i live in sydney australia and in the past few days i have fell head over heels in love with sugar gliders. i would love to adopt 2 suggies of my own and really believe i could care for them well.
heres the thing tho, keeping sugar gliders in New South Wales (the australian state i live in) it is illegal to keep sugar gliders
(although keeping dingos is legal?
) so anyway i am writing this e-mail to the department of environment and climate change. on their website they have a page explaining why native mammals can not be kept (sugar gliders mentioned specificly a few times). in my e-mail i go through point by point and give argument against their reasons.
this is the page in question:http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/wildlifelicences/cantkeepnativemammals.htm
i am looking for any corrections, additions, mistakes etc. in my article and would love any feedback on it before i send it. this is only the first draft and i have only been researching suggies for a few days now (shhhh dont tell them that
) i am sorry that it is long and i realize it may not be to interesting to read but i need all the help i can get.
thank you soooooo much to anyone that reads it all and thank you again if u post any suggestions to improve it
here is my e-mail so far:
Hello, I am 16 years old and live in Sydney. I have spent some time intensely researching sugar gliders in captivity and would like to question some of the points your site puts forward in regards to keeping native mammals as pets, specifically sugar gliders.
The page I will be referring to can be accessed through this link:http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/wildlifelicences/cantkeepnativemammals.htm
I will be examining and giving reasons against each of the points you list in your article on why other native mammals besides dingo’s, spinifex hopping mice and plains rats can not be kept in captivity.
• Some native mammals, particularly wallabies and kangaroos, are very prone to stress-related diseases. These diseases can be brought on by contact with humans, domestic pets (cats and dogs) and by human-generated noise or machinery movement.
This statement can be applied to any animal kept as a pet including cats and dogs. any animal can be stressed if its needs are not considered properly it is simply a matter of keeping the animal in mind when deciding where to place it in the home. the sugar glider is not overly susceptible to diseases in the home, if looked after properly and fed a proper diet
then there is no reason for the animal to fall ill. just like keeping a dog if it is not fed and looked after well the dog will get sick, if it is well looked after then it will not, the same goes for a sugar glider.
• Many species need large outdoor enclosures.
In the United States and in Victoria sugar gliders have been kept healthy and happy in cages for many years. All of their time should not be spent in their cage anyway. sugar gliders are very social and grow very loving and close with their owner and do spend a good deal of the day with their care giver either in a "bonding
pouch", a shirt pocket or even simply sitting on their shoulder where they can safely fall asleep and feel close to their human. in my research the main MINIMUM cage sizes suggested are 61x61x91cm's and 91x46x91cm's (in order of length, depth and height). I see these to be good minimum sizes for a single or pair of sugar gliders for them to be kept happy and healthy. Keeping them in an outdoor enclosure could also be detrimental and stressful to a glider. Being exposed to the elements without the ability to move to new cover or a new location like they could in the wild would be deadly, also a caged unmonitored outdoor glider would be tormented by neighborhood cats through the bars/mesh and the sounds
of birds could severely stress the glider as many of their natural predators are birds.
• Most native mammals are nocturnal. Some, such as possums and gliders, can really only be kept in fully enclosed outdoor aviary-type enclosures.
Sugar gliders are in fact nocturnal but this aspect of them is in no way changed in captivity. The behavior of the human changes not that of the glider. For example sugar gliders are interacted with after the sun has gone down and when they themselves begin to wake up, they shouldn’t be woken up by the human but rather they are socialized with when THEY are ready not when the owner is. The statement that gliders
"can really only be kept in fully enclosed outdoor aviary-type enclosures" has been proven false. Gliders are kept all over the world especially in America where they are kept healthy and happy living for over FIFTEEN YEARS in indoor cages and environments.
• Some carnivorous species, such as quolls, have a huge home range - not unlike feral cats. They also need to be kept in large enclosed cages.
Sugar gliders are not carnivores, they are omnivores and their territories in the wild are not overly large. They have been kept for many years happy and health in medium sized enclosures in the United States and Victoria as I have stated previously.
• Same-sex members of some species, such as quolls and antechinuses, cannot be housed together for much of the year. They will fight, often to the death.
This statement is untrue in regards to sugar gliders as same sex pairs are commonly kept happily together. There are cases of a sugar glider disliking another individual regardless of whether it is male or female but this happens with every species on earth including dogs, cats and EVEN humans, where one individual dislikes another individual for no particular reason.
• Some animals, such as male wallabies and kangaroos, become aggressive on reaching sexual maturity. At these times, they can become quite dangerous to humans.
Male gliders do not become aggressive towards humans once they reach maturity. They become protective of their joeys if they do breed but this isn’t to a large degree. There is no guarantee that they will change their attitude at all once they have joeys and if they are neutered this can be avoided entirely. A sugar glider posses almost no threat to a human even if it was trying to attack you. The only sugar glider related injuries I have heard of are some scratches from untrimmed nails while the glider climbs your body and minor nips on the hand from a scared glider. While these may be unpleasant they are hardly “dangerous” and once the animal bonds
to you the glider will usually stop bighting all together, unlike a puppy or cat which can continue to bight and nip throughout their entire lives.
• Native species have a very short life cycle of birth, breeding and death. They can become inbred quickly, so new animals with different genes need to be constantly introduced.
Sugar gliders can live in captivity for 12-15 YEARS, by no measure do I consider this a short time. In terms of inbreeding as with any species it is the duty of the breeder
to prevent this through neutering offspring or separating them as they mature.
• Most native mammal species do not domesticate well. They generally cannot be enjoyed in the same way as a dog or cat.
Sugar gliders are very social animals and bond
very well to humans that provide them with proper care. They show individuality and can come to totally trust their owner in every regard seeing them as a total equal. No, sugar gliders can not be enjoyed in the same way as a dog or a cat. But neither can birds, fish, hamsters, rabbits or mice. Just because something is not a dog or a cat shouldn’t exclude it from being allowed as a pet. If you want something to enjoy “like” a dog or a cat then buy a dog or a cat. If you are looking for something else though then people must look elsewhere.
• Conservation concerns
Regarding your fears of animals being trapped and traded it would be safe to assume that this is already happening right now. If someone who sees a sugar glider on television or anywhere else and they decide they want one then they will go out and trap one because there is simply no other alternative. Also after they trap a glider they will most likely have no idea how to look after it. If some one buys from a licensed breeder
then they can ask questions and buy supplies, also if the breeder
feels that they can not adequately care for the glider then they can refuse to sell to them. If someone goes out and traps one then keeps it in a rabbit hutch feeding it hamster pellets the glider will surely die. If they can go to a breeder
be told their requirements and go do their own research then they can decide whether or not this is the right animal for them. I truly believe that instances of wild trapped gliders would drop with an alternative. Gliders born in captivity, raised with humans around since they are joeys would be much more accepting of people and much more desirable than a wild glider. If people could get a glider that will accept them more readily and is used to captive life or a wild glider that is terrified of u and may die from the change in diet
and environment, which do u think people will choose?
Captive sugar glider populations can be sustained without any wild animals being caught at all. The United States has NO natural populations of sugar gliders and yet through breeding the demand for sugar gliders in America is more than kept up with supply.
As for sugar gliders disturbing natural wildlife, they ARE the natural wildlife so this argument is fairly irrelevant
To control wild trapping make the sale/trade of sugar gliders illegal to anyone but liscensed breeders
. That way only individuals and organizations that your agencies believe can be trusted will be able to sell gliders. Also to stop impulse buying by people and families who do not understand or who cant cope with the gliders needs make gliders illegal to own without a license. This will make people stop, think and research more than if they were able to take one home with them on the same day they saw them.
If anything you should be encouraging people to get (appropriate) native animals as pets instead of introduced species like dogs and cats which cause large amounts of damage to our ecosystems by capturing and eating native wildlife not only killing that particular animal but depleting the natural food source of another species.
Please do not dismiss this as the ramblings of a spoiled child who wants a cute pet. Please consider what I have said and do your own research into my points. You are more than welcome to reply and refute anything that I have said in this writing.
Thank you for reading and once I beg you to consider what I have written