Disclaimer: I understand that some gliders will never get along.
I have two sugar gliders, Crash and Coco, who are both ~3 years old and have been living together since I adopted them. Introducing them was a breeze as they were still joeys. Crash is a neutered male, and Coco is a female. At the end of January, a friend contacted me and told me that she knew someone with a lone glider who needed a new home. Her name is Rue, and she is ~2 years old. Since sugar gliders should not be alone, I agreed to take her. I had Rue in a separate cage away from the other gliders so she could adjust to her new home. She is very sweet and does well with eating, drinking and going to the bathroom. I took all three gliders to the vet
and they were tested for parasites; they were all negative, and everyone is healthy.
I placed Rue's cage near Crash and Coco for awhile (but far enough away to prevent anyone being able to reach each other) and I've been pouch/toy/cage swapping. None of the gliders have a problem with sleeping in a pouch with an unfamiliar scent. Crash was certainly interested in Rue's presence (he crawled to the side of his cage adjacent to Rue's) but Coco and Rue seemed indifferent. Crash would chatter/make a clicking noise at her.
At the end of February, I tried introducing the gliders. I first introduced Rue to Coco, as Coco is mild-mannered and submissive compared to Crash. The introduction occurred during the day in a clean tent (they're able to jump out of the bathtub as it is shallow) and it went very smoothly; Coco and Rue sniffed each other a bit, then crawled into my hoodie and went to sleep. I put Coco back into her cage and Crash smelled her all over, but he wasn't aggressive. When I introduced Crash and Rue, Crash chased her and bit her tail, which led to screaming and balling up. I immediately broke up the fight and thankfully no one was injured. I started back at square one (separate cages in the same room) to let things cool down a bit.
A couple weeks ago, I made nest boxes lined with fleece squares that mount to the sides of the cages and are lined up with each other; the "back" of the nesting box, which is the side that is against the cage, is completely open. The cages are placed right next to each other, and I placed vinyl mesh (like bonding
pouch mesh) on the adjacent sides of the cage so that no one can reach through the bars. This way, everyone is essentially sleeping next to each other. They can see and smell each other through the vinyl mesh, but Crash and Rue can't actually touch each other. I haven't noticed any crabbing/chattering but I haven't been present for everyone going to sleep (Crash and Coco tend to go to sleep for the day before Rue). Since I can't see inside of the nest boxes very well (the hole is too small for me to get a good look), I can't tell if Crash has taken any interest in Rue or vice versa.
So, these are my questions:
1) Any other suggestions besides pouch/toy/cage swapping and the nest boxes to get Crash used to having Rue around?
2) I feel bad that Rue is still a lone glider. While she and Coco get along, I am apprehensive to put them in a cage together for an extended period of time for a couple reasons. First, I don't want Crash to get upset that his cage mate is gone; he is not used to being alone for long. Second, I don't want Coco to smell so much like Rue that Crash will reject her. Is this a valid concern? Is it possible that letting Coco and Rue sleep together will help show Crash that Rue isn't a threat/intruder to the colony?
Side note: I let Rue and Coco play together in the tent every so often and whenever I put Coco back, Crash smells her all over but he doesn't get aggressive with her.
Again- I understand that Crash may never accept Rue and they may need to be in separate cages indefinitely. I do not want to try to force things and have anyone get hurt. I simply want happy gliders, and I appreciate any advice! Thank you!