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#746224 - 03/07/09 04:51 PM scared for my hands...
sweetReaper Offline
Glider Guardian

Registered: 01/14/08
Posts: 1048
Loc: Londonderry, NH
As some of you might have read before, my girl Chihiro is a bit of a biter sometimes, so lately I have been working hard at bonding with her and solving the biting issue. I have used licky treats which she has taken very well. I have been leaving my hand in the bonding pouch to get her used to me as well. When I leave my hand in their with the top of my hand facing her, she does bite me a few times (right on the knuckles). It hurts but not too badly, and sometimes it seems like she just drags her teeth over my skin a bit (can't tell if it is because she can't get a good grip). I want to try holding my hand onder both girls in the pouch, but I am fearful of leaving my hand palm up and showing Chihiro my fingers. What do you guys think? She is not very agressive or crabby (most of the time) and she does allow me to pat her and run under her chin sometimes. She just seems to like nipping me. My other girl, Kasu doesn't try to bite, only her. What do you guys think? I do not pull away when she bites, I leave my hand where it is without flinching.
Sarah is currently a slave to:

Joe <3 - boyfriend
Kasu, Chihiro, Haku, Io - the suggies :bb: :grey: :grey: :rtmo:
Miki :rbridge: You are greatly missed <3
Fuuko, Rin, Hinata - the ratties
Two super cute axolotls

"It can't rain all the time" - Eric Draven

#746234 - 03/07/09 05:28 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: sweetReaper]

I don't know how you guys deal with leaving your hands there and taking a bite. I'm sorry, if the glider bites repeatedly then to me, it would mean they don't want to be petted. And that is their right, right? I mean, should we force ourselves onto the animal and force them to accept being petted or handled? If someone wants to come up to me and force a hug or touch me when I didn't want it, I'd be highly upset and wanna strike back, too.

Probably not what you are wanting to hear. lol.

Hopefully, someone who has dealt with biter-gliders can help you smile

#746236 - 03/07/09 05:32 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: sweetReaper]

Hello, everyone. I'm new here. I have already done research on sugar gliders, and already possess a vast array of sugar glider knowledge. However, I am kind of flinchy when it comes to pain. Yes, I've been bitten before by different animals: hamsters, rabbits, cats, dogs, birds, etc. How hard can these animals bite? Can they be bad enough to require stitches? Just thought I'd get myself a confirmation. I wouldn't think that such a small animal would be capable of a bite that nasty. Comments anyone? Thanks.

#746243 - 03/07/09 05:43 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: ]

While I am also new at this, I have read on numerous post here that yes they can bite hard enough to need stiches. How bad the bite will be depends on how old they are, the older they get the worse the bite will be. While I myself have never gotten a full bite with my babies, I am still trying to bond to them and get into their pouch as well, the boyfriend has, he didn't even flinch said if felt a lot like getting a really firm pinch. Mine are I am guessing somewhere aroung the are 16 weeks oop and haven't brought any blood on him yet. I have two that sound exactly like your one is good and is all over me the other is bad and crabs whenever I get near his pouch.

#746256 - 03/07/09 06:04 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: ]
StitchsMom Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 10569
Loc: IL (St. Louis area)
I have several suggestions.

Gliders are less likely to go into a tizzy if you catch them while they are sleepy. Use a pouch that can be a cage pouch and bonding pouch. This way, you aren't moving her from one pouch to another. Remove the pouch from the cage while she is sleeping in it and go get comfy. Pop in a movie beforehand or something. Let the gliders settle back into sleepy mode and then slip your hand in there. The more calm the environment, the better.

Have you watched a pair of gliders in a pouch? They squirm all over each other to get comfy. Once you are comfortable putting your hand in the pouch while they sleep, you can start moving your hand just a bit. This mimics the movement of a fellow glider getting readjusting to get comfy. It may sound odd, but it's a practice I've always used and it seems to work.

When I have a nippy glider, I have a way of correcting them that speaks their language. I make a sharp "Psssst!" sound at them. It's the same sound another glider would make to yell at a glider for getting too rough. You have to repeat the process...a lot. But it has been a reliable method for me for a long time.

I have never been a fan of blowing on a glider, but I've heard that works too. I would only use that in extreme cases, like if she was biting and drawing blood all the time. I've never done it though, so I don't have firsthand experience with that method. dunno

Have you considered bra bonding? Moving them to bonding that way eliminates nipped fingers altogether. They still get to be close to your skin, hear your heart, get used to your voice, etc. but she can't nip you. You can then work on her nipping at a separate time, like during tent time.

I hope some of these suggestions have been helpful. Keep us posted on her progress! thumb
~*~Jenny and the fur kids~*~

:grey: :grey: :grey: :leu:

>>> Sugar Glider Slave <<<

#746269 - 03/07/09 06:37 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: StitchsMom]

I heard about that "pssst!" thing on another thread earlier today. That's good to know.

Bugsy doesn't bite (he's only nipped me twice since I got him), but you never know when it will come in handy. I plan on getting him a cage mate as soon as I have decided on a new cage.

#746522 - 03/08/09 12:40 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: ]

Well, that's good. But there's no telling, really, what methods will work for a particular glider. I guess it'll just be a combination of common sense, intuition, and trial&error.

#746532 - 03/08/09 12:54 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: ]

okay so if im sitting there with the pouch watching a movie and minding my own business and slide my hand in there what if they spazz and destroy my hand? is something that i should really worry about my babies arent bonded but i think we would be happier if i could get them there.

#746601 - 03/08/09 03:15 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: ]
StitchsMom Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 10569
Loc: IL (St. Louis area)
Originally Posted By: aaron89978
Well, that's good. But there's no telling, really, what methods will work for a particular glider. I guess it'll just be a combination of common sense, intuition, and trial&error.

Well, as glider's became more and more a part of my life, I really learned to read their body language and verbal cues. This was something I never could have done my first six to eight months of sugar glider ownership. It's literally taken me years to fine tune my understanding of MY gliders. Each new glider I bring home brings with it a whole personality and whole new routine on how to bond with that particular glider. It helps if you can understand their frame of mind and YES that does differ from glider to glider.

I think that some people give up too fast. It took me well over a year to bond with my first glider. He certainly didn't like being petted, carried, or even looked at in the beginning. Does this mean it's his right to feel that way and I should just leave him locked up in his cage all day? No. Not in my opinion. My view is that it's my right as his owner to do everything I can to ensure he has a long, happy, healthy life. So, let's say I spent 15 months bonding with him. He may have hated it, but a sugar glider can live for 15+ years in captivity. Sacrificing a few months of their life to make them bond when they may not want to is a small price to pay if you ask me. A tame glider is less likely to be re-homed and more likely to be treated like a little friend. Why wouldn't I put in that time? It only benefits us both. Despite what anyone may think, I don't believe any sugar glider is content to live it's life out in a cage just so it doesn't have to deal with people long enough to bond. After Stitch did finally come around, he stuck to me like glue. He LOVED me. He still hated strangers and would act a bit possessive of me sometimes, but I secretly adored that he took to me so strongly. He wouldn't leave me for anything when I had him out. He was much happier as a bonded glider than as a crabby pants hiding in his pouch and I can promise you that.

Originally Posted By: AlishiaAbbott
okay so if im sitting there with the pouch watching a movie and minding my own business and slide my hand in there what if they spazz and destroy my hand? is something that i should really worry about my babies arent bonded but i think we would be happier if i could get them there.

First of all, don't psych yourself out before you even try it! You have to be confident and calm when you are handling gliders. If you panic, they will too. In your mind, just picturing it going well. You slip your hand in and curl your finders around them lightly, etc. That is a much nicer thought to be in your head at the time than them destroying your hand. wink

Let's talk about biting for a second. I'm sensing a lot of fear in this thread and I want to put some things in perspective. Let me say this, anything with teeth can bite. I hate when people ask if a glider of mine will bite. I highly doubt it, but I can't promise you anything. He/she is a sugar glider! She may not like your perfume. He may think that earring is an enemy! Keep that in mind when dealing with any animal.

To me, a sugar glider bite feels like a quick poke with a toothpick. Does it hurt? Yes, but it feels like a pinch so it's not like you're being mauled.

Can they break the skin? Yes. Does it hurt? Okay, this stings. Some bites are worse than others. Let me tell you this always hurt my feelings more than wherever I was bit. Like, if a friend of yours were to push you down one day for no reason. frown

I handled an intact male once and forgot to wash my hands before handling my other intact male. That was my worst bite. He bit and didn't let go. I panicked and pulled my hand back which only made the bite worse and finally I had to take a breath, grab his pouch, and put it over him to get him off me. Ouch. It hurt. But, it was my own fault it happened. He is still my best buddy to this day and it was the one and only time he bit me. Bites happen. It is part of sugar glider ownership. Nipping is what we most commonly deal with.

I have heard a very small amount of horror stories of gliders that attack and leave wounds requiring stitches. This is a rarity. A sugar glider on it's best day still can't take you down. A whole trio out for blood couldn't do it either. Let's be realistic. grin

With that said, how do you deal with it IF your gliders do decide to shred you to bits? Remain calm. Well, try to. I know how hard it is. Bites and crabs can be jarring and it's hard not to at least flinch. Most gliders will lunge and bite and then back off again. Gliders do not want to fight you. You are a giant huge thing that could squish them and they know it. They are scared of you and bite you most often because they get scared. Their number one defense is their crab followed by their number two defense, standing up and holding their arms out. They combine the two to look big and sound scary. They want you to run away. During the bonding process, you can't run away. You have to hold your ground. This is where bribes do wonders. A glider busy munching a mealie or scarfing down a yogie isn't going to worry about your hand being near it so much. Plus, that hand just gave it a mealie and has another one waiting. See where I'm going with that?

Now, here is a trick I just taught a friend of mine that showed up at my door with her first glider that is also a rescue. I suspect this glider is around six months old (although I cannot be sure as I am not a vet) and I don't think she had been handled much at all. Here was my advice, let the sugar glider think it's his/her idea. If you want your glider to come to you from it's pouch in the cage, you have to show it why it would want to do this. Grab a cup of mealies (or whatever treat you want to use). Take the treat and call to your glider using whatever you want. I like to just make the smooching/kissy sound like you would to call a dog. My glider have learned to associate this sound with treat time. Anyway, if you call enough, they should show interest at some point. If not, that's okay. Open the cage door and stick your hand in with the treat. Call to them as you do this. Again, they should eventually pop up to see what you've got, but you may end up having to basically dangle it in front of them in the pouch. That's okay. One step at a time. When they finally take the treat, you have success number one. Go from there. Eventually, they will be meeting you at the cage door for treat time and they think it's their idea!

Also, don't grab your gliders to pick them up and never come in from above. Take your hand and place it in front of you, palm down. Stick your thumb out to the side and make and L shape with your hand. What you want is for the glider to step up on your hand right at the webbed part by your thumb. So, if the glider if on your buddy's head, make the L shape and place the webbed part right at your glider's chest and move it downward toward the feet and back as you do it. This encourages them to step up on your hand. Again, now you have your suggie, your friend's head is safe from glider poo, and the glider thought coming to you was his/her idea!

I also want to mention that when it comes to hands and the bonding process, you don't have to start with sticking your hands in the pouch. You can earn their trust other ways first and ease into more handling before trying to put your hand in the pouch with them. My problem usually isn't biting, it's grooming or them searching my skin and cuticles for treats. That's not really them being mean. It's actually their way of grooming you and accepting you or mistakenly thinking you are make of mealies, sap, or yogies. grin This light nipping can usually be corrected by using the "Pssst!" technique discussed earlier.

crazy Did I cover it all? roflmao

Edited by StitchsMom (03/08/09 05:02 PM)
~*~Jenny and the fur kids~*~

:grey: :grey: :grey: :leu:

>>> Sugar Glider Slave <<<

#746608 - 03/08/09 03:23 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: StitchsMom]
StitchsMom Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 10569
Loc: IL (St. Louis area)
~*~Jenny and the fur kids~*~

:grey: :grey: :grey: :leu:

>>> Sugar Glider Slave <<<

#746609 - 03/08/09 03:27 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: StitchsMom]

The tsst sound does NOT work for Pixie. Oh god no, she keeps going. But it works for Tinkerbell. I had to do the lightly blowing last night so I wanted to see if it worked and it DID. She stopped.

I have little nibblers that I'm working on.

Just thought I'd add my two cents as Jenny is doing most of it. tounge

#746612 - 03/08/09 03:37 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: StitchsMom]

The last post i think covered most of the bases, im no expert yet but that really was very informative, stichesmom.

One trick I used with my suggie was to take her out in her pouch and wait til she settled back down and fell asleep. Id reach in with one hand and slowly cup her on top and from below (outside the pouch). Then while keeping firm pressure id quickly flip the pouch over so that she'd be sleep in my cupped hand. In the beginning she would crawl out once she realized what happened but a few weeks later she was deliberatly crawling under my hand and curl up when it is in the pouch. They are really just scared of everything and once they are "shown" that what is scaring them is really okay they warm up to it quick enough.

Also, as others pointed out, there is the difference between nips and bites. It really amazes me how quickly my girl learned that her nipping was too hard. I orginally thought she was a biter but in retrospect i realized she was just grooming/nipping w/o realizing how hard it was. Consistent use of the "psst" sound is what helped for me. Now when i have to 'psst' her, she will hop off my hand and look at me as if to say "is it okay to hop back on?" and get back if i don't pull away.

I think the best compromise is to show her that your hand isn't going anywhere no matter how big of a fuss she makes, but at the same time it isn't there to do anything but show love.

#746665 - 03/08/09 06:02 PM Re: scared for my hands... [Re: ]

hello, my lil girl used to lunge at me when i first got her. and when she bit me it left me bleeding. i guess my first question is how long have you had her? with my girl what i did was i never held my hand near her, i would just pet her handle her and when she did bite i wouldnt even react. after a while she realized that i wasnt going to back off. now she RARELY ever bites. the PSSSST thing never worked for me.

the reason why i wouldnt hold my hand in her pouch is of you where that little and you had a big hand in a place that was supposed to be your safe haven, you would be afraid. even if its every time they are in there you might be making her feel trapped. also something that i found to work was some one on GC told me that when they bite always have a treat on her to put in front of their nose. that helped me alot.

hope this helps


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