Introducing New Gliders


It seems there are a lot of threads lately with people getting new sugar gliders and not knowing how to do intros or not taking advice on doing intros. Don't get me wrong, I had no idea how to intro either. I thought maybe if we share what we know, what's worked and what's recommended, that could be helpful. I'm glad to know people are getting their sugar gliders cagemates too!

Here is a great thread regarding intros as well:

[http://www.sugarglider.com/glidergossip/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=25918 ]

Choosing a "friend":

1. If you are going with a breeder, find out if it's at least a reputable one or not. Do your research and try to find out their reputation. Ask them lots of questions. See if they know basic glider info, if they have a vet and if it's been seen by one, how old the joey is, if they know the lineage at all. Check your local Craigslist, shelters and rescues. Check petfinder.com, hoobly,com, kijiji.com. Check the classifieds on glider sites. So many need homes! Don't purchase from a mill breeder at a tradeshow, flea market, mall booth, etc... Shelters are over-flowing and so many unwanted gliders truly need you.

2. Most importantly, find out the age! Don't get a sugar glider that is under 10-12 weeks old. If your heart is set on one and it isn't old enough, ask them to hold it a little longer. Put down a deposit if you have to, but it needs to be with mom.

3. Set up a well-check with your own exotic vet and have them do an exam and add a fecal smear/float test to check for parasites. This isn't routine so you may have to request it. This is very important so nothing can be passed to yours. This goes for sugar gliders coming from pets stores as well, even that they claim have been checked out. There are so many animals at a pet store-so many people-so many hands. No matter what you're told, you do not know if the glider has actually been seen by a vet, had a fecal or their actual history. Some breeders and pet stores will tell you anything to make a sale.

4. They should be similar in size to yours at the time of intros in the event one needs to protect itself from the other.

5. In my personal opinion, age does not matter (as in, older gliders). Some may disagree. Many of us have stories of "older" sugar gliders we've taken in and had great success with.

6. Sex does matter. If you already have a female, another female is best. If you get a male and it is not neutered, be prepared for either joeys or for scheduling a neuter with your vet. Also be prepared for more smell with unneutered males. It's what they do. If you choose to not get him neutered, at least give them the courtesy of educating yourself on pregnancy and joeys BEFORE allowing them to mate. Be prepared for joey rejection and all the responsibilty that goes with it. Know what mom needs. Chances are that won't happen, but it does and you'll need to know what to do. Also consider that if you have male joeys, they need to be neutered so they won't try to breed with mom. If you have a girl, dad will try to mate with her also! You don't want inbreeding. Educate yourself about mating wounds. It's also recommended that you have gliders for a year before allowing them to breed. Not only that, females should be at least a year old before being allowed to have her own joeys. Know when enough is enough too.

If you already have a neutered male, introducing a female is usually easiest. Males are territorial and like to be the king of their domain. You may find this with dominant females as well.

If you already have a neutered male, some have had success with introducing other neutered males. It is never a good a idea to have more males than females nor is it ever a good idea to have unneutered males together. Males that have been raised together tend to also get along better but that doesn't mean one won't turn on the other once they've sexually matured and especially if there's a female present.

If you're introducing a male to a bonded male/female pair, you could be asking for trouble and fighting. You may not notice aggression until the female goes into heat. Males will fight over the female and you are risking the safety of all of them.

When they come home:

1. Have a separate cage ready in another area and please resist the urge to throw them together in your current suggar glider's cage. That's like putting you in someone's house and having the door locked behind you. How many are in the house? Are they mean or nice? Where are they? Will they like you? Will they gang up on you? Will they reject you? Will they share their food? Their bed? Deal with it...you're stuck there with the door locked. Doesn't sound like much fun, does it? Sugar gliders are hugely scent oriented. The scent of another unfamiliar sugar glider can upset them and cause them to be violent. Also, vet checks are a must before introducing.

2. The quarantine is recommended for both mental and physical health reasons. There are parasites that lay dormant and can take weeks to manifest. This is also why a fecal float/smear test is important. If you insist on not waiting, again, give them the courtesy at least of taking them to the vet first. If you have a new little one that's not quite as big as the others, this is good enough reason alone to wait a little while. Quarantine time is the perfect time for neutering males as well. It's also a time for the new one(s) to get used to their new environment..all the new sights, scents, sounds.

3. After the 30 day quarantine and an "all clear" from the vet, you can try swapping pouches and toys from each other's cages to get them accustomed to each other's scents. You can also move the cages into the same room to see how they react. Never have the cages so close that they can reach through the bars and touch each other. They can still harm each other through the bars if they do not get along.

Intro time!

Two words-NEUTRAL TERRITORY!!!

1. Preferably, somewhere neither is familiar with.tent, bathtub, separate room than they're used to, etc Be prepared to possibly have to break up a fight if need be. Don't ever leave them alone.

2. Do not have food involved

3. Try when they're still sleepy

4. Try not to leave a pouch laying around for one to go hide in. It probably isn't wise to have one enter the other's pouch without them knowing what's coming. If they're pouch protective, they could get angry.

5. Don't force them together. If they want to check each other out, they will. They are curious little creatures as it is.

6. Be patient! Just because you want them to get along, doesn't mean they will. They may run to each other and be instant friends or they may attack each other. While most of the time intros are successful, sometimes they are not. Be prepared for anything.

7. You might hear noises you've never heard before-little clicks (I have found this to be friendly), a "soot" sound like air blowing through a straw (again, in my experience has not been an aggressive noise), crabbing-which you've probably heard. When I put mine (in their cages) near each other before they were introduced, I heard the clicking and "soot" noises all the time. I had never heard it before that. There will be a difference between them making noise or a crab at each other and fighting. You will know when they're fighting. It looks mean, it sounds mean, it's aggressive, they'll probably ball up...someone could get hurt and they'll have to be physically separated. One may get on the other or pin the other down. The other may not care or they may fight back. They may crab or swipe at each other but it may only be quick and then they're checking each other out. Just be there "just in case" and separate them quickly if they are balled up and fighting. You can use a large piece of fleece or gloves to help protect your hands from being bitten. spraying them with water is NOT recommended

I finally got to record some of the sounds but I had to do it with my camera so I'm sorry about the dark screen. You can hear the clicking noises first thing (you may have to turn up your sound):

Link to a recording of glider sounds

When I introduced a male (3 years old and neutered) to my girls, one of my girls ran right up to him, grabbed his face with both hands, lifted his head up and proceeded to rub her head all over his chest and never left his side (or his back)the rest of the night. The other girl acted like he wasn't even there. There was a lot of tail-lifting and butt-sniffing...and I mean a lot!

The night they met: Click to view

Her rubbing her head all over him: Click to view

Inseparable! She wouldn't stay off of or away from him (sorry it's blurry): Click to view

My other female is nowhere in sight and she could've cared less.

8. If you are uneasy or don't feel like you're sure they're getting along or not, don't leave them alone all night. Separate them-don't make them fend for themselves...Try it again another time. If they are fighting every time, it just might not be meant to be and you need to understand before getting another that you may have to accept the fact that you have multiple cages to care for. When you do decide to let them stay together, try it during the day first when you can be around to keep an eye on them and then watch them as they wake up for the night.

9. If you are introducing a single glider into a pair or colony, you may need to try introducing one on one. You don't want the new one being ganged up on.

Successful intros are very common and can be stress-free. When it's hard, is normally when people ignore advice and can't get over their own impatience. This isn't the time to be selfish.

Feel free to add, correct, tell your story, experiences, whatever...



Last Edited November 9, 2011



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