One of the most common things new sugar glider owners have questions about is how to bond with their sugar glider. Since sugar gliders are colony animals, they form bonds with their owners and can become excellent companions.
Many people refer to them as “pocket pets” and this is due to the fact that you can carry them around in a pouch or pocket while they sleep during the day. Usually, you will have to bond with your sugar glider before they feel safe being carried around by you.
Bonding is something that will be different for every sugar glider because each glider has a unique personality. The conditions they were raised in may also have an effect on how they bond with you. If they were handled regularly by the breeder, then they will be more used to human contact and are likely to bond quicker.
On the other hand, if your sugar glider was ever mistreated by a human, then they may have a lack of trust and it may take a lot longer to bond with them. In these cases, earning the trust of your glider will be a gradual process and take a lot of dedication on your part.
Bonding does not always come easy for everybody, so patience is one of the most important parts of the process. The main thing is that you have to show your glider you are a friend and can be trusted. Some gliders may need more time to get used to you and trust you.
One key thing to understand about the bonding process is that gliders bond by scent. In the wild, the dominant male in the colony will mark all the other members with his scent gland. This is how everyone knows the other members of the colony. Sugar gliders are territorial, so if an outsider were to approach who did not smell right, it may be attacked by the colony.
So how does this translate to you and the bonding process? One of the first things you should do when you bring your new sugar gliders home is to make sure they get used to your scent. You can cut out a square piece of fleece and wear it under your clothes next to your skin for a few days to get your scent on it. This is known as a bonding blanket.
Put the bonding blanket in your sugar gliders pouch or nesting box. You can also drape a worn t-shirt over their cage. These methods are designed to help your sugar glider become familiar with your scent. That way when you approach your sugar glider, it will recognize you and be more likely to trust you.
Once your glider knows you by scent, you can start feeding it small treats so it associates you with good things. Try feeding a few treats through the cage bars first. Then you can try to handle the glier and see how it reacts to you.
The best way to handle a glider is to let it approach you and let it climb into your open hand. Do not try to grab it because this may be scary to your glider. Use a cupped hand approach and make sure to have a treat on hand to reward your glider.
You should also start to wear your glider in a pouch around your neck and carry it close to your heart. Carrying your glider during the day is a great way to solidify the bond you are building.
Finally, play time is an important part of bonding. You should make sure to give your glider a couple hours out of its cage every night and interact with it. The bond will grow stronger as you spend more time playing with your glider.
The bonding process is something that builds over time and gets stronger and stronger the more you spend time with your glider. Once your glider has bonded to you, you will find that they are amazing little pets.