bonding /ˈbɒndɪŋ/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[bon-ding] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun

  1. Psychology, Animal Behavior.
    1. a relationship that usually begins at the time of birth between a parent and offspring and that establishes the basis for an ongoing mutual attachment.
    2. the establishment of a pair bond.
  2. a close friendship that develops between adults, often as a result of intense experiences, as those shared in military combat.


Everyone seems to have a different definition and use for bonding. In every sense of the word, bonding is defined as a connection or attachment between two things. In animals it usually means between a parent and a child. A bonded attachment would be very hard or impossible to break.

People often think of mating pairs as bonded but I do not believe this is true. Bonding would suggest monogomous relationships and caged sugar gliders are not.

People overly use the term with sugar gliders to suggest that the animal can actually bond with its human owner. The correct word for that relationship would be taming. Animals generally bond with their own kind. Tame animals will interact with anyone even if they have a preference for their owner or "human familiar".




**As someone who did not write the article directly above about bonding vs taming, I have to disagree with the statement. Bonding is not monogamous. As humans, we have many different bonds with family, friends, and mate. As a glider, they can have bonds with each other as family, not necessarily monogamous, and bonds with human. I don't think it would be considered taming. Taming implies it is now domesticated and under human control. The glider may be used to it's owner and completely docile, but a stranger will rarely get the same obedience.

There are many things to know before bonding with your glider. First is that it usually takes months or even years to form a solid bond with your glider. Rarely will a glider bond with you during the first few days/week. Now don't take that to mean you're glider won't like you for months or years. It just takes that long to form a very solid bond. Here are some tips to bonding with your glider.

When you first get your glider home, place a dirty shirt (for instance the shirt you wore the day before) on the top of the cage. This is the first step in getting your gliders used to your scent. Now leave the gliders alone [other than feeding of course] for at least 24 hours so they can get used to all the new sounds and smells.

During that 24 hours, wear strips or pieces of fleece against your skin. These pieces can then be put in the sleeping pouch as another way to get the gliders used to your scent.

After the initial 24 hours, start carrying the pouch against you during the day. Wear two layers of shirts. If you are using a sleeping pouch, just remove the entire pouch and put it between the shirts. If you are using something a bit more bulky like a customized pouch, then transfer gliders into a bonding pouch and put that in between your shirts. Eventually you may even train your babies to sleep in your bra/shirt without a pouch. Eventually.. please do not try this early on as they may get out and into dangerous situations throughout the house. We'll go more into that later. While carrying them around, pet them from the outside of the shirt, then graduating to the outside of the pouch, and eventually to petting them directly in the pouch. This may not all happen within the first few weeks. Talk to them. Sing to them. This will get them more and more used to you. Note: Do not have the gliders on you if you are going outside [too dangerous, they could get away] or if you are using chemicals of any kind [for example: household cleaners].

Take your gliders out for tent time/bathroom time. It is very important that they get out of the cage every day for extra exercise. This is a great time to bond as well. If you have a tent with lots of mesh [the Genji tent is highly recommended] you can zip yourself and your gliders in there and let them out of the pouch. If you do not have a tent, the bathroom is the easiest room to glider proof. Remember, gliders can fit through anything you can fit your thumb into, so make sure all those areas are blocked. So plug all drains. Block all outlets. Make sure there are no holes leading into your cabinets/walls/pipes. If there are, cover them. Make sure the toilet lid is closed [at all times actually, gliders can not swim]. Block the bottom of the door. At this point, either in the bathroom or the tent, you can gently roll down the pouch like you would a sock and the gliders will come out. Then sit on the pouch so they can't get back in. This will force the gliders to explore and that will eventually lead them to you! They will crawl on you, jump on you, and jump off of you. It may take a few sessions before this happens though, don't be discouraged!

Use licky treats! Try dipping your finger in yogurt, honey, or applesauce [remember, unsweetened!] and letting them lick it off you. This will associate your hands and smell with treats. Remember to pull away before it's all gone though or they will bite to try to get more "sap" to come out of your finger. Just let them get 3 or 4 licks then redip your finger. This works wonders!

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Last Edited November 16, 2010