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Why is only one sugar glider biting me?
Why is only one sugar glider biting me?
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Jan 30 2019
06:22:35 AM
We got Sugar Bear, our female about 3 weeks ago. We our newbies and keep reading and reading as we go learning more about our little fur babies. Last weekend we got Liam, our male. They have already bonded and are in the same cage now. SB is my wife's and Liam is mine. We are still trying to bond with them but tent time seems to be going quite well. Liam has made huge progress and for the most part isn't biting anymore. Sugar Bear however bites me every chance she gets. I have to wear gloves now because she will draw blood she bites so hard. She doesn't bite my wife though just me. She will crawl all over me during tent time but whether she is in there or in her cage, the second she can get to my fingers she will bite, every time. Why? Is there anything I can do? It's getting ridiculous at this point as it hurts and is only me she is biting. Thanks in advance!
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Jan 30 2019
02:40:38 PM
RustyFarace Starting Member Visit RustyFarace's Photo Album RustyFarace's Journal 3 Posts
Hey Greg,
Im kind of in the same boat, I have adopted a seven-year-old female that I am bonding with my two-year-old neutered male. They seem to be getting along great. My male Noxx Has never bitten anyone in his life and has been handled by several people. Jinxx the female Is a biter and granted Ive only had her a couple days now it seems she just loves to test bite every now and again. Everything that I read keeps suggesting that you continue to bond with her and offer her treats from your hand. Maybe you and your wife swap gliders? Get her really use to you, make a loud pisss noise every time she tries to bite, it will let her know you dont like it...This is how they communicate dislike between each other. Try not to hold your fingers in front of her face at first, instead just pet her and anytime she goes to bite make that pisss sound. Jinxx Has bit me several times and unfortunately you kinda have to let them so they know it does nothing She is testing her boundaries And yes it hurts like a SOB! Lol
Sugar gliders mouths are actually designed to mash, so if you dont pull away no skin should be broken, its only when someone pulls away fast that their teeth can rip the skin...
I hope this helps, definitely start with having her on you during the day more often, when she sleeps she bonds, so she just gets a general calming sense with you. Hang in there buddy. :)
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Jan 30 2019
06:36:05 PM
SugarSlave566 Joey 15 Posts
Hello, when I first got my sugar gliders I kinda had the same problem as you. I agree that they could be testing their boundaries, but I want you to keep in mind that they will sink their teeth in anything that smells like it could be tasty. So I advise you to always wash your hands before being near them and don't use any food scented lotion such as peach. What I personally don't agree with is letting your sugar gliders bite you. I personally do not believe that letting them bite you makes them less likely to bite you. When I was bonding with my sugar gliders they liked to nibble at muy fingers, but through keeping my fingers away from their face and with time they eventually got over it and don't nibble my fingers anymore. Also it's pretty much instinct to pull away after getting bitten so I think it's pretty unreasonable for most people to let their gliders bite them.
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Jan 31 2019
09:44:47 AM
RustyFarace Starting Member Visit RustyFarace's Photo Album RustyFarace's Journal 3 Posts

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Jan 31 2019
10:56:33 PM
SugarSlave566 Joey 15 Posts
There are many different sites with lots of different and conflicting opinions, but from my own experience and the experience of a lot of glider owners you don't need to take the bites. I never took bites and yet my gliders never bite anymore.
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Feb 01 2019
06:51:33 PM
BYK_Chainsaw Fuzzy Wuzzy Visit BYK_Chainsaw's Photo Album BYK_Chainsaw's Journal USA 1067 Posts
Hi greg,
My thoughts are that there is some scent on your hands that is getting your
glider to bite you and NOT your wife. I'm thinking this because he is not
biting your wife. the only other thought is maybe its the way you are handling
your glider, sticking your fingers in front of his face maybe, and maybe your
wife isn't handling him this way.
It also takes awhile for a glider to get bonded to humans, some of them
a very long time, months. you say you have only had them days.

We have had gliders for about 4 years, up to 15 of them, now at 11 and soon
downsizing to 1 colony of 6...hopefully. That seems to be the number we can
really handle and give them attention. So I'm not a long time guru but my
thoughts on biting.
I don't let my gliders bite me if possible, I don't take the bite. If I have
a newer glider I can't handle I use fleece on my hands. Our colony of 6 we have one
that is not bonded to us 100% and she may get upset and give me a tiny nip if I bug her in sleeping pouch. It's a doesn't even hurt nip. the other 5 either don't
bite or a couple may give a small nip if I really start to overhandle/ bug them.

I say don't take the bite because of the main reasons they bite.
1. in sleeping pouch, you invade their home, scare them and they bite in
defensive. this glider needs more bonding time to trust you, not for you to take
a painful bite...my belief.
2. My feet and toes smell like a tasty treat, so I now wear socks in the glider
room, they smell my toe and take a test bite, I move them away, I don't let them
keep tasting my toe.
3. A new glider is scared of their human, doesn't trust him or being picked up,
probably for fear of being eaten (similar to the pouch bite) so in defensive of
being picked up and eaten they bite to escape....bond with this glider so he can
trust you and not need to defend themselves. A book I read said anything smaller
then then a glider (in a gliders mind) is food, anything larger then a glider is
a predator. You need to take away this natural fear that your a predator.

taking the bite may work, I have never used it, and not taking the bite has
worked on all 15 gliders we have had. Pinkie came to us a white glider with red
eyes, he lunged and crabbed and acted like he was going to take my finger OFF, very fierce and angry. I still can't pick him up, but I hand feed him, he sits on my hand, sometimes walks on me, I pet him all over with 3 finger almost cupping him.
as long as I don't pick him up he is fine, doesn't even try to bite, but freaks and runs if I start to lift up, he just needs more work more bonding time.
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Feb 03 2019
01:01:14 AM
Greg081580 Starting Member 3 Posts
Thanks guys for the opinions and advice. So far it hasn't gotten any better, if anything it's gotten worse. Last night she drew blood. So I gave up for the night. Tonight during tent time it was a disaster. Started off good, they were kind and slow to wake up but when they did it quickly went down hill. If she wasn't climbing on me she was attacking my fingers. So I put on some gloves. That only made it worse. Then Liam for the first time started biting at my fingers too. It went from one bite to six in the matter of 30 seconds. Idk if it was the leather gloves or just playing or what but it was like I was under attack. I tried blowing air, I've tried the psst sound, none of it works. I try taking the bites, I've already done the pulling away, all ends in the same result, more biting. I love my little fur babies but I get tired of being a human chew toy.

I've tried washing my hands, distracting with toys or treats, doesn't seem to phase the persistent little terds. Hand sanitizer is the only thing that has stopped them. But I can't keep doing that. Any other suggestions?
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Feb 03 2019
06:34:36 AM
Kferg Face Hugger Visit Kferg's Photo Album 557 Posts
Hello Greg!
I'm sorry about the trouble you're having. It sounds very distressing.

Okay. I always start with "I'm no expert ".

I'm thinking about this like a behaviorist. Behavior (biting) happens to get e desired result, and your girl has "learned " that biting gets her what she wants. So let's look at what happens before the biting and after the biting.

Do you take them out of the cage, or do they come to you to go to tent time? How do you take them out of the cage? How do they go from the cage to the tent?

In the tent: try to figure out what happened the exact moment before the biting. What was it? What happened after the biting? (I'm wondering if she's trying to get back to the cage?)

You said the second she can get to my fingers she will bite. So, don't ever have your fingers out. Sounds weird, right? But think about it. She doesn't want your fingers near her for whatever reason. And you don't actually need to have your fingers near her. In the tent- keep your hands in fists, tucked under your arms. When she tries to go near your hands, have the wife distract her away with a treat or a toy (my gliders love to chase a feather). If you need to pick her up, don't. Put a few yummy treats in her sleeping pouch and when she goes in, fold the top down and transport her that way. And yeah, don't pet her for now. Don't worry- someday you can pet her. But for now, she doesn't want your fingers near her and by keeping them away you're teaching her to trust you.

I'm really wondering if she wants back in the cage, so I think I would also cut down tent time to the smallest amount of time you can have without her biting you. In other words, if she bites you after 5 minutes, then only do 3 minutes, then trick her back into her pouch and put her back into the cage. That way you teach her that going back into the cage doesn't happen after biting, but rather when she goes back into her pouch.

Gliders are smart! They are good learners. Good luck!
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Feb 03 2019
09:38:05 AM
Greg081580 Starting Member 3 Posts
Well I am no expert either, obviously! ;) I use their bonding pouch to transport them from their cage to the tent. During the week my tent time is at night after my toddlers are in bed, so usually after 8pm. During the weekends I can in the afternoon when it's nap time. But we always use the pouch and almost always they crawl in by themselves and in the tent they crawl out by themselves. If she is in the cage she will bite no matter what. If my hand gets near the sides or enters the cage she will bite. Now while in the tent it's weird. They will be happy crazy little babies running and jumping all around. We got one of them mosquito net pop-up tents. So they're playing and crawling all over us and no problems. I can sit just fine, I can even pet sometimes. But if she sees exposed skin she goes for it to bite. I have to wear a hoodie now because she will bite my neckline or my ears too, when I'm not even attempting to touch her, I'm just sitting still. Now with my hands I'm just sitting there minding my own business, she's playing around and once she sees my fingers she will go out of her way to come to them to bite. I don't get it. I'm starting to wonder if it's a pheromone issue, not my body puts out a pheromone that's tasty to her, or my body wash scent. Idk, but there's no rhyme or reason to her biting other than exposed skin equals her biting me.
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Feb 03 2019
02:18:44 PM
Kferg Face Hugger Visit Kferg's Photo Album 557 Posts
Hmmmm...definitely food for thought on the pheromones issue. I've never heard about that with gliders.

As for the cage, if I read correctly you've only had her a couple weeks, right? That's really no time at all for a scared glider. My guess would be that she's very afraid and/or protective of her home. She really needs time to learn that you're part of her colony and you're safe. So maybe, as much as possible, right now try not to put your hands in or near the cage. Just sit next to it and talk to her for a week or so. Then maybe pick it up a notch after doing that by offering a lick of yogurt off your finger through the bars. If you do that, remember to only let her get like three licks before you slowly move your finger out of reach because sometimes they decide it's so yummy they take a bite! After doing that successfully for a week or so, try offering a yogurt drop or other treat from between the bars. After that, try through the open door of the cage. Take each step slowly to teach her you're safe.

Tent time...keep your skin covered. She doesn't like it! Lol. I have read posts on here about gliders who don't seem comfortable with skin. Other than that, I'm sticking with my original recommendations on tent time.

Try to remember that she is basically a wild animal, even if you got her from a breeder who handled her. It may take time for her to learn to trust you. And by time I mean weeks or months of patience going slowly and at her own speed, only doing things she is comfortable with both in the tent and in her cage.

For reference- I have two gliders that were difficult to bond with. One I adopted from a Craigslist ad that said something like "glider that likes to bite and make you bleed " and one came from a breeder who handled him every day. They were both terrified. One was pouch protective like you wouldn't believe (from the breeder). Both can be manhandled now when I trim their nails. I did basically what I'm recommending for you.

I hope that helps!
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Feb 03 2019
03:13:57 PM
BYK_Chainsaw Fuzzy Wuzzy Visit BYK_Chainsaw's Photo Album BYK_Chainsaw's Journal USA 1067 Posts

are they babies or adult rescues?

If adult, this seems like a learned behavior and you will need to do some
work to get her to unlearn it.

If a baby, I think its more of a new and strange place, and one way she/he is
dealing with it is to bite the new human.

Either way, I would start by feeding them treats through the cage bars, talking
to them, and letting your wife do any tent time. I would keep my hands away from
them, and since they are biting any part of you just keep them out of biting reach.

I think next I would start like with any new glider, once I start feeling they
are not going to bite me, feeding treats through bars, I will open cage door and
feed them treats (on a very small plate if I feel they will bite treat and my finger) then as they are eating, MEALWORMS MOSTLY, I will try to pet them while they are to distracting to bite me.
this process may take days or weeks or more, you have to watch their reaction
and see how they react to you or YOUR HAND. Once they are happy eating a treat
and letting you pet them, maybe you can try tent time again.

Again, I don't get bit by new gliders, cause I don't let them bite me. Now
gliders do and can bite, so from time to time, nail cutting, grooming my hair they
will try to bite, or pull my hair out grooming.

just go back to square one, don't give them access to biting you PERIOD!!
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Why is only one sugar glider biting me?

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Why is only one sugar glider biting me?