Sugar Glider twin orphans in need of names

(Petaurus breviceps)

10gr sugar glider twins

10gr sugar glider twins

The Sugar Glider’s scientific name translates to ‘short-headed rope dancer’ although I don’t know if there are any ‘long-headed rope dancers’ out there. In any case, these tiny babies have survived a few days and seem to be thriving despite, the trauma of losing mum and out of pouch too early.

A domestic cat killed their mother and dragged the body home to display to the family one night last week. Unfortunately, nobody thought to check the pouch until the next day when dumping the body of the ‘possum’ into the bin. The twin joeys were cold and limp when the guilt-ridden cat owner called them in. Furless, ears not up yet, eyes still closed and weighing 8 & 10grams, they were helpless and vulnerable. The weight puts them at around 55 days old (according to the chart for Sugar Gliders which I assume them to be since the cat had decapitated the mother during his playtime.)

I brought their body temperature up slowly over a few hours while focussed on rehydration at the rate of one drop each per hour. They live in a hotbox (stable temperature and humidity) and are doing well enough for me to name them. I wanted to share their progress so heated up a room and took them out for a minute of video. It’s a short, not very professional taping but I can’t risk stressing them with retakes etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n9Nx_0GT3E

Sugar gliders can be found in forests in the eastern states of Australia. Nocturnal feeders and silent gliders means not many people have the pleasure of seeing one in the wild.  They build tidy bowl shaped nests from green eucalypt leaves and live in community groups, complete with a dominant male who uses glands on his head and chest to scent-mark territory and even other members of his group. They breed twice a year between June to January in the wild but the pet trade breeds them a third time in some cases. Birth happens 16 days after breeding generally with twins or triplets. Like most other marsupials (pouch young) joeys tiny, this species reaches six (6) grams at 50 days.

They live the nest and forage for themselves at 50gr / 120days old. Communication is verbal with a series of yips, squeals and hisses.

As foraging adults they eat a range of different foods to stay healthy. Insects, nectar and polled, seeds and eucalyptus sap which they’ll scrape the bark of trees to get to.  Adults weigh 150 to 170 grams and can glide up to 100 metres. They can live for nine years in the wild and around five as domestic pets.

 

Here’s a photo of what they’ll look like as adults. I hear they’re hugely popular pets in the US and I’m happy to let you guys recycle any suitable names already in use.

Finally, I need to let you know we have one male and one female to name, so post back some suggestions, or vote for a suggestion someone else made. I know they are very popular pets and enthusiasts house them in huge enclosures which allow them to glide while others keep them in little bird cages. I only ask you to do the best you can for the needs of any pet in your care – oh,  and please be responsible cat owners….

Until next month, be well

Vicki Lee

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10 Responses to Sugar Glider twin orphans in need of names

  1. PET trade???? I thought taking wildlife out of the country was illegal. They are so tiny, poor little guys. Glad to know they’re doing well. Names – sorry, I’d go something dumb like Tommy and Tricia.

  2. Oh how tiny they are miracles…I would take names from miracle like Mira and Les:)

  3. Vicki Lee says:

    Hi Greta, You can keep Wildlife species as pets if you buy from a licenced breeder and obtain a licence to do so. I have chatted with a lady keeping a wallaby in an apartment in Athens for eg and a few people in the USA who have more suitable properties with fenced, big, grassed backyards etc.
    In Australia the sugar gliders are so popular you often see want ads offering to pay hundreds for them.

    Hi Doreen, thanks for your suggestions. I’ve named a new ringtail possum, Mira, so she’ll get her own post soon.

    Sugar and Spice seem to be the favourite names for the twin glider babies so I’ve starting referring to them that way. Thanks to everyone who helped in the decision making on here and via my facebook pages.

  4. Lexus says:

    This site is like a classroom, ecepxt I don\’t hate it. lol

  5. kipluck says:

    FIVE as domestic pets? Only if they are being taken care of terribly! Domestic sugar gliders in the US on a correct diet, with a large enclosure (plus hours of our of cage time), enrichment, etc. live upwards of 15 years, NOT 5. There have even been gliders who have lived to 20 but they are rare. My male died unexpectedly of a tumor last summer.. I had owned him for 8 years, but he was a rescue so I don’t know his EXACT age, but his previous home had him for 2 years. They were not his first home, so he was at least 11? He was completely active and in perfect health except for the tumor that took him. My girls are 9 years old, and while they are showing their age a bit (Epiphany is a bit crankier and both have started to thin out a little on their head like a male (a sign they are basically “post-menopausal” you might say) and are a little chubbier than they used to be, they are still healthy.

    Greta, in the US almost none of the sugar gliders been “taken out of Australia” in years. Certainly not in the 10 years I have owned and rescued them. My girls have recorded pedigrees 10 generations back. That is not to say that all gliders are treated correctly here. There are “glider mills” that I fight to shut down constantly and spend hours everyday trying to better educate people about sugar gliders so that they are cared for correctly.

    • Vicki Lee says:

      Bless you kipluck! I wish everyone who accepted a pet into their life (any pet) would be as responsible regarding the diet, exercise and housing etc. These two were moved to a 10foot x 10foot enclosure and made their home in a small wooden box (the opening of which kept anything bigger out.) When ready for release, the box was secured beneath a high branch in a tree and they could come and go at will. Checked on them about a week later and found five in there snuggled together…

  6. barb says:

    Hi there,
    Those babies are little miracles kudos to you 🙂
    I was just wanting to comment on the part where you mention domestic sugar gliders live 5 years.. did you mean to put a one in the front of the 5.. because with the proper care and the right foods they live to be 15 years my oldest boy is 12 years old 🙂

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