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#1211176 - 01/02/12 03:20 AM Cage size in Sweden is regulated by law
Gabriela Offline
New Member

Registered: 07/30/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Sweden
hello everybody!

since sugar gliders are getting more and more popular in Sweden and I know that Swedes are also browsing this forum, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight that housing regulations in Sweden are rather restrictive and that cage size, among others, is regulated by law.

to sum it up, minimum cage / enclosure size for sugar gliders if you live in Sweden are:
minimum area: 4 square meters (= about 43 square feet)
minimum height: 2,2 meters (=7 ' and 2.61 ")

you may find further details and references in the topic titled Law in Sweden in the section on Laws and Regulations.

For illustration, I've attached a picture of how my enclosure looked like in March 2011. There have been a lot of changes since then, and the cage has been expanded even further.


Attachments
Cage March 2011.jpg (54 downloads)


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#1211196 - 01/02/12 07:57 AM Re: Cage size in Sweden is regulated by law [Re: Gabriela]
DCMuffin Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 03/21/10
Posts: 28206
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro Area
This is great to know. Thanks for the info!
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#1211222 - 01/02/12 10:01 AM Re: Cage size in Sweden is regulated by law [Re: Gabriela]
CandyOtte Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 09/03/08
Posts: 5138
Loc: Lutz Florida
Believe it or not, Florida has (unless it has been changed in the last 3 years, I did not recheck the statutes) a law requiring a minimum cage size of 4 feet x 4 feet x 4 feet or the equivalent. It is one on those laws that no one seems to enforce - including the USDA doing breeder inspections.

I wrote the Division of Fish & Wildlife a couple of years ago inquiring about this and they never bothered to reply to my letter. I pointed out that such a cage would be unmanageable for most owners because 1) a cage that size would not be movable through most doors to be taken outside for cleaning and 2) there are few if any available cages that meet those size requirements.
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#1211241 - 01/02/12 10:56 AM Re: Cage size in Sweden is regulated by law [Re: Gabriela]
lilangels Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 02/22/11
Posts: 3745
Loc: Butte, Mt. USA
wow gabriella that cage is amazing. IS it an outside cage? I can't even imagine having to have cages that tall or 4'x4'x4'. That does not even seem like something you could actually have in a house much less have more than one of. I guess you would be required to keep all gliders in one cage or never have more than 2.
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#1211262 - 01/02/12 11:27 AM Re: Cage size in Sweden is regulated by law [Re: Gabriela]
IslandGliders Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 08/29/10
Posts: 4182
Loc: Maine
That is mind boggling. Those are some HUGE cages! Geez, it makes me glad that the laws, while obviously written in the gliders' best interest, aren't here in the U.S. because I don't have the space for more than one of those mammoth enclosures!

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#1211289 - 01/02/12 12:43 PM Re: Cage size in Sweden is regulated by law [Re: Gabriela]
wildlifeangel Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1414
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
WOW... that looks more like a Zoo enclosure than a pet cage! I can't even imagine trying to clean something like that for them!

Although... I do know that mine would have a BLAST running and playing in there...
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#1211507 - 01/03/12 01:44 AM Re: Cage size in Sweden is regulated by law [Re: Gabriela]
Gabriela Offline
New Member

Registered: 07/30/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Sweden
thank you everyone for your feedback and for what I take as a compliment!

I will try to reply to you and all the issues that surfaced above.
To make it more readable, I will discussed the legal aspects first (why so large enclosures and what's with all that wood in there, and do people really need to comply with this law)

1. WHY SO LARGE? first of all, as wildlifeangel guessed, and as I explained in more detail in the other thread that focuses on the actual provisions, unlike other countries where sugar gliders are regarded as pet animals, in Sweden they are not comprised in the law concerning pet animal keeping. Instead, they fall under the animal park / zoo regulations. although sugar gliders are allowed in private keeping, they are to be seen as hobby animals and owners have to comply with the same regulations as zoos. in other words, keeping sugar gliders is not prohibited, but in practice is very close to that, due to the challenges you need to face if you are to comply with the law.

2. WHY ALL THE WOOD? beside cage size, another aspect that is clearly stated by the law (keep in mind that it's zoo legislation) is that cage shaping has to promote an animal's natural behaviors. In the case of sugar gliders we talk about colony life, gliding, gum feeding... among others. I admit it - it's been a huge challenge to live up to this requirement as I was building my enclosure. and it's been a huge documentation effort to find proper materials - non-toxic woods, ecological products and so forth - but I did learn a lot in the process and I guess the sugar gliders approved it too smile

3. WHAT IF YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT IT? this is mostly answering to CandyOtte's observation and comparison with Florida.
as you describe for Florida, it's pretty much the same in Sweden, that most sugar gliders are kept in smaller enclosures. a very popular solution is to take a closet and reshape it into a cage. however, this is not necessarily the result of people not wanting to comply with the law or of animal inspectors and animal police closing their eyes on it. it's rather the consequence of not being informed of the law - it's a pretty recent law, enforced in 2004.
if you don't care about the legislation, you run the risk of being reported to the Municipality or to the police. Reporting can be done anonymously to the municipality, and pictures posted on the internet or a witness statements are enough. (I know it sounds a bit as a witch hunt). And believe it or not - this happens, actually! I know of one recent case, that resulted in the owner having to build the mammoth! I know of many examples in the past (involving though other species under the same regulations), where the owners could not afford providing such an enclosure. The alternatives are - find a zoo / proper enclosure or euthanasia. Pretty nasty, I suppose frown Now, luckily, the time you are given to correct the enclosure, in the case you are reported and inspected is not 1 month (as it is the case with pet animals), but you can enjoy similar privileges as zoos.

4. WHAT CAN BE DONE? I am actually preparing now a letter to the Agricultural board, in which I try to present the situation and suggest a form of dispensation, especially for those that only intend to keep 2 sugar gliders instead of a colony - that's the average owner also here, in Sweden.
there was a precedent with pygmy hedgehogs, were the minimum enclosure size (100 square meters = 1076 square feet) valid for zoos was reduced to a minimum of 20 square meters (=215 square feet) for private keeping.
however, african pygmy hedgehogs are far more popular than sugar gliders in Sweden (compare a few thousands hedgehogs to a couple of hundreds of sugar gliders), so I guess it'll take time till a similar dispensation will see the light in the case of sugar gliders.
Unlike the case described above by CandyOtte, the Swedish Agricultural Board does respond with much promptitude to letters, emails and phonecalls, and I do have reasons to dare to hope that I will be taken seriously

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#1211508 - 01/03/12 02:17 AM Re: Cage size in Sweden is regulated by law [Re: Gabriela]
Gabriela Offline
New Member

Registered: 07/30/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Sweden
reply no. 2 - practical issues: cleaning, taking out, moving, how many gliders

first of all, to reply to lilangels - it's an indoor cage, actually. according to law, sugar gliders shall be housed indoors all year long (Swedish climate is not very glider friendly I suppose :))

cleaning and moving go actually hand in hand and, in building the cage, we considered these issues from the very beginning and tried to find a way to incorporate that in the building. and our solution included water and fireproofing of the outer shell, and modules. all the walls - external and internal, but also the roof and the floor are built as modules.
cleaning the enclosure may take half a day, including removing walls and accessories.
i am using Virkon S for disinfecting items ( here you can find more on this product), but I am also using a steam cleaner.

In the beginning I was concerned with the wood absorbing the pee and secretions, and that I will have to change those periodically. but to my surprise, that's not really happening. but I do clean the most exposed areas on a daily basis (areas around the feeding station) or weekly basis (doors and areas around it). these are the areas where most peeing is happening, since the gliders, as soon as they wake up (when moonlight is turned on), pay a first visit to the feeding table or come to greet me at the doors.

how many gliders? paradoxically, this aspect is not regulated by the law - so basically a colony. I have 7 in that enclosure (a former breeding pair and their offsprings in different ages) and now I have completed an adjacent enclosure that is half the size of the first one which I will be using for re-introductions. it's 3 sugar glider girls that moved from me 6 months ago. unfortunately, after the first months of peaceful co-habitation with her first girl, they began fighting so I had to take them back a few weeks ago. as crazy as it sounds, she's left now with 1 glider and a huge cage.

I am approaching this re-introduction with great skepticism. if it will work, there will be one large cage. if not, we are prepared to move it all to another room where we can build an enclosure that is double that size - pretty crazy, I know. and I reckon that my friends foresee that we'll be moving in tents, out on the porch, while the gliders will take over the house smile
well, I think I have to accept it - I too have a form of glideritis (I noticed this is how you call it around here). so, please, add me to the collection smile

I've attached a new picture, this time from the inside. please, feel free to comment, any kind of feedback is most welcome and I am eager to learn from you, and also from my mistakes.


Attachments
July 2011.jpg (10 downloads)


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