Wednesday, June 4, 2014

General Guide to Sugar Glider Physiology, Behavior, and Interaction

The following notes cover essential points about sugar glider physiology and basic behavior patterns. Use this information to better understand why your sugar glider (SG) is behaving in a particular manner.

1. Information about the group or colony is passed around through scents. If you introduce a new sugar glider to an existing colony, it will most likely be scented by the dominant sugar glider. Either this happens, or a fight will ensue.

2. Only male suggies have scenting glands on their faces. This makes it easy to differentiate males from females. Male glider bears are keener to mark their territories than females.

3. A sugar bear that has been replaced by a more dominant member of the colony can become depressed and may begin to exhibit signs of depression.

The behavior of other sugar bears toward particular gliders in a group also has a direct bearing on how a suggie will behave in the long-term. For example, if a sugar bear is regularly bullied by older and stronger gliders, the weaker sugar bear may become depressed or may exhibit excessive aggression.

4. Fights that ensue because a new suggie has been introduced to an existing group should be prevented because adult sugar bears have been known to fight 'intruders' to the death. At the first sign of aggression, remove the newcomer and transfer the new sugar bear to a separate cage.

5. The dominant male of a group should not be removed because this will cause stress to the entire group. Stress can eventually lead to extreme symptoms like self-mutilation.

Some pet owners remove the dominant male to facilitate the entry of a new SG. This approach may or may not work, because the colony system of honey gliders is so important that other members of the group become physiologically weakened when a dominant member is forcibly removed from the group.

6. Rubbing a piece of fabric to a newcomer's body would be a better approach when introducing new gliders to an existing group. Let the old gliders bond with the smell before showing the existing group their new member. This way, the entry of the new member will have less of a negative impact on the existing group.

7. New gliders should be placed in a starter's cage for at least 21 days before being introduced to the existing colony or group. This is done to reduce the chances of spreading infection or disease.

8. If a new SG has been attacked or has not been integrated through general scenting, the sugar glider must be taken out and placed in a separate cage once again. Any attempts to re-integrate the new honey glider should be done after one or two weeks.

9. Honey bears are naturally active at night because this marsupial species is nocturnal. In the wild, honey bears hunt at night as well.

10. Behavior synchronization is sometimes observed in small groups of sugar bears. If one glider becomes alarmed, it is possible that the others will become alarmed as well.

11. When temperatures drop, a colony of honey bears will group closely together to raise or maintain their body temperatures.

12. The gestation period of sugar bear is only fifteen to seventeen days.

13. A sugar glider can reproduce any time of the year.

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