Always Be Learning Part 1

Sleepy Cali

The other day my husband was commenting that maybe we have a few too many pets. Of course I disagree, but I started wondering why I always want new pets. Yes, I enjoy spending time with them. I love watching them and learning about their behaviors, but I also love the research that happens when I get a new pet, and for a long time afterwards. I think that may be why I love exotic pets so much. Not only is there so much to learn to give exotics everything they need and keep them healthy, but the research is always changing.

I did some research before I got the sugar gliders. I knew they had strange dietary needs, needed a big cage, and might smell a bit musky. I figured out the basics, but once I had them, it was time to figure out what worked for me, and what worked for these four new little guys that I just brought into my home.

There is experimenting going on still. Which type of food bowls do they like best? Should I feed them near the top of the cage or on the bottom? How often do I need to clean them? Do they like their fruits and veggies mixed with their blended diet or separate?

A routine is finally coming together for the gliders. I’m happy with the diet I’m feeding them, they are eating well. I’ve learned I need to clean them often, but not too deeply. Too much cleaning and they get nervous and mark their territory again.

One of my gliders, Miney, is really small. I was a bit worried about him when I first got them. He’s adjusting, gaining a little weight, and becoming a bit more comfortable here. He seems to be more nervous than the others, so I’ve supplemented his feeding, and now I’m putting plenty of food in the dark, back corners of the cage where he seems to feel safest to make sure he eats.

Miney spreading his wings, photo by Dave Hamilton

Diet still may evolve as I have them longer, we’ll see! Another thing to be learned was nail clipping. I didn’t realize they would need their nails clipped every 3 weeks! They grow super sharp points, and not only does it hurt when I handle them, but it can also be a danger to the gliders because their nails get stuck on things. After watching about half a dozen videos on Youtube about how to do it, my system is falling into place. I clipped their nails again yesterday, and the boys are starting to get used to the process. They get overloaded with treats, so hopefully they are learning to see nail trimming as a positive instead of a negative.

I’m always reading and learning about my pets and animals in general. I have no doubt my glider care will evolve over time.

It took years of having Hector D. Byrd before I got to a routine that I was happy with, a diet I liked for her that she would eat well, toys she liked, routines she liked, etc. I did change her diet drastically a few months ago when I discovered Bird Street Bistro foods (which I reviewed in another post.) How could I resist a reasonably priced, healthy food that took the work out of the homemade mix I was making?

Next time I’ll share some of what I’ve learned about my bearded dragon, check back soon!



It’s Been Too Long!

Puck loves to sleep on the Glider cage!

I hate that I got out of the habit of writing this blog. Time to get back to it! I have so many ideas of things I want to share.

Although we are still pretty locked down with the pandemic, I did travel a couple of weeks ago. Our son needed help moving out of his dorm room, so we got to spend a week in the Portland, OR area, beautiful!

Cats, Hector, Gliders, and the Dragon stay at the house when we travel, and I have someone come in once a day to feed them and visit. Cali goes somewhere else to stay. I don’t think she would do well being at the house without someone living here.

I have a couple of friends that will take Cali into their homes, so I never worry about leaving her. I think she has only been to a kennel once or twice in her life. Nothing wrong with kennels, they just aren’t the best fit for her. She has so much anxiety, and the commotion of the other dogs, loud noises, being caged, it  just really throws her off.

Leaving the pets was a little nerve-wracking. I hadn’t left the gliders before so I had to figure out what would work for them and the pet sitter who happened to be my daughter this time. I wanted to make sure they had everything they needed, but that it would be simple and easy for my daughter.

The system I came up with for the gliders worked so well, that I’m doing it for myself now. Basically, I’m making up big batches of their blended diet, and freezing it in serving size containers along with their fruits and veggies. To change things up, I add different fruits and veggies to some of the containers, and some containers I mix the blended diet with the fruits and veggies, and others are divided containers. The containers are just flat storage containers that the gliders can also use as a food dish.

Glider Grub

After I finish my own dinner, I take out one of the frozen containers and put it in the glider cage. By the time they are ready to eat it has defrosted, but it stays fresh. They also always have pellets in their cage, and of course fresh water. Sometimes things get changed up, I’ll add some yogurt to their staple foods once in a while, or a bit of egg. It’s easy to do when I’m home, but not necessary for the week I traveled.

One thing I learned while prepping the sugar glider foods before the trip was that I had been really over feeding them! I used to think they don’t eat much, and they don’t, they are tiny! But I went back and looked at the portions for their diet. They are supposed to get 1 tablespoon of their blended mix, one tablespoon each of fruit and veggies. I think I was probably feeding them close to double that, what a waste! Now I feed them about 5 tablespoons blended for the four of them along with the fruits and veggies. The best part is now I can actually tell when they are eating well. Some nights they definitely eat more than other nights, and now I have a better feel for things, and my food batches stretch out more.

The bottom line is that my daughter had easy directions for taking care of all the pets, and the pets were all happy and healthy while I was gone.

Cali enjoying a hike