Hi, Everyone! I'm so sorry to join and jump in with a sad post but sadly I'm finding and joining this forum for advice after losing one of our suggies.
A brief history. My husband and I are fairly new at the sugar glider experience. I am an extreme animal lover and have lots of animal experience but none with exotics. My husband, although fond of animals does not have that "connection" with them that I have always had. All of our animals seem to flock to me lol. Whenever I've asked for another animal the reaction is usually not positive so you can imagine my pleasant surprise when he became infatuated with sugars after a coworker acquired 3 neutered males.
Now, I am a researcher and a worrier so I immediately tried to start learning about these little creatures but that was short lived. When my husband gets an idea he is gung ho and doesn't always think. I wish I could say we bought from a reputable breeder
and knew all there was to know but I would be lying. In late October of 2016 he jumped in and bought a "breeding pair" from a young couple about an hour away from us. They claimed they were sweet but not handled much. They claimed the male was about 1 and a half and the female around 1 year.
We named them Dexter and Rita and had high hopes of giving them a much better home than they had come from..it was not a healthy one at all.
It became apparent early on that the previous owners were not truthful with us. Dexter was unapproachable and terrified. He would lunge at you when you came anywhere near and bite for blood. Even if just giving him a treat he would jump at you and scratch you and knock it out of your hand and then run and tremble in fear while eating. Rita was more calm...not a biter...but seemed small and always cold. We live in the south and it is not cold in our house but we bought a small heat rock for her and she loved it. diet
wise they were doing well although Dexter was so much bigger than Rita. bonding
went slowly and although Dexter was not excited about being handled we did get them to where they would crawl on us at tent time and the bites from Dex turned to nips instead of piranha bites. Still, they were clearly not used to being handled or socialized with.
The main thing we noticed is that even though Dexter is clearly not neutered they never attempted to mate. Dexter started gaining more weight and Rita seemed to get smaller. They still seemed to be bonded
and happy together until early this year. We noticed Dexter started to attack her occasionally when food was put out. He didn't injure her but there was a big show and it always worked and she would give in to him. We started separating their food and it seemed to work but around February or so it just seemed like Rita seemed to look even smaller. I'll add here also that in these months we were also dealing with vet
bills and extreme heart break from our long term pet cat Niko who died from cancer in March so there was a lot going on and I was beside myself with grief from losing him.
Shortly after losing Niko we noticed that Rita seemed to eat even less but she would always eat and seemed happy when she came out to be with us. I told my husband we needed to keep a close eye on her and we did. Sadly, we learned just how well they are at hiding illness....much like cats. My husband found that Dexter had attacked Rita. She had a bite on her face and was out of the pouch alone. She was breathing heavy. My husband thought it was from him biting her but I heard the tell tale signs of her popping while she was breathing and saw her purplish nose and knew it was respiratory. We rushed her to the vet
and they did oxygen chamber and antibiotics. We kept her close and warm and hydrated and fed her with a syringe and she perked up and was breathing normal within about 4 days...but she never seemed to get "well". We separated them after the incident also which was so sad but I'm sure his instinct once he figured out just how sick she was. We planned to see if it would be possible to put them together again once she got well but no matter what we did she declined. Breathing was fine but she began to stumble and fall and was very lethargic. We found out that she had lesions on her brain and spine and also that she was more than likely much older than the previous owners had told us. Sadly, we let her sweet little body rest and glide over the Rainbow Bridge the first week in April.
Wow....that was not brief lol but now needless to say we have Dexter here who is all alone and though he is still eating well and doesn't seem to be too broken up about Rita being gone, I am of course worried and not sure where to go from here. He has not gone back to lunging and scratching and biting but he is back to shaking in fear. We're trying to give him extra love and cuddles but he was never truly bonded
with us yet anyway. Given the fact that he has been aggressive and that I can assume that he is older than we were told, just like the case with Rita, I am worried about introducing a new glider or gliders. Rita passed 12 days ago and he hasn't shown any extreme signs of depression but I don't want to go too long without taking care of the situation. I do NOT like to give up on animals so i'm in it for the long haul with him. However, if it would be best for him to go to a new home with more experienced glider owners I would do that for him also. And although we do have the funds to find him a new cagemate I am of course worried about spending a fair amount of money for a new friend that he rejects.
I know you guys are way more experienced and versed in this subject than we are so I'm hoping for any kind of advice or good will that any of you may have. Please, fire away lol. And my apologies for writing a novel Haha!
Thank you guys so very much for any help you can give us. And by all means if the mods need to move this thread for more exposure please feel free to do what you need to do.