Sugar Glider Bonding: How to Pick & Handle A Sugar Glider
OK, let’s get started on your FIRST “Tip-o-the-Day”… by giving you a VERY important “shortcut” that you can use starting RIGHT NOW to help “DE-STRESS” you – and speed up the whole bonding process at the same time!
This “shortcut” is NOT included in the Quick Start Audio CD… so here goes!
Over the years, the pro’s here at PocketPets have helped literally tens of thousands of people just like you develop INCREDIBLY close and rewarding relationships with their Sugar Bears – and as you will soon see, one of the most STRESSFUL parts of getting to know each other (for both YOU and your new babies) is simply just “picking them up out of their cage” for the first time each day…
The truth is, no matter how much you listened to our audio CD or read the report, it can still be VERY “startling” to see just how scary one of these little critters can “ACT” when you try to pick it up during the first few days. In fact, they can act SO intimidating (and the key thing to remember here is that it’s all just an “ACT”) that if you don’t push yourself past that initial fear – it can take a lot longer for you and your new baby(ies) to bond properly.
Luckily, there is a VERY easy way to avoid – or at least minimize – this stressful situation almost every time – and here’s how it works….
First off, if your cage is setup properly, you should already have a towel or piece of clothing draped over your heat rock all the time. As you will soon see, this is KEY, because you will find that your new baby(ies) will actually be UNDER this cloth the majority of the time when you want to pick them up each day… and this is EXACTLY where you want them to be.
Just remember, when picking out the best fabric, make sure that it’s non-toxic and can’t unravel in any way that could accidentally hurt your little darling(s). You don’t want anything with loose ends that your babies can get their nails caught in. Again , if you want to be extra-careful, we already have pre-made, custom-sewn blankets made out of a glider-safe fleece and special, water-proof fabric that are specifically designed to promote your little buddy’s health…. hold your family’s scent…. and speed up the bonding process. If you want to check those out, they’re available in our online store.
Now, remember that baby sugar bears bond predominantly by SMELL – so if you were to just reach into their cage…yank off their nice warm covering… and try to grab them – all they see is:
- 1) a blinding bright light…
- 2) a strange smell…and
- 3) five giant “telephone-pole-sized” fingers coming at them…
- Actually, one of the best analogies I’ve ever heard to describe how this “feels” comes from one of the world’s best sugar bear bonding experts named Laurie. She always tells new moms & dads to visualize themselves getting grabbed and picked up by King-Kong, (because this is roughly the same size difference between a sugar bear and a human) – and imagine how you’d feel. It’s kinda funny, but when you take a second to think about it from that perspective, it’s no wonder that this can scare them….and when they start “ACTING” tough, it’s JUST as stressful on you. :-)
SO, HERE’S WHAT YOU DO!…
Whenever you go to pick up your new babies, (assuming they’re under the blanket) gently talk to them using their names and gently stroke the cloth until you have located every baby – without pulling the cloth off them. Then, pick them up STILL IN THE BLANKET. Pick the WHOLE thing up, holding the baby(ies) firmly through the cloth, and then just ROLL them, one at a time, directly into the bonding pouch without directly exposing them to the bright light for very long.
Then, once they are in your pouch, do not try to look at them right away. Just hold them very firmly and securely, so they start to get used to you – and talk to them while you firmly massage them with your fingers. Then, after a couple minutes of doing this, you will usually feel them “calm down” and you can slowly take it from there.
If you do this “transfer” quickly enough, you will find that your baby(ies) will probably still be half asleep – and they will essentially ‘wake-up” in the pouch. This not only reduces their stress level DRAMATICALLY – but it also takes a lot of the scariness out of this whole process for YOU – since you won’t have to push past any “swiping paws” and vicious-LOOKING “nips” :-) If you read all the information on bonding we provide we will teach you an even easier way to do this.
If however the babies are awake and not under the blanket, the first step is to take your bonding pouch… turn it INSIDE OUT… and put your hand inside it like a mitten. Now, reach inside the cage, and (as quickly and smoothly as possible), “scoop up” the baby(ies) with your “gloved” hand.
Now, if they are running around the cage, it’s probably easiest to try to pin them up against one of the sides of the cage with your gloved hand – and then gently “pry” them away from the bars. Either way, as soon as you have them in your grasp, immediately pull them into the pouch by turning the pouch back to its normal side-out position. This is the same way Doctors usually take off their rubber gloves.
Whatever you do, make sure NOT to release your grip on the baby inside the pouch UNTIL the pouch is zipped completely shut – so therefore it’s probably a good idea to have a family member or friend help you the first few times until you get the hang of it. Similarly, another great tip for right now – (and probably ANY time you take the baby out of the cage until its bonded) – is to keep a towel or small blanket close by. This way, if the baby should ever accidentally get “loose” – rather than panic and chase the little guy all around your house, you can very easily just “toss” the towel over top of him – and it will almost always “freeze” right on the spot. Then you can then scoop them up while they’re still in the towel fairly easily without fear of getting scratched or bitten. **************************
Oh, one more tip… when handling your new babies it’s usually not a good idea to try to breathe or blow on them directly during the first few days. To most of us “humans”, this action seems like it would be calming, but since they don’t know your smell yet, it can actually scare a little baby (who is already stressed) even more :-)
Ok, with all that in mind then, the last thing I want to briefly remind you of is to always keep your baby nice and snuggly warm. Most of us can’t keep the room where our baby’s play & sleep at above 75 degrees, so you’ll probably want to make sure and get a good, quality heat lamp – to go along WITH their heat rock – at least for the next few weeks while they are growing up. For more specific information on: 1) why this is important, 2) where to get the right lamp & bulb, and 3) why NOT to use a space heater near your babies cage, check out the free report entitled: “Keeping Healthy”.
Now, if there’s just no possible way to get a heat lamp, another thing you can try is to keep the room as warm as you can – and then cover the cage each night. This will help the heat coming from the heat rock to stay inside the cage – and make it more comfortable for them. Just make sure that whatever material you use holds in heat well – is non-toxic – and isn’t made of anything with loose strings or something they could get tangled up and hurt in – because they will be playing with it a lot. For that reason, we actually have custom cage covers designed of a special Glider-Safe material that are already made to specifically to fit your little buddy’s cage. You can check them out at our online store at www.SugarBears.com . :-) OK, well that’s about it for now! These next few days and weeks will be an incredibly rewarding time that will lead to YEARS of enjoyment for both you and your Sugar Bear(s). Just remember, bonding is a “process” – not an event – so STICK with it and it WILL pay off :-) Some days it may seem like you are actually going backwards in progress, but then all of a sudden one day everything will just “click”, and the REAL fun begins! Remember it can take anywhere from a few days to a few months.
Throughout this process, be sure to refer back to the audio CD, special reports, and instructional video clips as much as you need. ALSO, don’t forget to take a minute right now and check out ALL the other “Tip-o-the-Day” Reports – and the series of “Important Videos for New Moms & Dads” – posted in the “Family Circle” section of our website: www.sugarbears.com . Just follow the log-in instructions above – and you should be all set. Lastly, don’t forget to also go watch the free educational video series put out by the Association of Sugar Glider Veterinarians™ at www.ASGV.org. They really are another excellent resource in addition to all the information you will find on our site. As always, don’t hesitate to email us with any questions. We LOVE to hear from you!