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#1380998 - 10/31/14 12:59 PM Biting and Hand Feeding
Raelea Offline
Out of Pouch

Registered: 10/31/14
Posts: 42
Loc: Alberta, Canada
HI, I'm new here. I recently got two baby girl gliders from the same breeder. They're about 10 weeks oop now.
They seem to like me okay, they come to the front of the cage to see me whenever they're awake. My biggest concern is that they've started biting me, all the time. One will jump from the cage onto my shirt or hop up onto the back of my hand and any exposed skin she finds she bites. The other isn't as forward but will walk up to me in the cage and bite my hand hard! They've both drawn blood, the second more than the first. Once one of them leaped from across the cage onto the back of my hand as I was placing food in the cage and bit so hard I couldn't get her to let go! They don't seem afraid, they don't run away or crab at me. I always wear long sleeves and I've tried washing with unscented soap first. What I'm hoping to figure out is:

a) is this normal behavior, is it something they'll grow out of like puppies who chew? Everything I've read says that gliders will hardly ever bite but I can't do anything without them biting me.

b) should I hand feed them so they have something else to chew on besides my skin or should I avoid hand feeding to not form a bad habit.
They're more than happy to take food out of my hand or sit on me and munch fruit but I'm concerned that they'll continue biting forever if I don't always give them treats or that they'll bite anybody else who lets them climb on them or plays with them.

Please help. I'm so worried that this is going to be a life long thing and that in under two weeks I've managed to teach them this awful habit.


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#1381006 - 10/31/14 02:06 PM Re: Biting and Hand Feeding [Re: Raelea]
Terry Online   grin
Glider Addict

Registered: 04/29/12
Posts: 4834
Loc: Maryland
Hey again, good questions.

I've never had joeys, so I can't say it's a phase or not, but usually biting is either of these three reasons: fear, testing, and warning.

Fear biting is usually fierce and done because they've not had enough interaction with big humans and they are terrified (I learned this was the case with my Lulu).

Testing, well it's just testing, could be testing you, could be tasting you, not really sure what all the reasons, but these can be from light nips to seriously hard biting (my experience). This should diminish over time, or at least lighten up on occurrence and intensity as they establish their relationship with you (building trust and becoming familiar) usually.

Warning, is again just warning, they will sometimes nip, usually light once relationship is established, some may nip harder, but probably don't realize their biting hard, or maybe really upset, can't really know for sure. If you try to handle them when they don't want to be, or they don't like how you're handling them, they will warn you with a nip, their way of saying "stop, I don't like that". This will usually not change over time, but may be more rare as your relationship develops.

One last one I didn't include is because I don't consider it biting, it's actually scraping their teeth which is done during grooming in combination with licks or just an occasional scrape, it's not pleasant, but the licking part is quite sweet.
Lives with:
1 God
1 dog, (Willow)
3 Sugies, (Ollie, Lulu, & Skadoosh)

#1381011 - 10/31/14 02:45 PM Re: Biting and Hand Feeding [Re: Raelea]
Raelea Offline
Out of Pouch

Registered: 10/31/14
Posts: 42
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Thanks Terry,
They don't seem afraid, they come to the front of the cage when I'm in the room, when I open the door they're right there, climbing out and on me.
The first and only thing they do is bite me sometimes really hard! They'll stand up and stretch out to get close enough to bite. One will climb up on the back of my hand to bite. One was eating a piece of fruit while sitting on my hand and casually leaned over and bit me then went back to her fruit. Like I mentioned before one leaped across the cage just to bite me. I'm just not sure how I should proceed. Should I stop hand feeding them so they don't associate my hand with food. Should I give them space and more time to get used to me?

#1381033 - 10/31/14 05:31 PM Re: Biting and Hand Feeding [Re: Raelea]
Feather Offline

Registered: 01/19/08
Posts: 11939
Loc: Wisconsin
I would back off a bit on the speed that your trying to bond with them. Offer them treats from the other side of the bars for now so they can't reach out and take a bite.

There are several good articles on bonding in the forum for you to read. This one is by far the best: Building a Relationship with your Glider
Feathers-Sweetie, Sklyar Blue, Mister Peanut, Big Mack & Ibo
Fur-Widget, Guinan, Mr. Spock, T'Mir, Micheal, Stevie, Cho & :bb: T'Pol, Elizabeth & Curzon :wfb: TY, TJ & T'Pring :rtmo: O'Ryan :leu:
Forever in my heart, Gizmo, Tucker and the rest of my babies over the :rbridge:

#1382108 - 11/13/14 08:28 AM Re: Biting and Hand Feeding [Re: Raelea]
annabanana Offline
In Pouch

Registered: 11/03/14
Posts: 33
Loc: medina ohio
i read the above forum and it completely changed my out look...i understood their utter fear so i backed off. i have only had them 1 wk...first few days was all about escape and biting with no sign of of going away....then i read this.

i didnt put them in a pouch to carry them around all day...they just arnt ready 700 times their size....and they have know me only a week.

i just started waking them about noon...when i feed my dogs their apple for lunch i take 2 slices for my girls...i wake them up and hand them an apple...say some soft sweet words and leave them in their nest with a blanket over them and the apple.....when they wake in the evening there is nothing left of the apple lol

i am handing them their food...piece by piece but not holding it for them....just giving it to them and petting their heads while they eat and then just leaving them alone....also putting the dogs to bed early about 8pm to make my girls more comfortable to come out

its been only a week... but now they r coming out and sitting in my hand and eating....they r stilling trying to bit just a hand them a piece of food in each hand....they r so busy and hands full they cant bite me....when i see they are almost done i put my arm back in the cage and just let them climb off....just doing this for a few days has made a huge difference...

this morning i got up and went to say good night to them...i reach my hand in...give them a quick petting and go.. well this morning after i did that....the one "freya" came out to say hello...she came out of the cage and she let me pet her and hold her...NO BITES....she crawled on me for a minute and i let her back into her cage...and then the most heart warming thing happened....the other one "nessa" the more skiddish one...the more frightened one....popped her head out of the up...came over to the edge...climbed on me....i kissed her and she went back to bed!!!!! it was amazing!

and im learning quickly they r NOT like dogs...they r like CATS....its their way...and u are along for the ride...and if they dont like something....their little nails and teeth will let you know....just like a cat!..if u have a cat u will understand...if not...just understand they r in charge lol

#1382126 - 11/13/14 12:14 PM Re: Biting and Hand Feeding [Re: annabanana]
Terry Online   grin
Glider Addict

Registered: 04/29/12
Posts: 4834
Loc: Maryland
I'm glad to hear that things are getting better. Keep to their pace, and you will gain their trust more and more.
Lives with:
1 God
1 dog, (Willow)
3 Sugies, (Ollie, Lulu, & Skadoosh)

#1382149 - 11/13/14 07:28 PM Re: Biting and Hand Feeding [Re: Raelea]
GliderNursery Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/14/07
Posts: 20049
Loc: North Central Ohio
clap Love hearing the progress! Understanding them makes a world of difference. smile

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