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#927611 - 04/07/10 12:58 PM catnip and mints
Akane Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 09/20/09
Posts: 433
Loc: Iowa
Why is catnip dangerous for gliders? Is the fresh plant dangerous or is there something in the dry stuff? What about various other mints since catnip is in the mint family?

I have an herb garden with all these things and I'm wondering if anyone knows the exact reason my gliders cannot enjoy them? I really hate when something just spreads and gets taken as truth while any fact behind it is lost.

In my search for the answer I have found 1 zoo that feeds fresh mint leaves once a week and 3 individuals that feed mint amongst other herbs and have never seen a problem. Still I've found no reason why most say they can't eat mint.


Edited by Akane (04/07/10 01:03 PM)
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#927644 - 04/07/10 01:41 PM Re: catnip and mints [Re: Akane]
JillMarie Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 7748
Loc: New Jersey
I have actually questioned this myself. I had bought a toy that was stuffed with catnip. it made little squeaky sounds and the gliders went nuts over it. They played with it for months and THEN I read that even toys with catnip in them were very dangerous. so the toys went away frown

I didnt want to take chance.

would like to know about other mints as I have 2 types growing in my yard as well
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#927896 - 04/08/10 05:31 AM Re: catnip and mints [Re: JillMarie]
sugarglidersuz Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 14788
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Other mints are fine. However catnip is highly toxic to gliders - fresh, dried or just the oil. I'm not sure why you didn't have a problem with your catnip toy, JillMarie - just count yourself lucky, I guess dunno
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#928018 - 04/08/10 02:40 PM Re: catnip and mints [Re: sugarglidersuz]
Akane Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 09/20/09
Posts: 433
Loc: Iowa
So is all of the nepeta genus off limits then? I also have a catmint plant with my catnip, flavored peppermints, and spearmint. We still don't really have a reason why...
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#928044 - 04/08/10 04:04 PM Re: catnip and mints [Re: Akane]
Bozeman Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 2346
Loc: South Africa
Very interesting post indeed. I would love to see the answer on this one!
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#928244 - 04/09/10 09:33 AM Re: catnip and mints [Re: Bozeman]
lovely1inred
Unregistered


The simple answer is that not every plant is the same. The tomato plant itself is highly poisonous, but the fruit of the plant is not. Same with eggplant. Yes, catnip is highly toxic. Probably most plants that cause any sort of irritation to mouth/gums or digestive linings would kill a glider. Something that might give a cat or a dog just a little tummy trouble would be a million times more concentrated for a glider. I've given my gliders a variety of herbs without problem, but only after checking and re-checking that they were ok first. Peppermint is ok. My boy steals the candy from me, out of my mouth if necessary. Sweet basil and parsley are ok but both of my pair prefer it better scrambled into an omlette. The diet 101 archives have some great informative links for safe plants in the house as well as edibles!

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#928350 - 04/09/10 12:48 PM Re: catnip and mints [Re: ]
Akane Offline
Glider Lover

Registered: 09/20/09
Posts: 433
Loc: Iowa
Catnip causes mouth irritation? It doesn't in cats, dogs, guinea pigs, degus, or people to my knowledge. I've fed it to all of the above in large amounts because I have 3 bushes that get 3' high and 3-4' wide every year. It also is used to cure stomach aches in people and there are recipes online for catnip tea. We are not talking about poisonous plants we are talking about a typical herb used for many things that is generally considered safe and without symptoms to a very high amount in most animals and humans. Why not gliders?

All the posts I've looked up here and across google have only said things like "They are allergic". Allergic means the immune system is involved which doesn't seem right and it still does not say what they are allergic to so we can predict what other plants that are generally deemed safe could cause a problem for gliders specifically. While I will accept it has been proven to cause problems we are still without a reason except maybe some speculation on my part that the chemical nepetalactone (the reasons cats act high and found in all nepeta genus) is not metabolized well by gliders. Otherwise giving a glider 1/1000th the amount you give a cat should not cause 1 million times the reaction.
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#928377 - 04/09/10 01:56 PM Re: catnip and mints [Re: Akane]
Dancing Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 22746
Loc: 80 acres of paradise in KS
When cats injest catnip (or the oils) in excess, it can cause vomiting and diahhrea. In gliders, these two things can be deadly in a very short time, and it would take MUCH less to effect a glider because of their tiny size and fast metabolism.

The "active ingrediant" in catnip is nepetalactone. This acts like a narcotic to cats making them high for a short time. It is scientifically unknown if it could/would do the same for gliders but if it does, I just don't see how that can be good for an animal as small as a glider.

Making tea out of catnip, boiling it, is believed to remove the nepetalactone. So drinking the tea (for humans) wouldn't have the negative effects to the digestive system. I would assume the "medical" benefits to humans from the catnip tea would be the same as that of any mint tea (peppermint for example).

Here on GC, we have seen posts where gliders have gotten sick and died and the only explination for it was the introduction of a new toy containing catnip to their environment.

Since much of what we know about gliders is derived from observation, not clinical research, the conclusion is drawn that catnip is bad/potentially deadly for gliders.

Now, with that being said, what it comes down to for me is very simple...

Since there is no clinical research to show it IS safe, why take the chance when there are so many other options we know IS safe. Goes back to that saying, "If in doubt, throw it out".
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#928436 - 04/09/10 04:05 PM Re: catnip and mints [Re: Dancing]
KaraCO
Unregistered


This is an interesting topic and I feel like I've learned a lot. I've always wondered myself why catnip is considered so toxic to gliders. I have never given them any, but I do keep catnip in the house for the cat to play with. I make sure it stays far away from the gliders. But I have been told by people who have raised gliders for a long time that catnip shouldn't even be kept in the same house, it is THAT toxic. I have mixed feelings about it.

I am rather wary of any herbs at all coming in contact with my gliders. I just have a suspicion that they're too potent for their sensitive respiratory systems. This could be completely unreasonable but it's just my gut feeling.

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#928463 - 04/09/10 04:44 PM Re: catnip and mints [Re: ]
JillMarie Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 7748
Loc: New Jersey
I keep catnip in the house for my cats. But do not give it to the gliders. I find it hard to believe that it is so toxic it cannot be kept in the same house. perhaps that is just a precaution to the gliders dont accidentally get into it?

Plants work differently in each species of animals. Some animals can eat euc but others would die from eating it. Some plants can affect different individuals in a species. For example Not every cat gets high from catnip. some couldnt care less about it.

If it can work differently with animals within a species then perhaps that explains why some gliders have had adverse reactions and others havent.
personally I see no need to risk it when there are so many other things to use for enrichment that are proven safe.
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#928465 - 04/09/10 04:50 PM Re: catnip and mints [Re: JillMarie]
KaraCO
Unregistered


Correct. And I agree with keeping catnip in the same household. It just seems silly... however, I can see that if someone had a bad experience with it, ie a glider dying from it, why one wouldn't want to have it around at all for fear of it happening again.

At this point my cat gets it upstairs and the gliders live downstairs. I find it highly unlikely that the cat will play in it and then go downstairs to say hi to the gliders. That is the only way they'd get a hold of it. My cat is hardly interested in the gliders at all, lol.

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