The Pet Glider Tips for Bonding
This information will help you to make your little gliders feel more comfortable with you and their new home.
So, You Have New Little Gliders
When you get your new gliders home:
Let them rest the first day or two to acclimate to their new surroundings. Remember, no two gliders are the same, and they each have their own unique personalities. They’ve just left their families; mom, dad and siblings and can be scared to be away from home. Crabbing means they are scared. Eye contact is not a problem with gliders, however little babies can react sometimes. This should only be the first day or two, if the baby reacts to eye contact, just avoid eye contact until he feels comfortable, after that it is just fine to have eye contact. It’s kind of like a shy child. They will probably be scared from their trip and they are without their family which was their security. For the first two days, put a shirt you have worn in the cage with them. The gliders will snuggle into your shirt and get used to your smell.
Never put your fingers up to their mouths or faces. Handle them pretending your hands are mittens, closed fingers. Never grab them, let them get on your glider shirt sleeve, a long-sleeved denim shirt with collar and pockets. Instead of grabbing them, scoop them so that they don’t feel threatened. Keep your fingers away from their faces
If you handle them this way you should never get bitten and they won’t develop a bad habit. Never allow your glider to bite you. Keep your fingers away from their mouths so they don’t bite out of fear. If you let them bite you biting will become a habit with them. Just remember, a scared little glider can nip. Move very slowly and talk very gently. However, it is good to keep them in the most active room in the house so that they get use to noises and voices and feel a part of the family. They will settle and become a part of your family very quickly. It is quite normal for a baby to be scared in a new environment.
Best advice: Take them out during the day or early evening while they are still in their sleeping pouch. Put their pouch on a counter top or flat surface. Start feeding them live large mealworms while they are still in their pouch; do not take them out unless they walk out. Once they start eating and becoming absorbed in what they are doing reach in slowly with your hand flat, along the side of the pouch, then open your hand and start petting their backs and just continue to do this. They will get use to your smell and your touch and they should be just fine. Do this consistently every day. Your new sugar glider is already tame, so your patience will allow your sugar glider the necessary time to get to know and trust you. It won’t take long. Love and patience with your new little glider. Once they’ve “bonded” to you, life will become so fun and entertaining for years.
Teaching your glider to ride on your shoulders.
First let him/her get acclimated to their cage. Then practice the bonding information above. When your glider knows who you are, scoop him up to you and let him walk up to your shoulders. If you keep walking and nothing scares him, he should stay on your shoulders. At first you might want to keep your hand on him, petting him while he is on your shoulders. If you stop walking, he will want to glide because he is a glider. So, the best place to stop is in front of his cage. Have the door open so you can direct him inside. Then leave your arm in the open door of the cage. When he gets back on your arm back up and walk him around again. This is how you teach him to come to you.
Tips to help stop biting
Any scared little glider can bite. He may be insecure from just leaving mom and dad or be scared because he is in a new home environment. Biting can become a habit, so it is best not to let biting get started. Try not to let your glider bite or nibble.
An easy trick is to keep their mouth busy with yummy treats like healthy live mealworms. Something that also works well is to dip your finger in vanilla or fruit flavored yogurt. With your hand palm side up, slowly approach the glider with your finger below the height of their head. If they attempt to bite, they will get a mouth full of yogurt and will then start licking. Only put your finger in front of their face if you have a yogurt treat for them, or a live mealie. This will teach your glider your approach is always positive.
If they are trying to bite you, say (don’t yell) a breathy no close to their face. After a few of these they will turn their head when your finger is there. Remember to always be gentle, you want to discourage them but never scare them. Never introduce negative actions with your glider or he will associate something bad happening when you are around. Try to make all interactions positive, even if your glider is a bit negative. Positive reinforcement will encourage positive bonding.
Gliders tend to “go on the go”. You should be prepared for small accidents, but you can prevent some. When you first wake up, you go to the bathroom. Gliders are no different. Once you are bonded and you recognize this, you can find a way to allow them to potty, so you can enjoy your glider for a while without accident concerns. One way is to put them on top of their cage when you first pull them out. Lifting the tail slightly will encourage the release. I have known of one person to get them out of the pouch and hold them over a sink, while lifting the tail and rubbing the cloaca. Remember, repetition is key. Any action repeated will be learned. If you’d like more information on this, please ask us for our article on potty training.
The best way to bond with your gliders is with interaction. Gliders love to play. They pounce like cats. Wiggle a feather in front of them and watch them jump on it. Tie a thin strip of fleece fabric on the end of your finger and wiggle the fleece. Play with your gliders in a glider proof room. Or get a mesh tent to have tent time with your gliders. Put glider toys in the tent with you. Don’t use a bathroom for play time as that will be the first place your gliders will go if they accidently get out of their cage. (Always keep the toilet lid down as a precaution. Gliders can drown if they fall in.) Gliders love to play with plastic bracelet rings, wiffle balls (plastic balls with holes), natural cork and eucalyptus toys. you can even use a drinking straw you twist through a pencil sharpener. Use your imagination. Finding out what you both like to play with is part of the fun.
If you learn some new trick with your own glider, please write and share them with us!
Please remember no glider should live alone, always keep them in pairs or more. Having a glider friend to play glider games with at night after you go to bed, and a glider friend to snuggle with and groom them during the day, will keep them happy. A happy pet makes a great pet!