A lot of people have been publicly flaming about this now infamous "wet method" for group introductions. The good news is that most of them are not long term keepers and they have no idea of what they are talking about. I don't mind if this discussion keeps on going. I think it is healthy if folks will stop flaming about it. Opinions don't matter, results do matter. I have found over my 14 years of keeping sugar gliders that they exhibit much more desirable behaviors in larger colonies. From what I have learned, this is as it should be in the wild. I believe that most American keepers probably have no experience with a large colony to be able to understand the nuances of what I am referring to.
I am not your typical impulse buy sugar glider keeper. I have never carried my gliders around in a pouch. I have never taken them outside to play or to show to others. I dont baby them like so many others do. I keep them fed, clean, cared for, I interact with them when I can and I strive to give them the best life inside of a cage that they can have and that absolutely always includes being in numbers over 3 when possible. I also keep learning, experimenting and sharing as nothing is gained by operating "status-quo".
Sugar gliders do not know what is best for them. If you are keeping them as pets, you are already changing their natural behaviors and are forcing things onto them without their will which absolutely includes interacting with you. Forcing a successful merging is no different than this. It is no different than daintily swapping pouches to force them to smell the other animals. It is no different than forcing them to be together to meet and pray that they choose not to fight. You know it is in their best interest to get along so why not use every tool or method that you can to make it actually happen the very first time and ease the stress of the entire procedure. This becomes a gain for them and for you.
If you have a single glider and you add one, you will be amazed at the difference you see in both animals. Add a third and it gets better. Add a fourth and it gets better. And it just keeps getting better. The healthy interactions you see in a larger colony are missing in smaller groups. It is easier to breed a group if you are so inclined, but you can merge the groups as well using techniques that are all devised by people doing the experimenting.
You cannot deny that every sugar glider will be happier with cage mates. Even the stubbornest of mean gliders can chill out and begin to have a happier caged life if you can manage a merging. Why not do everything you can for success? One of the only things that comes to mind right now that I have not tried is to use drugs to temporarily modify their behavior in order to force a successful merger. Why wouldn't you do that if it worked?
If you can take a homeless sugar glider off of the street and give him a family that makes them all happier, why wouldn't you drug them for a week or get them wet to do it?
These animals are not that fragile. They don't simply die when you move them to a new home as other people would have you believe. They can have health issues due to stress but only from long term issues, not from a moment of scare or from being cold or force held in order to trim their nails. In my experience with possums, opossums and learning about other marsupials, I think that sugar gliders are the most durable of the infraclass. They can survive the hottest of summers and the coldest of winters by using their natural colony skills. In Australia you hear about larger marsupials dropping out of the trees from heat stroke but you dont get much of that from sugar gliders because they are simply survivors. If you keep your animals healthy, forcing a merging on them is nothing but a joy in the end as they get to have more interactions in their dismal cage life.
I have not yet been an advocate for this method but community upheaval at the idea of a few poor sugar gliders getting wet is absolutely ridiculous. So then yeah, I did it, I have been doing it for years, and I will always do it this way over other wasteful methods, because in my much more experienced opinion, it is easy for me, it is much easier for them, and it has been amazingly successful for me over the years and that is something you are just going to have to understand.
I currently have 19 sugar gliders that were all given to me and they are in 3 cages. I have had so many more in the past and have found them new homes. I have stopped accepting "rescues" as it is too mentally draining on me. I have used this procedure on so many and the only thing that has ever resulted in it is happy and healthy cages of sugar gliders.
So far in my sugar glider keeping career I have had one death here at my house and that was from an 8 year old obese female that I was given from a couple down in Louisiana who fed her mostly shrimp and apple and nuts. 25 days ago I merged 7 unrelated boys and they are doing so much better together than they were doing apart. There is no disputing that. No biting, no fussing, no wounds. Just try to show me something better, and you will find it is at the expense of your animals and probably of your own self.
I think I'm doing a good job. What are you doing?