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Chapter 13: Sugar gliders.

OBJECTIVES

After completing this chapter, the student should be able to

* properly house sugar gliders.

* provide appropriate client education to new sugar glider owners.

* provide the correct diet for the sugar glider.

* provide basic nursing care to a sugar glider.

* assist in the anesthesia of a sugar glider.

* demonstrate appropriate restraint technique.

KEY TERMS

canopy

arboreal

syndactylism

volplane

patagium

joeys

OOP

glider mills

detritus

seasonal feeders

palatability

gut-loaded

Introduction

Sugar gliders are unique for many reasons, not the least of which is the way they move. Rather than jumping, running, or walking on the ground, they launch themselves from high branches and glide from place to place, rarely leaving the treetop canopy and the safety of the forest.

Sugar gliders belong to a family of arboreal (tree living) marsupials native to Australia, Tasmania, Indonesia, and New Guinea. They belong to the same order which includes possums, kangaroos, and wombats. Within this order, there are three species taxonomically grouped as families, one of which is the Petauridae and includes the sugar glider, Petaurus breviceps.

Sugar gliders are small, with a body length of only five to seven inches. The tail is as long as or slightly longer than the body. They have five clawed toes on the front feet and four on the hind feet, with an opposable grasping thumb. The middle two toes of the hind feet are fused, an anatomical adaptation called syndactylism. Sugar gliders have a total of 46 to 48 teeth with long, forward pointing lower incisors designed for gouging.

Sugar gliders are strictly nocturnal. During the day, they sleep huddled together in small colony groups. The colony nest is high in the treetops and lined with leaves. Their natural range (territory) covers an area greater than two acres.

The ability to glide or volplane is due to a flap of fur-covered skin on each side that connects from carpus to tarsus and opens somewhat like a parachute when the limbs are extended. Sugar gliders are able to guide themselves while airborne by moving their limbs and altering the tension of the skin flap. The tail is used as a rudder, much like the tail of an aircraft or the steering rudder of a boat, which helps them to change horizontal direction and assist in landing (Figure 13-1). Sugar gliders do not fly; they glide from place to place by launching themselves in the air, often from great heights. They are able to glide for distances as great as 300 feet. This anatomical parachute is called the patagium.

Sugar gliders are very vocal with one another and make a variety of sounds. A surprisingly loud bark serves as a warning or alarm call to other gliders. They also produce a soft, churring sound which has been interpreted as contentment because it is often heard when the animals are settling into the nest together. The most common noise heard by owners occurs when sugar gliders are disturbed during the day. This unique sound has been likened to an electronic pencil sharpener, or to a toy chain saw with a run-down battery. The term crabbing has recently been coined to describe this sound. Regardless of how it is described, it is a sound produced when sugar gliders are annoyed or disturbed.

[FIGURE 13-1 OMITTED]

The sex of an adult sugar glider is easily determined. Males have a very large scent gland on the top of the head that is absent in females (Figure 13-2). The gland becomes more pronounced with sexual maturity. The scrotum is located more cranial than in placental mammals. It is fur covered, pendulous, and attached by a stalk (Figure 13-3). The penis is bifurcated, caudal to the scrotum, and difficult to visualize under normal circumstances. There are bilateral anal sacs near the penis and these are often mistaken for testicles in young male gliders.

[FIGURE 13-2 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 13-3 OMITTED]

Males also have a scent gland on the thorax, visible as a small area of discolored fur (Figure 13-3). During breeding season, the saliva of males has also been reported to produce a strong scent.

The female has a bilobed uterus with lateral vaginas and a central birth canal. The birth canal is temporary. It forms just prior to birth and disappears soon after delivery. Because of the uterine anatomy, it is fairly common to have separate pregnancies with developing joeys of differing ages. The pouch is vertical and contains only two teats.

Females have anal scent glands and additional scent glands located in the pouch. The frequency of female scent marking increases with her readiness to breed. Once mating occurs, gestation is approximately 16 days. Parturition usually takes place mid-morning with an average of two joeys per litter. The joeys are born in an embryonic state, being about the size of a grain of rice. Their forelegs are developed only enough to allow them to crawl from the birth canal up into the pouch. An observable sign that there has been a birth is that the dam immediately begins to lick the fur leading to her pouch. The licking prevents the joeys from becoming stuck in the fur, helping the neonates to migrate and not die of exposure. Crawling from the birth canal to the pouch usually takes five or six minutes.

Once in the pouch, the joey attaches to a nipple which swells to prevent the newborn from being dislodged. Joeys should never be forcibly removed from the nipple at any stage in their development as it is not possible for them to reattach. Joeys will die if forcibly removed from the nipple.

Joeys stay attached to the nipple for two months. During this time their internal organs and limbs develop and fur appears. Around eight weeks, they begin to venture out of the pouch. They continue to nurse by sticking their heads into the pouch as, by now, they are too large to fit inside. Joeys usually travel on the back or underbelly of either parent as they begin to learn to forage and eat solid food (Figure 13-4).

[FIGURE 13-4 OMITTED]

Both parents contribute to the care of the offspring. Most joeys become independent at approximately 117 days but they may stay in the parental nest for up to one year. Males are driven from the family nest once they reach sexual maturity. Sexual maturity is usually reached at eight months for a female, but may not be reached for as long as a year. Males mature slightly later, with an average of 12 to 14 months. Pouch independent young are often described (their ages given) by number of days OOP, or Out Of Pouch (Figure 13-5).

[FIGURE 13-5 OMITTED]

No one knows for certain when sugar gliders first arrived in the United States, but it is probable that they were smuggled in, perhaps as pets or by a private collector who found them appealing. They first appeared in the pet trade relatively recently, in the early to mid-1980s, and very quickly became popular as pocket pets. Sugar gliders breed readily in captivity and there is now a population glut.
EVEN THOUGH THE MARKET SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN SATURATED, there are
thousands of sugar gliders still being bred by glider mills, a
recent term that refers to the indiscriminate breeding of sugar
gliders for profit. With the constant supply of gliders and
products connected to this industry, internet web pages abound. One
must be extremely cautious when evaluating the content of many of
these sites, forums, and discussion boards. Misinformation not only
expands but somehow becomes fact. Advice is offered on everything
from disease diagnosis and treatment to commercial carnivore diets
that are being repackaged, relabeled, and then sold as secret
recipes. All medical concerns should be discussed with an exotic
animal veterinarian.


Behavior

Behavior in captivity is often aberrant from natural behaviors observed by field researchers. Regardless of the number of generations that are bred in captivity, the sugar glider is still far from being a domesticated species. Sugar gliders respond and react to their captive state similarly to other wild animals; that is, by exhibiting abnormal behaviors and disorders not seen in the wild.

Sugar gliders need the company of other gliders for social interaction and mental stability. A solitary sugar glider will self-mutilate, causing trauma that often leads to death or euthanasia. They have been known to chew off limbs, scrotal sacs and stalks, and their own tails. There are also gouging wounds from their lower incisors and trauma caused from excessive, compulsive licking. This behavior occurs regardless of the amount of time a caregiver provides for an individual animal.
MANY DEALERS OFFER AN ITEM CALLED A BONDING POUCH. The idea is that
the owner carries the glider around with the pouch tucked inside a
shirt or pocket, to allow the estranged and isolated little animal
to become familiar with the scent of the owner. This may well
accustom the glider to a specific scent, but the glider is still a
captive wild animal and it is doubtful that any real bonding
occurs. Bonding pouches may, in fact, increase the anxiety of the
lone sugar glider. Being held in the company of another species
(human) is not a substitute for natural, normal interaction with
its own kind. Knowledgeable people and those who truly care about
the welfare of their animals would never support this bonding pouch
idea and would never sell or obtain a single sugar glider as a
pocket pet, dooming it to a short and very stressful life.


Sugar gliders are colony animals, with small family groups living and nesting together, both male and female and young, pouch independent joeys. A minimum of four gliders should be housed together to provide a social environment that is as normal as possible.

Sugar gliders are usually very good parents, but too often the dam is allowed to breed indiscriminately, resulting in close inbreeding that intensifies many of the problems already seen in captive glider colonies.

Housing

With an understanding of natural behaviors and the issues of captivity in mind, housing can be problematic and needs serious consideration before choosing and caring for a sugar glider colony. Ideally, there should be a glider room that is large enough to allow the gliders to glide, to interact with each other, and to behave in a manner somewhat resembling their behaviors in the wild. As they are nocturnal, bright daylight and artificial light are both very stressful to them. They need to be fed in the evenings and will come out to eat only when it is dark. One should never attempt to change a nocturnal species into a diurnal species; it will not work and the interruption of normal cycles of sleep causes a great deal of physiological stress to the animal.

Understanding the natural behavior of a species is vital to its well-being in captivity. Sugar gliders need a great amount of space and the usual cage setup for other small animals is totally inadequate. Simply put, gliders cannot be housed in cages designed for other small animals. Moreover, it must be reiterated that it is extremely important that they are not kept alone with pocket pet status. For the average pet owner, providing a healthy habitat which meets the animals' needs is generally not easy.

Considering all these things, it is possible to house sugar gliders safely and successfully. Some owners have adapted two or more large avian flight cages. If constructing a cage, the choice of material is important. Sugar gliders will chew on items which may be toxic to them, and gouge at the wood of the enclosure in a natural attempt to find food items. They are especially adept at using their forepaws to open cage doors. All doors should have a secure latch to prevent escape.
MINIMUM CAGE REQUIREMENTS AS SET BY INDIVIDUAL STATES' DEPARTMENTS
OF Agriculture do not even come close to actual requirements. For
the most part, sugar gliders are not understood as a species and
are grouped together with other small animals such as rodents,
chinchillas, and cavies. The author of Cage Size Matters: The
Current Industry Standard Borders On Animal Cruelty (Glider
University) points out that there is a vast difference in one U.S.
state's minimum housing requirement of 216 square inches for one
animal and the 81 square feet (11,644 square inches) per two
animals as required by Australian regulations.


The enclosure should be equipped with a sleeping pouch near the top of the cage, one which most mimics the sleeping nest of the colony. Sleeping pouches designed for ferrets work well and can be easily attached to the upper part of the cage. There should also be an assortment of branches, perches, and food dishes placed to accommodate their arboreal nature. Dishes placed in the lower part of the cage collect urine and feces, contaminating the food. Access to fresh water must be easily available. Several separate water dishes should be provided. Sugar gliders do not readily use sipper bottles as do rabbits and rodents. The habitat should be set up to meet the needs of the gliders, yet also provide easy access for the caregiver.

Diet

Field researchers including veterinarians, zoologists, botanists, and others have spent countless hours observing wild gliders in an effort to determine their dietary needs in captivity. Dietary needs are not just what they eat, but how and when they feed, their behaviors, and their social interactions. Researchers examine fecal samples, browsing and foraging sites, and the detritus around nest sites and on the ground. Anatomical features of a species offer clues as to what an animal eats: for example, the lower incisors of the sugar glider are elongated and protrude forward. They are very sharp, and are used for gouging and peeling tree bark to search for insects or to gain access to tree sap.

Like many species, gliders are seasonal feeders; their diet varies depending upon natural food availability and abundance. They are omnivores, consuming insects, arachnids, a great deal of plant-derived material, and, occasionally, small vertebrates. Observations and studies like this are also very important in determining what sugar gliders do not eat. Many breeders of captive gliders erroneously recommend diets which include seeds, nuts, and cereal grains.

For captive gliders, the common name prefix sugar has contributed to the mistaken belief that they only eat sweet foods. While it is true that gliders seem to enjoy foods with a sweet taste, this in no way begins to meet their nutritional needs. Sugar cubes and various other candies, referred to as lickey treats, have been promoted by breeders and sellers as a method of taming a sugar glider. Misinformation such as this, however well intended, contributes greatly to one of the major concerns in captive gliders: malnutrition and premature death.

Table 13-1 lists food items consumed in the wild. This natural diet is not easily replicated for captive sugar glider colonies, but good alternatives have been developed. There is no one easy formula that meets all their nutritional needs; however, there are several recommended diets that are not only adequate, but are proving to be successful.

Analysis of food items by nutritional content for proteins and carbohydrates, including those derived from plant fiber, fats, minerals, and vitamins, is essential in providing a diet that is not only adequate to promote an animal's health and well-being, but also allow the animal to exhibit normal, natural behaviors when foraging and selecting food items. Additionally, consideration must be give to seasonality (the variety and type of food available) in the wild within their normal geographic range. The sugar glider inhabits the southern hemisphere, which is seasonally opposite to the northern hemisphere. Food sources change dramatically and seasonally. This difference in natural food availability contributes to the notion that they are picky eaters. Many owners report that their gliders will suddenly refuse food which they previously consumed readily.

Periods of decreased consumption may be normal and attempts to encourage greater intake usually involve random substitutions of food items selected for palatability rather than items which are nutritionally appropriate and meet metabolic needs. Obesity in captive gliders, coupled with malnutrition, lack of normal exercise (room to glide), and human expectations of amounts that should be eaten, all contribute to the health problems seen in captive gliders.
BENJAMIN LEADBEATER, an English Victoria naturalist and
taxidermist, traveled the world collecting specimens for zoos and
museums. He is credited with discovering many species and for his
observations and writings of their natural history. Leadbeater's
Mix of nutrients may be dated to 1834, when he recommended suitable
diets for new specimens delivered to the London Zoo.

Leadbeater's Mix

150   ml each of warm water and honey
1     boiled egg, shell removed
25    gms of high protein baby cereal
      vitamin/mineral supplement

Mix water and honey and gradually add to blended egg. Add
vitamin/mineral supplement and baby cereal, blend until smooth.

The mixture needs to be refrigerated. Portions may be frozen in ice
cube trays and thawed completely before feeding. Leadbeater's Mix
should equal 50 percent of the daily diet. The other 50 percent can
be an assortment of chopped fruits, frozen mixed vegetables
(thawed), and live insects such as crickets, and mealworms.


Another diet that is used with considerable success is based on the Taronga Zoo diet (Sydney, Australia). There are slight variations to this diet, but none seem to affect the nutritional balance. For example, the diet calls for once weekly, day-old chicks. Aside from the inherent unpleasantness of feeding day old chicks, they are not readily available to the average caregiver. Many breeders have recommended substituting a feeder mouse. This substitution needs careful thought as there is a great potential for injury to the sugar gliders and there is the possibility of parasite transmission (toxoplasmosis, which is zoonotic). Also, it has been noted by many owners, that citrus fruits (oranges) contribute greatly to the odor produced by sugar gliders. Their urine becomes stronger smelling and more pungent.
TARONGA ZOO DIET

Equal portions of apple, banana, fresh sweet corn (frozen corn may be
  used if thawed), grapes, and kiwi fruit. Fresh oranges with the skin
  on, melon, papaya, and sweet potatoes
Leadbeater's Mix 50 percent of total volume.
Dog Kibble (which appears in a few variations of this formula)
Once weekly, day-old chicks


Many owners capture insects, grasshoppers, and moths, but care must be taken as they may have been exposed to insecticides and fertilizers. Fireflies should not be fed as they are known to be toxic in many species. Insects should be gut-loaded prior to feeding, (feed the food) or they may be dusted with a vitamin/ mineral supplement just prior to feeding. There are commercial diets for sugar gliders, as well as a nectar powder that is mixed with water. Gliders will also readily lap natural fruit juices. Several veterinarians recommend small amounts (teaspoonful) of exotic feline diets as an additional protein source.

Handling and Restraint

Owners of sugar gliders allow them to scamper around on their hands and bodies without much handling. Well-handled sugar gliders often leap from the cage top or other high area in a room to land on the owner. Should one unintentionally escape from the cage, it is easier to recapture by turning on all the lights or with the use of a flashlight. A sudden light source will temporarily immobilize a sugar glider and a thick towel can be placed over it so that it may safely be picked up. Another method is to put the sleeping sack close to its location. Most sugar gliders will enter the sleeping sack. Bare-handed attempts to capture the sugar glider may result in a bite that can be deep and painful.

It can be very difficult to examine a sugar glider with regard to its health, potential illness, or injuries without the use of general anesthesia. In assessing general health, mobility, coat condition, and attitude, it often works well to keep one's distance and observe the glider's interactions with the owner while obtaining all relevant history. History should include how and where it was obtained, number of gliders in the colony, housing, and diet. If it is a pocket pet, information should be obtained as to how often and when the animal is most disturbed, and the initial reason for the examination.

Sugar gliders should be observed in subdued lighting and that alone can make a more complete examination difficult. Bright, artificial lights startle sugar gliders and reactions may be misinterpreted. It is possible to scruff a glider for a very quick cursory examination, but be prepared and warn the owner that the glider will produce loud vocalizations, most of which they have never heard before. Even a relatively simple procedure, such as a nail trim, often requires general anesthesia, as sugar gliders are difficult to restrain safely.

Medical Concerns

Most medical problems seen in the sugar glider can be directly related to improper husbandry and an inadequate diet. Malnutrition leads to weight loss, generalized weakness, muscle atrophy, lethargy, ataxia, and hind limb paralysis. These conditions may develop slowly, over a period of months, before an owner is able to detect a real problem. Once these conditions become apparent, the glider may be already hypothermic, dehydrated, and exhibiting neurological signs. Because of their nocturnal nature, it is sometimes difficult for owners to carefully observe their sugar gliders for abnormalities or signs of illness.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gastrointestinal problems are seen with an incorrect diet, which may also contribute to rectal prolapse. The muscles become weakened and lose tone to the point where the rectum protrudes, exposing the tissue. Veterinary care is necessary and anesthesia is required to reduce and restore the prolapsed tissue. Success depends upon how long the tissue has been exposed and the overall health of the glider. Prolapse often becomes a chronic, recurring problem regardless of dietary changes made.

Enteritis can be associated with bacterial and protozoal problems. Diarrhea is the most common sign with both of these conditions. Recommended veterinary treatment includes administration of antimicrobial and/or anthelmintic therapy for possible parasites, bismuth subsalicylate to control the diarrhea, and an analgesic and anti-inflammatory medication to calm the gastrointestinal track.

Nondigestive Disorders

Cataracts have occurred in sugar gliders and are linked to nutritional deficiencies and genetics. Cataracts seem to occur more frequently in closely related, inbred sugar gliders. Vitamin A deficiency can also cause cataracts to form over a period of time. When the diet is incorrect, the glider can become hyperglycemic, causing cataracts to form more readily.

Urinary tract disorders can occur in the sugar glider. Dietary-related nephritis, renal disease, and male urinary tract blockages are common. Bladder rupture, prolapse of the penis, and ensuing necrosis may occur with trauma. Instances of penile necrosis are also seen due to the accumulation of fur, human hair, or bedding material that has tightened and formed a tourniquet around the penis, cutting off the blood supply.

Reproductive problems may be caused by an inappropriate diet or insufficient amounts of food. There may also be infectious agents within the pouch or reproductive tract. Joeys that are weak and fail to thrive can be attributed to an insufficiency problem of the dam, as she may not be producing an adequate volume of milk or may have developed mastitis. Human interference will also produce weak joeys and will kill them if they are pulled from the pouch early. Ill-advised attempts are made to hand-feed joeys in order to more easily imprint or tame the baby glider. Occasionally, joeys may die in the pouch and the cause is undetermined.

Neurological and limb problems are often seen together. These conditions occur most frequently in sugar gliders that are confined to a bonding pouch and receive little opportunity for exercise or feeding normally. Affected sugar gliders are ataxic and may exhibit muscle tremors when they attempt to move. Decalcification of the bone may also be present (Figure 13-6). Depending on the duration and severity of these problems, there may be permanent damage to the nervous system and bone structure. Recommended therapy consists of supportive care with dietary and husbandry changes. A veterinarian may prescribe injections of calcium gluconate and appropriate vitamin/mineral supplements.

[FIGURE 13-6 OMITTED]

Clinical Procedures

Either isoflourane or sevoflurane can be used for anesthesia. Inhalant anesthesia and induction with either agent can safely be achieved with an anesthesia induction chamber (Figure 13-7). When the sugar glider reaches a suitable plane of anesthesia within the chamber, it can be maintained by transferring the animal to the exam table and having it breath directly from a nonrebreathing system (Figure 13-8). As with any small mammal under general anesthesia, a decrease in body temperature may be expected. Exam gloves filled with warm water can be used to maintain body temperature and provide positioning support, as can a circulating warm water pad. Normal marsupial body temperature is approximately 30 percent lower than that of placental mammals and care must be taken not to overheat the anesthetized glider while compensating for body heat lost.

[FIGURE 13-7 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 13-8 OMITTED]

Sugar gliders are very dexterous and quickly remove sutures unless they are subcutaneous. A jacket of stockinette may help in many instances (Figure 13-9). Sugar gliders object less to this and seem to find comfort by being in the stockinette. Adequate analgesia is necessary, as they will chew at the site, causing an even greater wound. Gliders do best when allowed to recover in a soft, dark pouch.

Injections may be given to administer fluids, antibiotics, or other life-saving interventions. Most commonly, subcutaneous fluids are administered to a dehydrated glider. Fluids may be given subcutaneously between the scapula. It is important that the volume is administered slowly and the site massaged to prevent pooling in the patagium. Isotonic fluids are given for the treatment of dehydration and shock. Critical instances of shock are often related to severe self-mutilation or from trauma by another household pet.

Intramuscular injections are used to administer antibiotic therapy. Two common sites are the quadriceps of a rear leg, or between the biceps and triceps muscles of the forearm. Because of the short-term pain of the injection, have a firm scruff and be prepared for loud vocalizations.

Obtaining a blood sample can be challenging due to the restraint required and the size of vessels in the glider. The easiest and least traumatic method for obtaining a sample is to mask down the glider with gas anesthesia. This is not only less stressful but will help prevent laceration of the blood vessel. For small volumes of blood, the cephalic, lateral saphenous, femoral, or coccygeal vein may be used. It is easier to access the coccygeal vein if the tail is warmed first to dilate the vein. This is achieved by dipping the tail in warm water or applying a warm cloth around the tail. If necessary, the jugular or cranial vena cava may be used for larger amounts of blood. No blood draw should exceed 1 percent of body weight by volume. If attempting to draw from these sites, an appropriate plane of anesthesia is required. Use of a 25 gauge needle with a tuberculin syringe will also help to avoid collapsing the vein. Because only small amounts of blood are obtained, microcontainer collection tubes are adequate. Most tests can be run on blood collected in tubes containing either EDTA or heparin.

[FIGURE 13-9 OMITTED]

Parasites

The fur of a healthy sugar glider is dense and very soft. Poor hair coats can be a result of dietary insufficiency, barbering, or fighting. If the glider is kept in a cage with wood shavings as bedding, mites can also be a problem. Mite infestations are treated by a veterinarian with injections of ivermectin and a recommended change in housing.

Sugar gliders may also have giardia and coccidia, usually evidenced by diarrhea. Fecal flotations and direct smears will determine if these organisms are present. The microscopic slide should also be carefully scanned for ova of other intestinal parasites. These may not be easily identified as there is little information or reports of intestinal parasitism in sugar gliders.

Review Questions

(1) What does OOP refer to?

(2) When are sugar gliders active?

(3) What is the name of the anatomical parachute that allows the sugar glider to glide?

(4) What is the diet of a captive sugar glider?

(5) What are some of the problems seen when a sugar glider is kept as a solitary pet?

(6) What are the recommended methods of restraint to examine a sugar glider?

(7) How is sex determined in a sugar glider?

(8) What is the most common gastrointestinal disease in sugar gliders?

(9) Explain how a male sugar glider develops penile necrosis.

(10) Which veins are used for blood collection?
fast Facts

Sugar Glider (Pretaurus breviceps)

* Nocturnal, arboreal marsupials
* Native to Australia and New Guinea
* Live in colonies of 7 to 12 animals, usually family groups
* Defend individual trees and territories of up to 2.5 acres
* Gliding membrane (patagium) begins at the 5 digit,
  continues from carpus to tarsus
* 1st and 2nd digit of hind feet partially fused
* Will enter a torpid state with adverse temperatures
  (Ideal environmental temperature: 64 to 75 [degrees]F)

FEMALE ANATOMY
* Bilobed uterus with lateral vaginas and central birth canal
* Pouch with two teats, two offspring common
* Scent glands contained within the pouch; secretion
  and urine marking increase with breeding receptivity

MALE ANATOMY
* Bifurcated penis with mid-ventral pendulous scrotum
* Scent glands on the forehead, chest and peri-anal region
* Both sexes scent mark territory, nest site, and each other

WEIGHT
* Male: 115 to 160 g
* Female: 96 to 135 g

LIFE SPAN
* Wild: 4 to 7 years (48 to 84 months)
* Captivity: 12 to 14 years (144 to 168 months),
  dependent on diet and husbandry

REPRODUCTION
* Sexual Maturity:
* Female: 32 to 48 weeks (8 to 12 months)
* Male: 48 to 56 weeks (12 to 14 months)
* Uterine gestation is 16 days, followed by fetal
  migration to pouch
* TIP (time in pouch) approximately 70 days
* Litter Size: 1 to 2
* Independence/weaning age approximately 117 days,
  will remain in parental nest

VITAL STATISTICS
* Temperature: 32[degrees]C (89.6[degrees]F)
* Heart Rate: 239 to 300 bpm
* Respiratory Rate: 52 to 65 breaths/minute

DENTAL
* Dental Formula: 2(4/3, 1/1, 3/3, 4/4) = 46 to 48
  total teeth


Further Reading

Barnes, Michelle (2002). "Sugar Gliders." In Gage, Laurie J. (Ed.). Hand-Rearing Wild and Domestic Mammals (pp. 55-62). Iowa State Press.

Delaney, Cathy A. Johnson (2002). "Other Small Mammals." In Meredith, Anna & Sharon Redrobe (Eds.). BSAVA Manual of Exotic Pets, 4th Edition (pp. 102-105). British Small Animal Veterinary Association.

Delaney, Cathy A. Johnson (2005). "The Marsupial Pet: Sugar Sliders, Opossums, and Wallabies." Presented at Dallas Veterinary Medical Association.

http://www.glideruniversity.org (accessed January 2005-March 2006).

Holz, Peter (2003). "Marsupalia (Marsupials)." In Fowler, Murray E. & Miller, R. Eric (Eds.). Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, 5th Edition (pp. 288-303). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.

Lightfoot, Teresa M. (1999). "Clinical Examination of Chinchillas, Hedgehogs, Prairie Dogs and Sugar Gliders." In Orcutt, Connie J. (Ed.). The Veterinary Clinics of North America Exotic Animal Practice Physical Examination and Preventative Medicine (2:262-269). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.

Lightfoot, Teresa M. & Bartlett, L. (1999). "Sugar Glider Orchietomy, an Excerpt from Small Mammal Clinician's Notebook." In Exotic DVM. Florida (1-4:11-13). ICE Proceedings.

Ness, Robert D. & Booth, Rosie (2004). "Sugar Gliders." In Quesenberry, Katherine E. & Carpenter, James W. (Eds.). Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery, 2nd Edition (pp. 330-338). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.

Rivera, Samuel (2003). "Other Species Seen in Practice." In Ballard, Bonnie & Cheek, Ryan (Eds.). Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician (pp. 269-272). Iowa State Press.

Shapiro, Daniel S., M.D., Director, Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, Labey Clinic, Burlington, Massachusetts; Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases), Boston University School of Medicine.
Table 13-1: Natural Diet of Pretaurus Breviceps

NATURAL DIET OF PETAURUS BREVICEPS

Natural Diet                        Ingredients/Source

Eucalyptus Sap           Sap is the fluid produced by plants and
                         trees. It is usually sticky to the touch and
                         provides the circulating nutrients to the
                         tree. Eucalyptus trees are native to
                         Australia and grow to great heights. Their
                         leaves produce an aromatic oil, often used
                         for human medicinal purposes.

Manna                    Manna is produced from sap that leaks from a
                         tree at the site of insect damage. It can be
                         found on the leaves and tree bark.

Honeydew                 Honeydew is produced by insects which feed
                         on large quantities of sap. It is the excess
                         sugar content of sap excreted by these
                         insects. It is usually white and crusty.

Nectar                   Nectar is a liquid produced by flowering
                         plants and trees, it has a sweet taste and
                         attracts pollinating insects.

Gums                     Gums are multiple sugars produced by some
                         plants and trees. It is thicker than sap and
                         becomes gelatinous when mixed with water. It
                         is produced in abundance by many Australian
                         and African trees, in particular, the
                         acacias, which are a variety of tropical
                         tree. It is also referred to as gum Arabic,
                         a substance used in the production of many
                         human food products such as candy, chewing
                         gum, and other products that require
                         non-artificial thickening agents.

Insects and Arachnids    Many species are consumed by the sugar
                         glider, dependant upon their availability.
                         Gliders, both wild and captive, will pull
                         off the legs and wings before they are eaten.
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Title Annotation:UNIT II
Publication:Exotic Animal Care and Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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