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Sugar Glider Attacked Me!

Jan 2, 2019

 Sugar Glider Attacked Me!


Hey everyone!

I just want to start out by giving some minor details about this incident. So I have been with my girlfriend for 3 years now, and I am over at her place 3-4 days out of the week. Every other week or so while I am over there, I make my way over to her glider's cage in the center of the living room and talk to him/play with him. She is usually around when I am interacting with the glider.

Most of the time when I am interacting with him, I put my finger in the cage for him to nibble at and give me kisses. It seems he has gotten to know me pretty well and my scent. Sometimes my girlfriend will even open up the cage to hold him and I will pet him carefully and he doesn't mind it. There has been a few occasions where I went over to his cage while my girlfriend was busy with something, and I'll open up the pouch he sleeps in and pet him and he will lick me and give me nibbles. Well, until today...

This afternoon when I was over there waiting for my girlfriend to get home, I saw that the glider was outside of his sleeping quarters and was hopping around in the cage. I went over to the front and opened the door ever so slightly and reached to pet him while he was looking at me (very slowly not to startle him). Well, the moment I reached in he latched onto me and bit my index finger very hard, drawing blood. My reaction was to take my hand away and close the cage door really quick, but he was very pissed off and wouldn't let go, biting down even harder on me with his claws around my hand still gnawing on my finger. While in a bit of pain, I pulled his body away with my right hand while he was still latched onto me as fast as I could, and he didn't budge. He started to bite down on my other finger, this time drawing a lot of blood. I finally managed to grab him firmly and pull his body away and threw him into the back of the cage. I closed the cage door and walked off, very very pissed off.

It took about 30 minutes for the bleeding to stop from the wounds he created on my hands (managed to bite my right hand a few times too). Keep in mind that I have been bitten by many other animals but this was one of the most painful continuous bites I have ever received...

I'm looking for reasons why he would act out this way today. I was never aggressive with him in the past and didn't startle him or approach him in any threatening way. I'm still puzzled about the whole situation. My girlfriend was very shocked that this happened because this is the first incident of him full on attacking someone. My hands now have a bunch of red bite marks all over them and I made sure to clean the wounds appropriately. Please help!


 Comments

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Jan 04 2019 : 07:56:23 PM
ten4city
I know pulling his body away from my hand was probably the wrong thing to do since he found it as a threat but it happened so quickly that was my initial reaction. Next time this occurs, I will try the treat technique! Thanks!

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Jan 04 2019 : 07:54:30 PM
ten4city
Thanks for the feedback guys. Just for clarification, when I was interacting with him that day, I had no intentions of pulling him outside the cage to hold him. I just wanted to open the cage so my whole hand could get through to pet him. Now that you mention it, there may have been a threatening new scent on my hand that day. I had been playing with her two little yorkies not even an hour before this happened. I will make sure to wash my hands if I ever get near the glider again. The sugar gliders name is Buddy by the way :)

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Jan 04 2019 : 10:59:22 AM
sjusovare
On a side note, trying to pull him out was exactly the thing not to do, it did encourage him to bite even more as a defense, the best thing to do if it occures again is to blow on his nose, or, even if it's counterintuitive, to give him a treat in order to distract him (the latter is only to be done in case of emergency, he should not get the idea that biting makes him have treats)

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Jan 04 2019 : 10:56:11 AM
sjusovare
It might have been an unusual scent your had on you that he perceived as a threat. Their sense of smell is much more developped than ours, so we do not necessarily realize that we do smell, for that reason, I never put my hands anywhere near gliders without have washed them right before. Another thing to considere is that if he was out of his pouch at a time which is unusual for him, it might be because something was stressing him out 1st place, in which case he would attack pretty much anything going near his teeth.

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Jan 03 2019 : 02:04:05 PM
BYK_Chainsaw
can't say for sure why, but a few experiences. we got gus, a very nice non biting male. We had him and mary separate before we introduced them to the colony. I petted the colony gliders, then went to gus's cage he jumped on my arm and started running, jumping and nipping all over my arms, nothing to deep but scared the heck out of me, until I figure out it was the scent of other gliders. sounds like it's more then a food scent too. kind of like the glider seemed to have a big need to protect his territory. I just don't have an idea why.

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