Safe Sleeping

Sugar glider's that live freely in the wild, usually choose a hollowed out tree as their nesting place.  In captivity, that is a tough thing to duplicate so we need other alternatives for their safety and enrichment.

pouches are the most favored, but there are a few things regarding pouches that must be considered to avoid injury/accidents.  Loose strings and improper stitching are the leading cause of most of these accidents/deaths.  Checking all pouches daily, and replacing worn pouches immediately will help reduce these incidents.  In addition, there are a few other suggestions for safety.   Fleece is currently the most common and safest fabric being used, since fleece does not fray on the ends causing loose strings.  The higher quality of fleece will last longer than the less expensive.  pouches should be lined inside not allowing exposed seams, and stitches tight.  Examine the loops that hold the hardware for attaching to the cage also, and avoid anything like cording/rope.  Fleece allows a little "give" should a glider's nail get stuck, allowing them to get free more often than not.   Cotton and flannel fray terribly, and should be avoided as lining. Using pinking shears to cut cotton/flannel, will help the fraying issue between layers.  Should a glider's nail catch on these fabric choices, there is no "give", and far greater chance of the nail getting entangled.  Faux fur and sherpa are other fabrics to avoid.  The  advantage of pouches are they can breathe and absorb, and are easily replaceable.

You must be overly cautious with the glider that digs if using fabric sleeping pouches.  They are known to chew or dig to get inside the lining of the pouch and thus trapped inside. Adding fleece blankets to the pouch will sometimes help. Choosing another option such as a nestbox or chin house may be better for you and your glider.  A specially designed unlined pouch is another option, but again, you must be very vigilent with these digger's.  

As with any fabric product for glider's, nails MUST BE MAINTAINED for the greatest safety, as well as the health of you glider.

Other options for sleeping include wooden nestboxes.  Be sure the proper type wood has been used, and the proper sealing of the wood has been done.  Ventilation holes on the bottom on the nestbox are also important.    Improper choices can be toxic to your glider.   A glider that chews alot may not do well with a wooden nestbox.  Ingestion and or slivers of wood in the mouth are possible.  Boxes should be cleaned often to avoid odor and waste build up inside, since sealed wood cannot absorb urine.   The advantages of a nestbox are longevity and permanence.

Chin houses are another option. Some advantages are they are inexpensive and readily available at most pet stores.  They can be lined with fleece to provide a safe bedding.  The disadvantage to using plastic is there is no absorption inside and they must be cleaned often. Drilling ventilation holes in the bottom may help. Another possibility is humidty buildup inside since plastic cannot "breathe".  Glider's tend to not like them unfortunately. 

When choosing what is best for your glider and yourself, buyer beware.  There are many safe products available, as well as unsafe.  Research what works best for you and your glider. 

Karin

12/16/07 - Edited to add:
"Edible" Huts which are made for small rodents can also be hazardous to gliders. Some of them are made with Pine in them. Pine is highly toxic to gliders and can cause death. Make sure that Pine is not one of the ingredients if you choose to purchase an "Edible" Hut for your gliders.

Suz


Edited by sugarglidersuz (12/16/07 08:25 AM)
Edit Reason: to add "Edible" Huts