Introductions and quarantine


When I had to do my first intro, I was so tense and had no idea how to go about. With some research and help from a friend, I started the process and wanted to give up several times, but with patience and dedication together with the correct procedures, my gliders became best of friends.  My colony grew to  a whopping 7 happy healthy gliders.

Sugar gliders are much better adjusted when living with at least one member of their own species. When you choose a companion for your existing glider, choose your seller wisely. Ask a lot of questions to see if they have basic glider information. See if they have had your new companion checked by a veterinarian. Do not purchase a sugar glider from a mill breeder, flea market, mall booth or in some cases, pet shops. Keep in mind that there are also many unwanted sugar gliders to choose from Rescues etc.

It is important when you purchase a sugar glider to be certain that the glider is not younger than 8 to 10 weeks OOP (out of pouch). The joeys learn vital skills from their parents during 5 to 8 weeks OOP.

It is routine to have your new glider set up for a wellness exam before and after quarantine at a qualified vet.

If you already have a neutered male, introducing a female is usually easiest. If you already have a female, another female would work best. Males can be very territorial. I have had great success introducing neutered males to each other. It is not a good idea to have intact males together, sooner or later the hormones will kick in and they can fight to death, even after being happy together for a while.

You should have a separate quarantine cage in another area of your house ready for your new sugar glider.

Quarantine (NO contact with any other gliders) is recommended for the health and safety of both your sugar gliders.

A 30-day quarantine gives you time to identify any health related problems. E.g. Giardia can lay dormant for 2 to 3 months and a fecal float/smear needs to be done before and after quarantine. Quarantine time is also the perfect time for neutering your male. And it will give the new sugar glider the time needed to adjust to its new environment and also provide for some bonding time. During quarantine you need to change clothing and wash your hands and arms between handling the new glider and your other glider(s). Food dishes, wheels, pouches and toys should also be washed separately with disinfectant like F10.

After the 30-day quarantine and an "all clear" from the vet, you can start swapping pouches and toys from each other's cages to get them accustomed to each other's scents. You can now move the cages into one room. Initially place the two cages in opposite sides of the room. Some introductions may never be successful, however, it is rare and only in extreme situations. Mostly intros are successful. While introducing my two males, I found that I needed even more patience than with the bonding process.

During introductions you need to be stress free, they will feel what you feel and will also respond in that way. Be patient!!! They may become friends instantly, or they may attack each other at first. As I mentioned above, intro's may take a while and can be extremely simple or a long and slow process. Don't rush anything and take it at their pace. If you need to, take two steps backwards in order to move one step forward. Gliders may get seriously hurt when they fight and can kill each other.

Introduce sugar gliders in a neutral territory where you have control. A bathroom that has been glider proofed works great. I prefer to do introductions in the bath tub as they can't hold onto anything and it's easier for me to take them apart should they fight.  Be prepared to break up a fight if necessary by having a towel, water spray bottle or small blanket on hand. Should a fight occur, toss the blanket on them and gently remove one of the sugar gliders from the situation. Take the introduction process slower. 

Place your gliders on the opposite sides of the bath tub, with loads of treats scattered all over. The most important thing with introducing sugar gliders is to watch their body language and behaviour.  You will quickly see if there is going to aggression (ready to attack mode) or submission (lowering the head and folding down the ears).  Stay with them and watch them throughout the process.  When they accepted each other, place a neutral clean pouch in the tub and allow them to move into the pouch all by themselves.  Don't force them into the pouch.  Remember, it is new to them and they have to get used to the idea of sharing.  Photos courtesy of Annelie Ross.


Place the sugar gliders cages where they can see and hear each other. Be sure they are not too close that one sugar glider can grab the tail of the other glider. Trade pouches, toys, and even cages with the gliders you are trying to introduce. Placing vanilla on the sugar gliders to give them the same scent before introducing them may be beneficial, I personally don't like this, as it is masking the scent....what happens after that scent wears off?   Try again to reintroduce them in neutral territory.

Don't overwhelm the cages with toys. You want the sugar gliders to be curious about the glider next to them. If introductions fail the first time around, try again.

Tips for newly introduced sugar gliders:

o Place the sugar gliders in the same cage for the first time in the morning. This way you will be awake and alert to break-up any possible fighting.
o Tiny spats are normal in the beginning.
o Provide more than one sleeping place in their cage.
o Provide more than one feeding place in their cage.

Remember, patience is the key to success.

Last modified on Friday, 02 May 2014 08:55
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