Picking Up and Bonding With a Sugar Glider Baby
They’re tiny, soft and cute and you just can’t wait to get your hands on one and snuggle it. However, waiting to do so is important for the health and well-being of the tiny marsupial. Before attempting to pick up a sugar glider baby, learn the proper procedure so it will be a good experience for both the marsupial baby and you.
You only get one chance to make a first impression and the initial bonding process between you and a sugar glider baby starts the second you attempt to pick the tiny baby up. You must do it correctly or the bonding process will be at least hindered, or at worst possibly damaged beyond repair.
The cage should be properly set up so picking up your baby will be less traumatic for both you and the tiny sugar glider.
A heat rock with a soft towel or piece of fabric draped over it should be inside the cage. The marsupial will always need to be kept warm and a heat rock is an essential component inside the cage to provide a steady supply of warmth. Baby sugar gliders will be snuggled under the towel most of time they’re inside the cage. That’s a good thing and you do not want to uncover them when you reach inside the cage to pick them up.
The fabric used inside the cage should be soft, non-toxic and without any raw edges that could unravel. The sugar glider’s hands have tiny nails that can easily be caught in certain types of fabric and get broken off, so be careful of the choice of fabric for the cage because a broken nail is a painful experience for a sugar glider of any age.
During the first few days and first few times you attempt to pick up your baby sugar glider it will put on a scary and intimidating act. The wild act is meant to cause predators to back off, don’t be scared off by the act or the bonding process will take longer than necessary. Ignore this wild act the marsupial displays and calmly proceed to pick the baby up with these following steps.
Once you learn the process of picking up a sugar glider baby, you will be able to do it swiftly and safely and the tiny baby will remain asleep and motionless during the transfer process.
Call your baby (babies) by name as you come near the cage. Talk in a low, soft, soothing tone of voice as you open the cage door and reach inside. Leave the cover in place and gently begin to stroke it until you locate your baby (babies). While you continue to talk softly, use a gentle touch and pick up your tiny marsupial(s) while they are still wrapped up in their cover. Remove them from their cage, still inside their cover, and gently transfer them to their bonding pouch. They will be wiggling and acting wild during the first few transfers, so keep them wrapped in cover and hold with a firm, yet gentle, grip to prevent them from falling.
Once inside the bonding pouch, do not look at them for a few minutes. Continue to speak their names, talk softly to them and gently stroke them. You will feel them begin to calm down and after they have settled down into the bonding pouch you can look at them.
Light and Smell
You want to prevent their tiny eyes from being exposed to bright light as much as possible and you want to keep them feeling secure while being lifted and moved. Keeping them wrapped in their cover will accomplish both, plus limit their exposure to other scents in the room.
Sugar gliders bond primarily by smell and the cover also protects their nostrils from picking up other scents in the room. The cover and bonding pouch will smell like you and that scent is the essential one for the tiny marsupial to constantly inhale so it will bond with you during the first few weeks of its life.
If your baby (babies) are awake and out from under their cover when you want to pick them up,follow these steps-
Turn the bonding pouch inside out and place your hand inside of it so it will be similar to a mitten over your hand. Reach inside the cage with the ‘mitted’ hand and quickly scoop up your baby and securely lift it outside of the cage. Do not let go of the baby and use your other hand to turn the bonding pouch right-side out and quickly sip it shut while extracting your hand.
Just in Case…
Keep a soft cloth nearby just in case your baby sugar glider gets away from you. Toss the cloth over the marsupial’s head and in will ‘freeze’ in place and you’ll be able to pick it up without a problem.