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#50407 - 07/06/05 09:09 AM Wild vs. captive diet.
Anonymous
Unregistered


[:"blue"]Another thread on a different topic brought up the question of whether or not captive animal diets should model wild diets; i.e. recreate the diet of the animal in question, in its native habitat.

I think we should, with IMPROVEMENTS due to captive circumstances, and this is why:

1. It is what the best zoos, universities and rehabilitation centers do for all animals. Around the world, the accepted standard for proper captive animal husbandry has advanced to the point that professional animal care-takers and facilities spend millions of dolors on the food and habitat of their charges, trying to mimic their native ranges as closely as possible. They have seen correlated increases in health, longevity, breeding, and quality of life (gauged by behavioral responses to stress) since making these changes. Those zoos etc. that are trying to save whole species from extinction through breeding in captivity have greatly improved their success when they considered these factors as part of their overall plan (think Panda). They have come a long way since the days of animal cracker concrete cells and dog kibble diets, we should not ignore over 100 years of animal science research into captive animal diet and environmental enrichment.

2. Except for having no predators, it is actually MORE stressful on our suggies to be in captivity than in the wild. This means they need more nutrition than in the wild, not less, and it needs to be suited to their needs, not our own. As much as I like to think they're happy here, if we really face facts, I think they have more to deal with in houses:
(a) They have less space: even those who have a room to themselves don't have the 10 meters square territory that a single dominant Sugar Glider male has on average in the wild. And most (like mine) don't have a whole room, and must deal with a cage around 36" x 30" x 18. This limits their movement, doesn't allow them to get away from each other for a night or two after a fight (they do in the wild) and just being visibly (bars/screen) confined causes stress in animals.
(b) Those that breed: do it 2-3 times more per year than their wild counterparts, & have their joeys taken away at a minimum of 8 weeks OOP (or, you can think of it as "are taken away from their parents at 8 weeks OOP")whereas in the wild populations, they stay until 1 year (for boys) and 1-2 (for girls) years old before they disperse, if they even leave , as many females don't. (c) They have to deal with us. We are huge and scary! (at least at first) and so are our homes, other pets, sights, sounds, smells...you name it! Think back to the early stages of your relationship with your babies; they were most likely terrified, crabbing, and lunging, and running away, with their little chests heaving with every pounding heartbeat. This is STRESS! Now, after weeks or months of bonding, we're momma/daddy, mine come when I click and jump to me for safety, but they didn't always, and some of them (not many, thank goodness!), for whatever reason, never get used to humans and live their whole lives in stress and fear.
(d) They get bored. Their high intelligence is used in the wild to hunt, escape and survive, in captivity these functions are taken care of for them, leaving them with tons of skill and nothing to do with it. This leaves them no outlet to their frustration, which may result in SM, agression, depression and death.
(e) They live in smaller colonies, with less interaction with other gliders. Average in our houses is around 2/cage, while in the wild they are known to be 1-2 males, 1-4 females and young, all together, 7+ to an average group.

3. They adapted for millions of years to the sources of nutrition (including seasonal availability) in their native ranges, you don't just toss that aside in less than 2 decades. Cats and dogs have been living with humans for THOUSANDS of years, and we're still figuring them out. Sugar Gliders have been pets in the US for only about 12 years! Wild diets cannot be dismissed as "just what they had to choose from". It is more than just coincidence, they have survived for millenia on those foods, and their bodies have evolved to deal with those resources specifically. Some captive diets using native food sources, they don't even know yet what element/molecule/compound it is exactly that the animal needs, and gets, from its natural foodstuffs, they only know that without it they do poorly.

4. We should credit the experience of those zoos etc. that have been caring for them for over 50 years, they should not be dismissed lightly. No matter how long someone has had Suggies as pets, these organizations have had them as charges much longer. They all (as far as I could find) use some slight variation of the protocol the Queensland zoo uses, which incorperates native plants and insects along with Ledbeatter's nectar mix and some fruits. Even the very succesful BML diet is adapted from these very sources, with substitutions made to compensate for lack of supplies, but now all of the supplies ARE available to follow the original, unmodified ledbeatter's with an aproximate australian diet. I showed where to get them in my "Dr. Johnson-Delany Glider diet Shocker!" thread, but that one's really long, so feel free to PM me if you'd like those resources. Most veterinarians quoted here on GC and in the literature I have agree with these methods. While I realize "expert" is a dirty word on GC, I still feel that turning away from this wealth of information would be foolish.

5.One of the specific comments in the other thread for suggie diet was the substitution of chicken for bugs, as a protein source. Dealing with an issue your species has dealt with for eons is a better bet than dealing with a risk they never dealt with and so have developed no defense against.For example, I'd rather that my gilders eat bugs and "risk" getting exoskeleton stuck in their teeth, (which none of mine have, and the study I have says it actually helps their teeth and gums, like hard chews for dogs) and mites, which have always been on insects, than risk exposing them to antibiotics, growth hormones, and salmonella from chicken, not to mention high added NaCl (sodium) used as a preservative in some babyfoods. E. coli and salmonella are not factors on the prey that gliders catch in the wild, b/c they caught and killed it just moments before; these pathogens grow to dangerous levels only after death and are the result of slaughter and storage of meat over time. Organic DOES NOT mean free of these dangers, it is about the process, not the product. Gliders have been eating bugs forever, they have no such history with man-made chemical dangers.

6. "Probably not" is better than "almost certainly". There are probably not enough pesticides on moths (at least in my area) to harm my gliders, even if they eat 1 every day in the summer. There were almost certainly pesticides on the food that was fed to the chickens, and the overall conditions of chicken production are disgusting (I have an uncle who worked at one in Pennsylvania, yuck!)and so I wouldn't eat it, why would I give it to my babies? I can let my mealies morph into beetles in the winter (anyone that's unsure about their wild insects can do it year-round, and add crickets for variety), and that gives my suggies adult insects year-round. Also, cooking meat changes its properties, it is an advancement for animals like us, who want to kill their food now and eat it way later, without risking food-borne illness. There is no bar-b-q in the wild, its raw baby! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

7. They get mental/behavioral benefits, not just digestive, from these diet components. They hunt moths instinctivly leaping and chasing them all over the tent, even those that have never even seen one know just how to catch & eat them, from the first time. They forage in the flowers I give them for nectar & pollen, they build lovenests out of the eucalyptus leaves. Giving them these things serves the same kind of purpose that tents, toys, and wheels serve, but in a way those toys never could. It gives them a slice of the old world, the world of their ancestors, and mine are just nuts about going native <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/roflmao.gif" alt="" />!

Having said all that, it's not that I think everything should be just like the wild, that's ludacris and impossible, and dangerous: they are eaten by owls, pythons and cats in the wild, 2 out of 3 of these I have as pets, but you won't catch me letting them "play" together! I just think that those parts we CAN approximate with reasonable security, (I have said before that nothing we do is really safe, only "mostly" so) we should, for all of the above reasons.

I know there may be passionate responses to this post, please keep in mind it isn't making anyone wrong, it is only bringing in my perspective, as BOTH a biologist AND Glider-Slave! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" />

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#50408 - 07/06/05 09:51 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I say GGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MARLA! Good post!!!!

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#50409 - 07/06/05 10:16 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I love your post!! It actually made me sad, though. I love having animals, but I always feel so guilty that they live in cages. It makes me feel selfish to have them at all, but I do understand that my pets were born into captivity, and if I didn't have them, someone else would.

I think it is so funny that some people are overly worried about pesticides on bugs and plants found outside. YES, I am aware that there is a possibility, but come on! There is poison on EVERYTHING!! All the food in BML mix is tainted, right? Even the air is becoming poisionous. It is not the end of the world to catch a bug from your yard and feed it to your pets. I think the benefits are outstanding--suggies get the chance to hunt, chase, and play! Some people are trying very hard to push the maximum life span onto their suggies. They miss the fact that the little guys should Enjoy their lives!

We know that eating hamburgers, hotdogs, ice cream, cake, etc. is unhealthy, but we do it because we still want to enjoy life a little. The same goes for our pets. I do not live in a place where pesticides are sprayed (like the fruit and vegetable fields where we get our produce that we then feed to ourselves and our pets!) I do not feel that feeding wild insects to my pets is any less harmful than feeding them the chicken baby food in the BML mix!

Thank you for posting your view on sugar glider diets. I wish there were a diet that was very close to the wild sugar glider diet. I know I would feed it! For now, my only problem is--how in the world do I catch a moth?


Becky

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#50410 - 07/06/05 12:29 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/agree.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/yelclap.gif" alt="" />

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#50411 - 07/06/05 02:16 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Great Post! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/multi.gif" alt="" />

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#50412 - 07/06/05 03:48 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


One could almost use this post as an argument against keeping sugar gliders (or any exotic animal) as a pet.

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#50413 - 07/06/05 04:29 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


One could use this post as an argument against keeping almost any animal in captivity--Fish, small rodents, horses, etc. I'm sure no animal enjoys to have humans tell them what to do, lol! I think some pet keepers (myself included) love animals so much that we just have to own them. Even though we treat our pets like family, we do know that they would probably be happier in the wild. I let my birds out to play every day, and just built them a huge 6 foot tall cage, but I know they would be happier flying freely in the wild. Same goes for my suggies! I know I am selfish for keeping pets, and I do feel sad sometimes:o(

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#50414 - 07/06/05 04:43 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Badgersmommy Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 04/30/05
Posts: 1382
Loc: Kentucky
Badger is nervous ..he wants to know if he can still keep his red fleece sleep cube! *sniff* <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/upset.gif" alt="" />(eucalyptus makes him sneeze...and me too!) LOL oh...and he says he's keeping his teddy bear, swing, hammock, feathers, wodent wheel, apple and corn dishes...and and ...(that's enuff mommy says you can keep everything) hehe Seriously, though, I've thought the same thing about the insects outside..and a bright light will bring plenty of moths! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumb.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Glider Kids - Badger and Bonnie, Pepsi and Grace, Victoria.. ahem..I mean ummm..Victor! and Isabella <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#50415 - 07/06/05 06:05 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Charlie H Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 11/13/03
Posts: 1659
Loc: Wallis Texas
Marla you went to a lot of work to present your opinions but I cannot say I agree with your logic on many points. I will not dissect your post but think about this. You are saying that chicken is contaminated because of the feed they receive. A variation of the same feed is fed to meal worms and insects. The food you feed your worms and insects has been subjected to the same pesticides that you claim contaminates the chicken. Plus there is always a danger of mold being present in the bedding of insects and meal worms whether you purchase them or raise your own.

Gliders have been in the US a little longer than you think. They have been here since 1989 (still not long). But glider owners have been striving to develop a year round diet for gliders since then. We have come a long way from their native diets and it seems foolish to regress. It seems that the ideal situation would be to use our energies developing a year round diet for captive gliders. The gliders environment has been changed to eliminate seasonal changes. The diet should be altered to suit the new environment changes.

I do not feel we have reached the pinnacle where we have the perfect diet for our captive gliders. But we have proven beyond reasonable doubt that captive gliders thrive without items from their native diets.

As far as environmental enrichment, cage size, and colonizing, I will not even go into that at this time.
Charlie H
_________________________
Rescue & Rehabilation
http://www.angelfire.com/tx/glidertree/
[]glidertree@toast.net[/]

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#50416 - 07/06/05 06:59 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I feel like a native wild glider diet would be best for our little ones,but we have come along way in developing the diets we have today.I think they owuld be happier in the wild BUT they are use to us and their cages so there is no need to feel so sad about what we have done-it wasn't us who did this to them.It our job as their owners to give them the best life we can now that we do have our little furbutts.

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#50417 - 07/06/05 07:19 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Yes, well part of the complication here is that there is a discrepancy between the total list of food items that wild gliders feed on throughout Oceana and what wild gliders from the different regions feed on.

This thread has come up numerous times since I have been here and it seems part of the problem, also, is that we fail to consider the fact that wild glider diets not only vary seasonally, but also vary cross-geographically. That is to say, gliders from Indonesia feed on different flora and fauna than gliders in Australia, which also differ from the native diets of gliders on the island of Tasmania.

For instance, it was concluded through a feild study in Tasmania that colonies of gliders did not feed on acacia gum at all (which seems to be a significant part of the wild glider diets in both Indonesia and Australia). This is only one remote example of cross-regional differences in the wild glider diets. There are also differences in choices of prey cross-geographically, as well as other botanically-related dietary differences.

This entails, then that perhaps gliders can sustain themselves without certain items of native flora/fauna and have proven to propogate and proliferate in natural environments where such flora/fauna may either not be present or where such flora/fauna may not be preferred by the native gliders.

What makes this issue even more complex is that there is evidence that we North Americans have likely established our captive glider populations from gliders that immigrated to North America (both legally and illegally) from different regions of Oceana (not only Indonesia, as was the general consensus here before). Perhaps there have even been bloodline mixes of different glider subspecies. So with this melange of mixed bloodlines of gliders that have adapted to their respective regions on the other side of the planet, and hence to the region's flora/fauna for nutritional sustainance, we really cannot determine with certainty what an ideal native diet should be (e.g. exact flora, fauna) for our little ones, especially since there are so many species of native flora and fauna (fauna btw, whose nutritional make-up is directly determined by the endless possibilities of flora that they feed on or that their prey feeds on in their native lands) that wild gliders feed on, all depending on where their origin.

I am totally for feeding native items to our captive gliders, but it's just a matter of choosing what specifically to incorporate, that makes me feel like creating such a natural diet may be harder than one may think. I know Big_Ern's diet has proven successful for a number of years with his gliders, and he incorporates native botanicals. I know Pockets has also found success with her native foodstuff feedings.

On the flipside, I think Charlie's argument may be valid in that gliders may have been able to adapt to food stuffs that are fairly alien, as they are opportunists by nature and though they are highly specialized feeders, I bet all the change in my pocket (78 cents) that in the warmer climates of the US where gliders have been reported to form small colonies in urban/semi-urban areas that they've been able to do so because of this ability to adapt to new diets.

Though our gliders may look frail, I'm sure they're also surprisingly adaptable and largely versatile, especially since they've been able to thrive or survive - depending on how you look at it - on diets like the BML diet which incorporates some really foriegn food items like wheat germ! If you look at it from that perspective, perhaps a completely natural diet wouldn't be necessary.

********MY POINT (for the skimmers):********

Whatever the case, I have always been for the incorporation of naturalistic feeding combined with the advancements in the captive glider diet world. As Marla mentioned, I feel the zoos may have it right! Or perhaps we all (i.e. the zoos and we, BML/Darcy's/Suncoast/ThePetGlider/any-proven-diet users) have it right, and we've underestimated the gliders' ability to adapt. One thing I've learned is that life finds a way (Jurassic Park).

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumb.gif" alt="" />

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />


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#50418 - 07/06/05 08:46 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


[:"blue"]oh, ok, 1989...so 16 years, not 12. Still, not the thousands of years most other domestic animals have with us (cats/dogs/cows/sheep/horses/chickens...on and on). Many other animals are available as pets that haven't been "domesticated" long (pythons, hedgehogs, iguanas, scorpions)and the way they figure out how to care for them is by observing them in the wild, and adapting those conditions for captivity. Gliders are special but they're still animals, and as such follow the same laws of biology as everything else living.

Confession: nothing I eat or feed my suggies is totally safe! I admit it, I can't keep toxins/pathogens out of our lives <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shakehead.gif" alt="" />! The reality is everything we eat has some amount of toxic chemicals/bacteria/fungi on/in it, my point was only to show that chicken isn't some kind of perfect alternative, but just an option with plenty of its own problems. Fungi especially is all over everything we eat, all the time, and we only notice it when it has developed to its mature reproductive stage (otherwise known as fridge fuzz <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />), but it was there all along.

I agree with the other post about "quality" of life, heaven forbid some macrobiotic giant got ahold of me as their "pet" and made me eat nothing but healthy food, and exercise 2 hours/day, and never have chocolate or wine again! I'd rather enjoy my life and live a few less years, myself <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/agree.gif" alt="" />.

This is really a "pros/cons" list, not a statement of perfection for one method or another. Also, I only have 7 gliders, I don't run a large-scale rescue, so my options for care are wider, simply due to # and time.

Many veterinarians, biologists and zoos are mystified as to the confusion online regarding glider care. I've spoken to many experts (oh, boy, there's that word again, <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/worried2.gif" alt="" /> sorry, but I feel it is justified in these cases) Dr. Johnson-Delany, a marsupiologist at my U, the director of the austalian mammals collection at a california animal park (former classmate of mine), and my local zoo's curator, and this is why they don't care to post/comment/attempt education online, because they are dismissed and pooh-poohed on the basis of anecdotal & emotional resistance. I will go away if GC wants me to, I will stop trying to put biology in here, it's actually wearing me out <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/help.gif" alt="" /> so if y'all don't even want it, I won't bother <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nixweiss.gif" alt="" />. Every time I post about anything like this there's an uproar, and the thread is shut down. I really don't want that to happen anymore.

Don't do anything you don't want to do, I'm not trying to push anyone to do anything, but I feel that is is important to put this voice out there, as it seems to have been squashed a bit, and deserves to be heard.

It is not a "step back" to re-evaluate where we are in our knowledge of sugar glider care, and go to solid animal science for our methods. We don't need to re-invent the wheel, much research has been done, and we need to stop acting like its not out there b/c it doesn't agree with our pre-conceived notions. Until the glider forums aren't full of posts about sick & dying gliders that were on "proven" diets, other ideas warrant attention.

Mikey makes a good point about the complexity of determining what exactly IS the wild diet, but I am limiting myself to the original homeland (coastal eastern Australia) of Petaurus breviceps ariel, as that's what the marsupiologist at my U determined my suggies are using mitochondrial DNA tests. Other locations (especially indonesia) are recent colonizations by other subspecies, and scavenging has been obsereved in those areas (like dumpster diving that was mentioned before) which may indicate that they can't get all they need from nature in those ares, (they could also just be oportunistic, like racoons). Thus, I think in terms of their evolved metabolism, this area is more accurate. There are many studies on what they eat in the wild, where they followed wild colonies for years observing foraging and sifted through and analysed their feces, so that's what I'm talking about.

As for the guilt <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />: I keep pets, as humans have for thousands of years, and while I have to face the fact that their natural state is the one they're adapted and thus most comfortable in, I don't feel guilty, nor do I think anyone else should, for having them. There are benefits to being "kept" (like the list of wonderful toys! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/multi.gif" alt="" />) and safety from owls/cats/pythons, and the reality is there is no perfect moral ground to having or not having animals as pets. They're here, we can't "unring the bell". What could we do about it now? It isn't right to toss domesticated animals out into the wild, even if we could, and there was enough wild left to sustain them. They aren't wild anymore, mentally an animal can bond (or be tamed) within its lifetime, and cannot go back, but the body takes longer to change. This is what we need to keep in mind when deciding how to care for them. I think the best we can do is when choosing to have animals as pets, make sure the choices you make are to the best of your ability for their sakes, not for your own. We're getting the benefit of having them, it's up to us to make their "captivity" as happy as possible. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/yelclap.gif" alt="" />

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#50419 - 07/06/05 09:11 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I totally agree with Marla in that we shouldn't feel guilty for captivating our little ones.

Owning animals, exotic or otherwise, isn't a violation of nature at all. Actually, it's quite natural! Even some of the most basic organisms like ants "herd" colonies of aphids like cattle as well as other terrestrial animals like ant pets. The ants govern their breeding, feeding, and protection. In biology it's a principle called symbiosis, and in our case specifically mutualism, where two species benefit from eachother and are interdependent. Symbiotic relationships and domestication are both perfectly natural processes (i.e. man and dogs - dogs still being genetically wolves, where a dog and wolf can still breed and produce fertile offspring; man and cats; man and camels; etc). We provide the gliders all they need to survive and they provide us leisure, stimulation, and love, which humans need to survive.

This, ofcourse, is further indication that it is our ultimate biological duty and obligation to ensure our gliders have the best and happiest life possible, and not just some conscious choice to spoil our gliders! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#50420 - 07/06/05 09:37 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Noo Marla, don't stop posting! You are one of the rare few who only wants us to THINK for ourselves! I love all of your informative posts--Mikey, you too! You help us to think about things that others won't dare to mention. All of your information is very helpful, at least to me:o)

(And yes, I still feel kind of guilty for having pets. Of course, I understand that they were born into captivity and I think I can give my babies the best possible home. But you must understand that I am an extreme bird lover, and I am passionate about wild birds. I love to watch them fly until they are out of sight.....so when I look at my sweet, hand-fed babies, part of me wishes that they could be so wonderfully free.)

P.S. Keep on posting! I was a huge fan of all of the latest diet debates, and I will never understand why people argue so much. We are all just trying to understand gliders and find out what is in their best interest. No need to argue:o)

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#50421 - 07/07/05 12:15 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hum... diets... Lol <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Honestly, I've done a lot of research on glider diets. Threw nutritional analysis, trial and error, and good old fashioned research, I have settled on a diet that I feel works best for my gliders... It is nothing like their wild diet, but has very similar nutritional values. I think that ideally, every animal could eat their wild diet, but I don't necessarily think that their wild diet is best for the animal. As Mikey mentioned, there are various peaks and declines in most wild animals diets. I think the key to a good captive diet is finding a balancing point between the high and low points of an animals wild diet... The best way to do that would be threw trial and error. Start with one end of the spectrum with their diet and work your way to the other until you find a point where the glider maintains a healthy, stable weight. That's what I have done with my gliders and I am proud to say that I have 2 joeys that are 2 weeks OOP that have literally tripled in size in their 2 short weeks (7 grams - 21 grams in 2 weeks).

You mentioned enrichment. I think that is an extremely important aspect of captive animals life. I've actually been working on a special feeding system for my gliders for the past few months... It's intended to mimic their natural tree boring/"sap sucking" activities in the wild. I haven't quite gotten it to work just right yet (it tend to either leak or clog up, depending what I do to it), but I hope to have it working soon. I think that some of the best ways to enrich a captive animals environment is by mimicking their wild environment...

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#50422 - 07/07/05 04:49 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


[:"blue"]You know Leyna, I think you've got exactly the right attitude. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/agree.gif" alt="" /> The idea being giving them nutrition that is as close as you can to the basic elements of the wild diet, (the building blocks) just using other ingredients, and then focusing on other ways to enrich their habitat to substitute for what they lose not foraging for themselves.

Many areas don't have the ability to get the components, locally, for the Dr J-D type of diet, (as I think you've mentioned this is hard for you) but you still want to give them the best you can. Thinking about how to give the same types/amounts of nutrients, using their natural foodstuff as a guide, is a great way to go. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

That's great about your joeys, it just shows you really did you homework...emphasis on "work"! I think it's actually easier to feed them "wild" type foods, becasue it's just about matching, whereas you're doing a lot more research, measuring, counting and planning with substitutions, trying to make sure they're equivalent. I'm glad it's working so well for you. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/muchlove.gif" alt="" />

The cyclic nature of wild food supply is a good point, but we basically create a world for our suggies as though it were always one season. The temps of our homes, photoperiod (from electric lights), and presence of animal-based protein sources are all biologically interpreted by our gliders as meaning "it's summertime"! Being this is a time to "stock up" on calories in the wild, this may be why we tend to get chubby gliders, along with lack of exercise, it's like a 4th of july picnic to them every day!

I just worry that if we drift too far away from understanding the basis for where/why we feed way we feed, it's easy to substitute until before we know it we've got a yummy, empty-calorie nectar for them to eat, that won't sustain them over the long haul, or may contain harmful elements thet will bioaccumulate over time and create problems like lowered immune response, cancer or liver failure, or be improper proportions and lead to SM, canibalism, ketosis or diabetes.

These are all awful, so I just keep updating my data, and asking myself why? Why am I feeding them this? What does it give them? What does it risk? Is it best for me, or for them? There are no easy answers, but I still think it's not as overwhelming, nor mysterious, as it can sometimes feel. The same way we have to face the dangers in our world for our own health, and make choices, we have to do that for them. Hopefully, we make even better choices for them than for ourselves **eats a dark chocolate M & M**

If we can really get them what they need nutritionally, the only other factor is teeth and gum health, and so far I have seen only exoskeleton (assuming proper calcium, they build strong teeth with it too, just like us) shown to do this...anyone using anything else? If so, or if not, what is the result, i.e what do you do for oral health, and what have your experiences been? Wait, no, I'm gonna start a NEW thread relating diet to oral health. Using a survey we can get an idea as to what, if any, relationship we're seeing between "oral health and +/- exoskeleton (or other methods GCers may be using) in the diet. Post called: "diet vs. oral health survey", please take a moment if you can to fill it out, I'll compile it and see if I can find a statistical significance to the data on the experiences of the GC community. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cloud9.gif" alt="" />

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#50423 - 07/07/05 06:26 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Charlie H Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 11/13/03
Posts: 1659
Loc: Wallis Texas
When the discussion of wild diets comes up one of my greatest concerns is how some people react. There are some of the newer glider owners that will jump onto some of these ideas before they have the knowledge to incorporate the items into their glider diets. In recent posts I have seen quiet a few members start asking how to get these items, how do I mix them, how do I feed them. They have not done their research but are willing to start feeding items without knowing anything about the ingredients or what effects they could have on their gliders. Even in this thread there are members touting wild glider diets without knowing what a wild glider diet is or should be. What items should be included in a wild diet? What per cent of each item should be included? If the wild diet is as perfect as some suggest then why are supplements suggested? I agree that field studies have been made on gliders diets and lifestyles. But it seems little has been learned about formulating a new diet. The original Leadbeaters diet is a very old diet and actually was not even formulated for sugar gliders. Yet this antique study is the basis for most modern glider diets including Dr. Johnson-Delaney's. Most of them are just spin offs of the original Leadbeaters.
Charlie H
_________________________
Rescue & Rehabilation
http://www.angelfire.com/tx/glidertree/
[]glidertree@toast.net[/]

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#50424 - 07/07/05 06:52 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I agree CharlieH, I think that is why I tend to rip into things so much. Both you and I have done our fair share of rescueing. We have seen the damage that good intentions combined with little effort/research can cause... It pains me to see new glider owners hopping on every bandwagon that comes barreling threw here and I worry about the long term damage that might be done to their gliders. I wish there was a simple answer for everything. Premade glider cages that come compleat with toys and pouches, a commercial sugar glider food that didn't require suppliments, and glider knowledgable vets... But right now, that's just a dream world for me.

FlyingElvis, you said:
</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
Hopefully, we make even better choices for them than for ourselves **eats a dark chocolate M & M**

<hr /></blockquote><font class="post">
Hey, that's your cancer protection! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

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#50425 - 07/07/05 07:05 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Marla- please stay... I love your posts and find them truly informative... our babies destroyed a few roses happily last night.. but I too use Ernies diet that incorporates acacia gum and papaya and bee pollen...

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#50426 - 07/07/05 10:27 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


In defense of the newer glider owners that jump on every bandwagon etc etc, it is VERY confusing when it comes to glider diets and it becomes more and more complicated with every new thread, don't feed this because of that don't feed that because of this!! It's an absolute nightmare! I sometimes wish I hadn't found the forums and I would still be happy in my ignorance. My gliders were healthy before and I've now made alterations and additions here and there and they're still healthy, I wouldn't say they were any healthier than before though. And all these 'improved' diets of course newbies jump on them - people are on here saying they're the best thing since sliced bread, we all want what's best for our gliders!

But Marla - don't go, you give us real food for thought and every thread you post is very informative and sparks just as informative reactions.

Sigh - I'm even more confuddled now!! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shakehead.gif" alt="" />

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#50427 - 07/07/05 11:24 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Pockets Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 01/02/00
Posts: 2092
Loc: Lone Star State
Ditto's Marla
I personally choose to stay as close to the <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" />'s native diet as possible.

Eucalypts first appeared in the fossil record
34 million years ago & Acacia 25 million years ago - <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" />'s 1.6 million years ago 'Pleistocene' -
I believe nature knows best!

Charlie - <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" />'s have resided in the USA for a much longer than since 1989
_________________________
:grey: We will be known forever by the tracks we leave :grey:
http://www.marsupialsociety.org

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#50428 - 07/07/05 11:38 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: Devil_Bunny_Girl]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Lol, I missed that Pockets! You are right, gliders have been in US for much longer than 16 years... Heck, there are people here that own gliders that are almost 16 years old. I remember reading somewhere that gliders were imported into US zoos in like 1972.

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#50429 - 07/07/05 11:46 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: Devil_Bunny_Girl]
Anonymous
Unregistered


<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/offtopic.gif" alt="" /> Pardon me, I would like to say something stupid. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I know that gliders aren't humans and 100 years isn't 16, but 100 years ago we didn't have Cheetos (MSG), Twinkies (high fructose corn syrup), and diet Coke (aspartame). We don't eat a whole lot of our "natural" diet of 100 years ago when no one knew about fat grams or carbs.

We seem to mostly still be alive, though I suppose our health may be declining... <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ohwell.gif" alt="" />

Ok, ok, don't flame me, I'm just being silly.

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#50430 - 07/07/05 02:23 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


[:"blue"]I said gliders had been PETS in the US since 1993. Zoos, etc. have had them, in the US and around the world, for much longer. Some people keep tigers & lions, but I think until more than zoos and vegas acts <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/evil.gif" alt="" /> have them we can't say they're pets.

Leadbeater's porridge (also called Leadbeater's nectar mix) was designed for Leadbeater's possum, the sister species to the group our gliders are in, i.e. the most closely related possom not of the genus Petaurus, which has a very similar, well studied diet. It is the basis, with improvements, for Dr. J-D's diet, as well as BML and many others, and has been used with gliders in Australia succesfully for over 50 years! Sometimes old doesn't mean wrong, especially when you keep an open mind and constantly update your methods when new (or old but accurate!) info comes to light.

As far as the "bandwagon", if we could stop debating whether diets modeled on wild foraging studies are okay or not, I, and other Gliderwilders (as I call them) who try and go native, could post details and explanations as to what we feed, how we feed it, what the nutritional components are, etc. It's really not complicated, easy to follow, and then I think "newbies" could easily understand the how/what/why of it all. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

While I understand the battle-wearyness of the veterans on GC, who fear that "fads" will harm gliders b/c that's what they've seen happen <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crying.gif" alt="" />, we can't assume that the info is too dangerous for the adults who are on this board, already trying to be responsible and searching for answers. Being "new" doesn't mean foolish, nor unable to make sound choices, if given the information clearly.

This methodology isn't a fad, it is the accepted plan in professional organizations that keep gliders (Queensland EPA, University of FL, University of CA, Stanford University, Chaffee Zoo,Ellen Trout Zoo, Taronga Zoo, Singapore Zoo, to mention a few) and deserves to be brought up periodically to give everyone the chance to make real & truly informed choices for their gliders. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/yelclap.gif" alt="" />

As it is I feel like I spend much of my posts <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/sleep.gif" alt="" /> defending the relevance of glider biological science, or any science findings, and can't get to these kinds of details. So, I'm going to start a thread called :{{"Wilder" glider diets}}, and while I hope veterans will contribute their experience and guidance <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumb.gif" alt="" />, please DO NOT post philosophical objections to the IDEA of feeding wild-based diets, or to using biology and science to figure out your diets, as this just derails our descriptions and doesn't allow the correct information to get out <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />. We've talked about that already, I want to discuss the actual PRACTICE of Gliderwilding, please?

I will start the thread with a disclaimer, stating that those feelings are held by some on GC, with a link to the recent threads where those objections are discussed, but I really just want this thread to be about what "glider-wilders" are doing, and how to get supplies, make porridge, etc, and NOT be drowned in these same arguements I've had already. This way, it's not an uninformed bandwagon jump, but a truly educated choice based on real, mature descriptions of this methodology, as practiced by GCers.

I hope everyone can approach it in that spirit, to allow those who are afraid to post to be heard, without fear of flaming, and to answer the concerns of those who feel there aren't clear and simple descriptions availble to introduce "newbies" to the method.

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#50431 - 07/07/05 02:49 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I would be interested in learning about anything that would help my gliders out.If studies have shown their natural diet is best than i am interested in learning what is included in it....
Your posts are awesome marla! They are very informative! Thank you!

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#50432 - 07/07/05 04:36 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I'm so glad Marla opened this thread! Yes, a natural diet is definitely the key! Think of the big picture here. These animals have evolved over millions and millions of years (I designed a model a while back to help visualize the geographical prehistoric timeline) undisturbed amongst specific species of flora/fauna and the processes of extracting nutrients from the environment is one that has taken literally ages to evolve. The gliders have evolved with their ecosystem along with the multitude of species in it, and the gliders play a specific role in that big biological network.

In this light, we must understand that a certain reverence should be shown towards these animals as creatures with a specific role in nature (i.e. gumivores, insectivores, borer-of-holes-in-eucalypt-trees, etc) and that they are more than just babies that we've taken under our wing and shipped to North America to survive on relatively foreign diets (even if we're talking about the recent ancestors of our furbutts some 20 yrs ago) to satisfy some desire for leisure and nurturing.

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/heartpump.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" /> There is a greater (and as far as I'm concerned a more sacred) reason that our "babies" look and act the way they do - more than just that Mother Nature chose for them to be that way... <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/heartpump.gif" alt="" />

Their digestive systems are designed specifically to digest specific botanical tissues and substances, along with specific prey animals; our gliders are designed to cater to life in the tropics of Australia/Indonesia/etc. Their teeth and dental arrangment are specially designed for tasks like tearing off of bark and creating holes to get at the goodies inside eucalypt/acacia/malaleuca trees. It's why they end up destroying all the fun toys you put in there for them. They are hunters by nature and have hunted prey animals (arthropods, vertebrates, etc) for millions of years, and it's why they relish those mealworms like there is NO TOMORROW! It's in their very hardwiring and nature to do that, and such behaviours have been embedded into their very existence for millions of years as a means of survival. Ever marvel at their cool fingers? They are also designed for a variety of specific tasks, including fishing out insects and grubs from within gaps in tree holes, etc.

Also, it concerned me that we don't really place enough emphasis on gliders' natural biological rhythms, like herpetoculturalists do with reptiles and such. In other words we don't pay much mind to photoperiod (length of time in the day) or temperature fluctuations, or ratios of protein in the diets over the course of the year. In most animals a monitoring and promotion of healthy biological rhythms has a direct influence on mating success, pigmentation, and overall vitality (among others).

Who is to say that due to our lack of emphasis on the importance of biological rhythms in the captive lives of our gliders, that we are faced with the variety of glider cruxes that we have yet to put a finger on like "self-mutilation" or "cannibalism", etc? A mimicking of seasonal changes (in diet, photoperiod, temperature, etc) directly affects natural hormonal tides in both males and females and I bet having a year-round constant diet/photoperiod/temperature may be placing stresses on our little ones in ways we have yet to understand.

Anyway, just rambling again... There are just so many reasons why a naturalistically designed lifestyle (including but not only diet) would be optimal within the captive environment.

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#50433 - 07/07/05 07:48 PM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I like your posts, Mikey! You are so intelligent!! I have to agree with you when it comes to the importance of seasonal rhythms. I can speak directly from experience! As a human being, I have noticed my own rhythms and changes from season to season--both emotionally and physically.

I notice that the beginning of fall inspires a strange feeling within me, even when I was a child. During the colder months, I prefer fatty foods and I tend to gain weight every winter! Then, as spring begins, a new, excited mood takes over. By summer, I tend to eat a lot less, and drink more fluids. I bet everyone here feels seasonal changes also. The seasons do have an effect on humans, animals, plants--everything!

I would like to learn more about research in these areas. If you find anything, please let us all know. It seems that the members here are opening up to new ideas. We all enjoy taking care of our suggies, and learning more about them. There is so much more to discover!

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#50434 - 07/08/05 11:27 AM Re: Wild vs. captive diet. [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I agree with your statement.
With every animal kept as a pet there is always the attempt to recreate the natural enviroment(includes diet) for our animals. With reptiles and amphibions we have been very succesful(not completely). I an inferring to the reptiles under 2 feet. The two biggest challenges will always be diet and the envirnment two things that is very hard to be recreated in captivity. I do not own gliders and will not own gliders intill I know the most I can about the care of gliders. The best pet to me is a healthy and happy pet.

"There are just so many reasons why a naturalistically designed lifestyle (including but not only diet) would be optimal within the captive environment"

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#50435 - 07/17/05 04:06 PM DNA Testing of Gliders [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
"...as that's what the marsupiologist at my U determined my suggies are using mitochondrial DNA tests..."

<hr /></blockquote><font class="post">

I know this thread is supposed to be about diets; but I can't believe that no one has picked up on the most important piece of information in this entire discussion.

I would like to know a LOT more about the details of the DNA tests on Marla's gliders since, to the best of my knowledge, no one on GC has ever before reported having their gliders tested? I hope Marla will see this post and be so kind as to start a new thread on the subject of the DNA testing of her gliders. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thanx.gif" alt="" />

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