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What's the ideal colony size? #1392631
08/09/15 09:16 PM
08/09/15 09:16 PM
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 2
North America
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ElectricAnnie Offline OP
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ElectricAnnie  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 2
North America
Ignoring finances and with the objective of happy pets (no breeding pairs), what's the ideal size of a colony for sugar gliders? Minimum 2 to have a nocturnal playmate and cuddle-buddy, but would they be happier in a trio? With 4 gliders? 6? 20?

What are the complications of larger colonies? Does social hierarchy/dominance turn into an issue of concern (if so, how does it manifest? physical aggression, blocking from resources...)?

What issues come up with introducing new gliders to the colony over time? (ie, can we get a pair to start with, then grow the colony over months or years?)

Is there any way to test if gliders will get along prior to introduction? (Bringing along stinky fabrics?) Or do breeders typically have a policy on taking back a joey who is shunned by a colony?

We're in the super painfully-early stage of researching if sugar gliders are good companions for us. We're experienced exotic pet owners (currently caretakers to a hedgehog; previously ferrets) and are trying to learn about the specific needs of these social marsupials. We don't want to breed, so are contemplating an all-female colony (or possibly neutered males?). While at some point finances and practicality will come into play, for now we're trying to understand colony dynamics and what would make for the happiest pets.

As a related off-topic: Does anyone have recommendations for a solid, up-to-date intro guide to sugar gliders? We're finding the printed books suffer the same problem of being painfully outdated that plagues the hedgehog community. We're looking for something akin to this Guide to Hedgehogs, or even just pointers to which standard intro threads we should absolutely make sure to read on the forum.

Thank you!

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Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: ElectricAnnie] #1392633
08/09/15 11:50 PM
08/09/15 11:50 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,138
Lutz Florida
CandyOtte Offline
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CandyOtte  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 5,138
Lutz Florida
Welcome to the forum and thank you for doing your research before bringing gliders into your life for many years to come.

I am not sure there is an ideal colony size. I have had a colony of 6 unrelated gliders that lived quite peacefully for a number of years. The 2 males were neutered and all of the gliders were about the same age. I started with a pair - neutered male and a female then about 6 months later added a pair of females. Shortly after that I added another neutered male. About 6 months after that I introduced another female who had absolutely refused to join the trio that I had hoped to introduce her to.

That was a long difficult introduction - introducing her to one glider at at time with lots of pouch swapping between each change in the colony.

I have also had a family colony - a breeding pair and their 4 joeys - with all the males neutered including dad before the female joeys were old enough to begin maturing.

The currently available large cages - the Congo from Exotic Nutrition or the Large Sturdy (same cage) from SunCoast is a great size cage for up to 6 possible 8 gliders. I would not put a colony in a cage much smaller.

Some folks build their own cages but there comes a size point where a cage can be too large to maintain. I like the standard wire cages because I can take them out side to wash and rinse with the hose and then allow them to dry in the sun.

Introductions really depend on the individual personalities of each glider. I have found males neutered before 4 months when they begin to mature never develop the urge to mate which can help keep the colony peaceful. My glider colonies are dominated by one of the females but they are just bossy - not aggressive.


Candy Otte
& the Glider Kids
Sassy, Corky, Mehitabel & Missy
Wacco, Yacco, & Dot
Mindy, Kanobles, Elmo, & Chipper

http://www.gliderkids-diet.com

CandyOtte@aol.com
Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: ElectricAnnie] #1392637
08/10/15 10:24 AM
08/10/15 10:24 AM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 43,249
LittleRock, AR USA
KarenE Offline
Owner
KarenE  Offline
Owner

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 43,249
LittleRock, AR USA
Originally Posted By: ElectricAnnie
Ignoring finances and with the objective of happy pets (no breeding pairs), what's the ideal size of a colony for sugar gliders? Minimum 2 to have a nocturnal playmate and cuddle-buddy, but would they be happier in a trio? With 4 gliders? 6? 20?


Candy has given you some very excellent advice. Other than in the wild where they are in control of the colony size, I don't think we have any idea what the ideal colony size would be for captive gliders.

Non related colonies, as pointed out, can be the most challenging as far as introductions once you get past the initial pairing.

My experience has only been with family units. My two largest containing six members each all living into their teens.

If you are simply wanting pets, it would be my suggestion to start with a pair. It's possible that is all you will want.


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Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: ElectricAnnie] #1392687
08/11/15 02:31 PM
08/11/15 02:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 13,797
Wisconsin
Feather Offline
Administrator
Feather  Offline
Administrator

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 13,797
Wisconsin
I agree, you have been given great advice. My largest colony was 5 before one passed away. They were father, mother and son and two unrelated females.

It is very interesting to watch a colony react to and play with one another.


Kimberley
Feathers-Sweetie, Mister Peanut & Big Mack
Fur-Guinan, Mr. Spock, T'Mir, Cho, Toothless, Maverick & Maharet :bb: T'Pol, Elizabeth & Curzon :wfb: TY, TJ, Light Fury, Madison & T'Pring :rtmo:
Forever in my heart, Gizmo, Tucker, Khayman and the rest of my babies over the :rbridge:

Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: ElectricAnnie] #1392844
08/15/15 09:04 PM
08/15/15 09:04 PM
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 2
North America
E
ElectricAnnie Offline OP
New Member
ElectricAnnie  Offline OP
New Member
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Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 2
North America
Thank you all! It's been fun reading around the forums and learning what we can. We're still a long way off from making any solid decisions, but I'll be lurking and occasionally popping up with a question.

Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: ElectricAnnie] #1393456
08/29/15 01:02 PM
08/29/15 01:02 PM
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 71
Virginia
spiceglider Offline
Out of Pouch
spiceglider  Offline
Out of Pouch

Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 71
Virginia
I dont know if their is an ideal size but cage size and neutering matters if you plan for males and females o a bigger colony


:leu:
:grey:
Re: What's the ideal colony size? [Re: spiceglider] #1393491
08/30/15 03:13 PM
08/30/15 03:13 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 5,389
Maryland
T
Terry Offline
Serious Glideritis
Terry  Offline
Serious Glideritis
T

Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 5,389
Maryland
I agree, I recommend getting at least two at or around the same time. If you were looking into re-homes, you may find trios and quads already settled together, that would be my next suggestion.

I have a trio. I started with a pair of females I re-homed that were almost a year old. After getting used to them, I started thinking about adding one or two more, but wasn't sure about it. I kind of looked on and off, then one day found a loner neutered male needing new cage mate, so I homed him and got my trio. I will stick with the three.


Lives with:
1 God
1 dog, (Willow)
1 Sugie, (Ollie)
R.I.P. Lulu (2/28/12-10/13/17)
R.I.P. Skadoosh (2/28/12-3/26/18)

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