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 My 2 sugar gliders are friendly but bites until blood is drawn

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kochipochi Posted - Feb 19 2023 : 11:06:58 PM
Hello everyone! I recently adopted 2 sugar gliders from a previous owner (named Supra and Evo) (one is a year and a half while the other is a few months old) and so far bonding with them is a pleasant experience. They stopped crabbing at me after 2 days and were comfortable to climb around my arm and body while in a bonding tent since day 3.

If i ever want to get them on my arm, I will make a fist to prevent them from bitting my fingers (they have done it before, just not enough to draw blood and I will always respond with a loud tss). I also made sure to not chase them around to scare them, I would usually just place my arm slowly a few CM away from them and would let them climb on me.

However the problem arised after 4 days when they started bitting harder (about once or twice a day) and they would bite at weird places (Wrist, heel, toes, elbows, fingers (but rarely)). From my understanding I didn't do anything to proc a bite (eg chase them around) they usually just crawl around my body then suddenly bite me until blood is drawn. This confuses me because we would play in the bonding tent (they would climb up and then jump to my extended hand) and out of no where just bite a part of my body really hard. Recently, the Tss sound doesn't even work anymore as they would stop for awhile before continuing to bite the same spot again.

Is there anyone that can provide advise on teaching them to stop biting so hard or an explanation as to why they suddenly want to bite with alot of force? I am just very confused at how friendly and playful they can be and then suddenly just bitting very hard.
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kazko Posted - Mar 02 2023 : 10:06:46 AM
YOU are the parent now. If you want to discourage a behavior, you need to respond to it immediately and confidently. Since you cannot converse with the critters, immediately is the only way to communicate against behaviors. And yes, they will "test" you increasingly because it is what they do until such time where they are sure what you are and are not.

An example: It is very common for a first-born to be eaten by the mother, because the new mother isnt quite sure what this new thing is. This is animal behavior at its most basic. If you can understand where the critter might be coming from, you can better understand how to actually communicate with it.

So WAIT for the next nip, and then RESPOND to it with a very loud and abrupt "SHHHHHHHHT". They wont quite like it and can eventually learn that it means YOU don't like what they did... Just watch them interacting. They squeak at each other a lot. So do the same.

Anything else is up to you. Some critters are responsive, some are not. Being locked up in a cage 24x7 would make anybody a bit nutty anyway.

BYK_Chainsaw Posted - Feb 21 2023 : 04:02:37 PM
I would start by switching to cage time instead of tent time for a few weeks.
you should get a treat. dried mealworms, yogurt drop. at night when they come
out of pouch. I would feed them a treat, get them to climb on our hand/arm to get
the treat. then see if they will sit on your arm and eat the treat.
this could teach them that your arm is more for sitting while eating a taste
treat, rather then YOU being the treat.
gliders do love to groom, I had one that would find a spot on me and start
grooming until it would bleed. so I would just move them away as they groomed to
having a few treats available during tent time might help also.