Bonding with sugar gliders can be work. It’s not for everyone. These animals are exotics and not yet fully domesticated, so they do retain much of their wild ways. Sugar gliders are creatures of habit and each one handles stress differently. Rarely do they come to a new home happy to see the new owner. They will be very scared as we have changed many things for them in a short period of time. If male, they are sent to the vet’s office with strangers for a day for a neuter. They are separated from the parents and introduced to a brand new friend. They travel to you, leaving me, their parents and the home they have always known and felt secure in.
When they get to you, you will not be me. They are smart enough to know different people. You will need to take time working with them to form your very own trust bond with them. Your home will smell different to them, the people will be different, and there may be new sounds, smells and other pets they are not used to. It’s very terrifying for them.
Most sugar gliders arrive at a new home on the defensive. A scared glider can crab, lunge and even bite. All gliders handle stress differently, so I cannot give you a time frame on when the trust bond will be achieved. It will depend on the glider, and your level of patience in getting them there. I can give you hints and work with you through this time, but you must be willing to put in the work.
Some gliders may only take a few weeks to form a full trust bond, others, may take months. You must let them work with you at their pace, or it will not work. Sugar gliders are not instant gratification pets by any means. It’s important to me that you understand this. Often times, people do not read what I give them and get angry with me when they are not satisfied with the performance of the pet. They are only going to put in as much work as you do.
I also never recommend sugar gliders as pets for small children. The younger kids do not usually understand that sugar gliders are not fond of loud noises and sudden movements. The gliders may bond with you and older kids may understand this, but sugar gliders should never be purchased as a pet solely for a small child. The diet is also a bit complex, and a small child would not understand how to do this properly. Older children, under the supervision of the parents, often have success, but only if the child is supervising.
Sugar gliders are not for everyone. They are by no means “instant gratification” pets. But if you are patient and put in the work, the rewards will be great. I want you to be happy, and I want the animals to be happy too. I am here to guide you, but you must be willing to listen and put in the time.
Your best tools will be:
- A Bonding Pouch-good for daytime when the gliders are sleepy. In the evening, they are very much wide awake with a lot of energy, and may very well get annoyed at being placed in this. I do carry a wide variety of bonding pouches in my web store.
- A Bonding Tent-can be used day or night. A must for evening or night time bonding when they are really active and ready to go. If you think on their terms, the tent is going to be more like a safe cage. We bring toys and treats and ourselves inside. In their minds, it is as though we are in a large cage with them, so in time, they start to think of us as cage-mates. There are many inexpensive types available at Amazon. Make sure they zipper up, you and others can be comfortable, and the gliders cannot escape it.
- Treats-The way to calm the savage beast, is to have good treats with you. It can help build your bridge of acceptance, by offering them tasty goodies, too good to resist. In my store, you will find a good range of treats that I have used with success. From mini marshmallows, coconut, and dried fruits and veggies. Mealworms and bugs are good too, but make sure they are coming from a good source. I do have contacts, so you can feel free to ask.
- A Dish Towel-When your gliders are not yet bonded with you, this is going to be your best friend. They are not always going to willingly come to you when it’s time to go back or if they escape. The dish towel is about the right size can be used to throw over the top of an escaped glider, so you do not have to worry about hurting the animal, or getting bit yourself.
- Love and Patience– These two things are extremely important. Without them, your bond with your sugar gliders may never form. Put yourselves into their shoes. You are a big and loud person who may eat them. They have just come into your home and are missing their parents and me. You and your home smell different than mine. You may have other pets that they have never seen before who are scary. There may be sounds they have never heard before. They are terrified and they will always be afraid of you, if you do not let them bond with you at their pace. Not everyone can do this. These two things are extremely important. I ask you (for the good of the animals) to please reconsider your purchase. When I have to take animals back because a family didn’t read the advise or understand fully what they are getting themselves into, it can take me months or even a year to get them back to where they were in terms of trusting humans again.