Well, that's good. But there's no telling, really, what methods will work for a particular glider. I guess it'll just be a combination of common sense, intuition, and trial&error.
Well, as glider's became more and more a part of my life, I really learned to read their body language and verbal cues. This was something I never could have done my first six to eight months of sugar glider ownership. It's literally taken me years to fine tune my understanding of MY gliders. Each new glider I bring home brings with it a whole personality and whole new routine on how to bond
with that particular glider. It helps if you can understand their frame of mind and YES that does differ from glider to glider.
I think that some people give up too fast. It took me well over a year to bond
with my first glider. He certainly didn't like being petted, carried, or even looked at in the beginning. Does this mean it's his right to feel that way and I should just leave him locked up in his cage all day? No. Not in my opinion. My view is that it's my right as his owner to do everything I can to ensure he has a long, happy, healthy life. So, let's say I spent 15 months bonding
with him. He may have hated it, but a sugar glider can live for 15+ years in captivity. Sacrificing a few months of their life to make them bond
when they may not want to is a small price to pay if you ask me. A tame glider is less likely to be re-homed and more likely to be treated like a little friend. Why wouldn't I put in that time? It only benefits us both. Despite what anyone may think, I don't believe any sugar glider is content to live it's life out in a cage just so it doesn't have to deal with people long enough to bond
. After Stitch did finally come around, he stuck to me like glue. He LOVED me. He still hated strangers and would act a bit possessive of me sometimes, but I secretly adored that he took to me so strongly. He wouldn't leave me for anything when I had him out. He was much happier as a bonded
glider than as a crabby pants hiding in his pouch and I can promise you that.
okay so if im sitting there with the pouch watching a movie and minding my own business and slide my hand in there what if they spazz and destroy my hand? is something that i should really worry about my babies arent bonded but i think we would be happier if i could get them there.
First of all, don't psych yourself out before you even try it! You have to be confident and calm when you are handling gliders. If you panic, they will too. In your mind, just picturing it going well. You slip your hand in and curl your finders around them lightly, etc. That is a much nicer thought to be in your head at the time than them destroying your hand.
Let's talk about biting for a second. I'm sensing a lot of fear in this thread and I want to put some things in perspective. Let me say this, anything with teeth can bite. I hate when people ask if a glider of mine will bite. I highly doubt it, but I can't promise you anything. He/she is a sugar glider! She may not like your perfume. He may think that earring is an enemy! Keep that in mind when dealing with any animal.
To me, a sugar glider bite feels like a quick poke with a toothpick. Does it hurt? Yes, but it feels like a pinch so it's not like you're being mauled.
Can they break the skin? Yes. Does it hurt? Okay, this stings. Some bites are worse than others. Let me tell you this though...it always hurt my feelings more than wherever I was bit. Like, if a friend of yours were to push you down one day for no reason.
I handled an intact male once and forgot to wash my hands before handling my other intact male. That was my worst bite. He bit and didn't let go. I panicked and pulled my hand back which only made the bite worse and finally I had to take a breath, grab his pouch, and put it over him to get him off me. Ouch. It hurt. But, it was my own fault it happened. He is still my best buddy to this day and it was the one and only time he bit me. Bites happen. It is part of sugar glider ownership. Nipping is what we most commonly deal with.
I have heard a very small amount of horror stories of gliders that attack and leave wounds requiring stitches. This is a rarity. A sugar glider on it's best day still can't take you down. A whole trio out for blood couldn't do it either. Let's be realistic.
With that said, how do you deal with it IF your gliders do decide to shred you to bits? Remain calm. Well, try to. I know how hard it is. Bites and crabs can be jarring and it's hard not to at least flinch. Most gliders will lunge and bite and then back off again. Gliders do not want to fight you. You are a giant huge thing that could squish them and they know it. They are scared of you and bite you most often because they get scared. Their number one defense is their crab followed by their number two defense, standing up and holding their arms out. They combine the two to look big and sound scary. They want you to run away. During the bonding
process, you can't run away. You have to hold your ground. This is where bribes do wonders. A glider busy munching a mealie or scarfing down a yogie isn't going to worry about your hand being near it so much. Plus, that hand just gave it a mealie and has another one waiting. See where I'm going with that?
Now, here is a trick I just taught a friend of mine that showed up at my door with her first glider that is also a rescue. I suspect this glider is around six months old (although I cannot be sure as I am not a vet
) and I don't think she had been handled much at all. Here was my advice, let the sugar glider think it's his/her idea.
If you want your glider to come to you from it's pouch in the cage, you have to show it why it would want to do this. Grab a cup of mealies (or whatever treat you want to use). Take the treat and call to your glider using whatever you want. I like to just make the smooching/kissy sound like you would to call a dog. My glider have learned to associate this sound with treat time. Anyway, if you call enough, they should show interest at some point. If not, that's okay. Open the cage door and stick your hand in with the treat. Call to them as you do this. Again, they should eventually pop up to see what you've got, but you may end up having to basically dangle it in front of them in the pouch. That's okay. One step at a time. When they finally take the treat, you have success number one. Go from there. Eventually, they will be meeting you at the cage door for treat time and they think it's their idea!
Also, don't grab your gliders to pick them up and never come in from above. Take your hand and place it in front of you, palm down. Stick your thumb out to the side and make and L shape with your hand. What you want is for the glider to step up on your hand right at the webbed part by your thumb. So, if the glider if on your buddy's head, make the L shape and place the webbed part right at your glider's chest and move it downward toward the feet and back as you do it. This encourages them to step up on your hand. Again, now you have your suggie, your friend's head is safe from glider poo, and the glider thought coming to you was his/her idea!
I also want to mention that when it comes to hands and the bonding
process, you don't have to start with sticking your hands in the pouch. You can earn their trust other ways first and ease into more handling before trying to put your hand in the pouch with them. My problem usually isn't biting, it's grooming or them searching my skin and cuticles for treats. That's not really them being mean. It's actually their way of grooming you and accepting you or mistakenly thinking you are make of mealies, sap, or yogies.
This light nipping can usually be corrected by using the "Pssst!" technique discussed earlier.
Did I cover it all?