs with joeys. They are given mainly a coconut hide and a food and water bowl. No climbing material or any toys for them to play with, just a small cage to make them breed.

Where do all these underage joeys come from? Well, from unethical suppliers of course! Due to the huge demand, suppliers are trying to maximize breeding. As hobbyist breeders, our gliders only breed twice a year, sometimes 3 times depending on their health, diet and environment. These suppliers are squeezing out 4 to 5 breedings a year. How do they do this? By separating the joey before it is properly weaned, the breeding gliders would have the urge to breed again because by nature, as soon as a joey is out of pouch and leaves the female, the gliders would then have the urge to breed again. These suppliers have about 200 to 800 breeding individual gliders, supplying joeys to pet shops that have the demand.

We can stop such suppliers and also such pet shops by just getting joeys or gliders from proper breeders. If we stop this kind of heartless sales, more gliders would stay safe. We should always aim to get proper aged joeys, which are 8 weeks OOP, never any younger.

Beware of suppliers and commercial sellers, beware of most pet shops. Do your research and you will be able to get a healthy joey.