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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
And the race is on...

What's the deal with the new glider fad? It seems like when people see something they've never seen before, there is suddenly this obsession with possessing it. Even if they're not equipped to possess it. Even if they really have no idea what properly caring for that animal entails.

Last year at the fair there was a booth where people were selling sugar gliders. None of the information they were giving out was correct, and they had the nocturnal gliders out in the sun in the middle of the day, showing them to people.

Made me really mad, and my sisters and I have an idea that maybe next year we'll set up a booth next door. Something to the effect of "so you think you want an exotic pet? Think again."

No offense to the people who are keeping them as pets, and taking care of them. I'm talking about the impulse buyers who buy them as a novelty, then either kill them or get rid of them. Forgive me, but I've had only two experiences in dealing with people who own gliders. Neither were very good.

The first was my old landlord. He bought a pair of gliders for his kids, who, of course, are spoiled rotten and have to have EVERYTHING. When they were brand new, those kids were always at our apartment, gliders in tow, showing them off. After awhile, we never saw them. Before we moved out, my husband asked what had become of the gliders. One had been washed while taking a nap in one of the kids' shirts. The other one died of lonliness shortly after losing his friend.

The second instance actually happened to my sister. She's seasonal education staff at the zoo. During this past summer, she had just finished giving an animal presentation when she was approached by a woman about a pair of sugar gliders. The woman wanted to get rid of her gliders and wanted to know if the zoo would take them. The answer, of course, was no. But my sister, being an animal lover and compassionate herself, decided to take the gliders and has rehabilitated them - giving them a new cage and a new diet.

So last weekend when my husband and I went Christmas shopping at the mall, I was disheartened to find a kiosk where a woman was selling sugar gliders. Of course, she was attracting business from every idiot who walked by her midstream stand that day. It was the middle of the day, and gliders were being pulled from their bonding pouches (crabbing and shaking) and passed around a crowd of people, most of whom had never even heard the words "sugar glider". Some gliders tried to get away. The woman in charge caught them by their tails and returned them, shaking, to their cage. She was telling people that gliders are so easy to take care of, and their diet is so simple - just fruits and veggies here and there - fruits one day, veggies another. You could give them some meat if you wanted to, once in awhile.

I was furious. Here is a species that is being absolutely exploited by the exotic pet trade, and here was this woman in the mall, supporting the practice of impulse buying. Hubby and I stood in line for a half an hour, but with so many interested potential customers around, she just couldn't seem to find time to talk to the only two people with angry expressions on their faces.

I set the ball in motion to get something done. The person who is handling it now is used to dealing with this kind of thing and knows what do to about it. But the fact that it was happening at all just makes me sick.

Thanks for listening to my rant! If you're interested in knowing what happens, I'll let you know anything that I find out.
 

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Alright... I understand your rant (and I'm both an exotic pet owner and I have a sugar glider of my own).

It's like this all the time... There's ALWAYS a new "fad" exotic pet. Remember pot-bellied pigs? What about iguanas? They were even giving iguana babies away as fair prizes like goldfish (and I'm sure little suzy or joey isn't going to keep a baby iguana properly, long enough for it to even reach it's 8 foot length). Then there were Hedgehogs. I believe next came Prairie dogs and sugar gliders sort of came around the same time. Since the PD ban (stupid ban.. I can't even take my african pouched rat to his normal vet without calling first anymore), however, gliders have taken off as being a huge fad pet. There are plenty of gliders in rescue lately, and most people are completely clueless how to care for them.

BUT!!! The same can be said for dogs and cats. These same people who spend hudreds of dollars on their new exotic pet... how are they caring for Fido and Fluffy?? I realize nowadays the traditional pet is fairly idiot-proof, but they're probably still buying food from the dollar store, not getting their vaccinations taken care of, and OOPS!! Fluffy just had a litter of kittens! Better put them in a box with a big "FREE" sign on them!

I'm just pissed off at the general population of pet owners... not just "exotic" pet owners. Unfortunately fad pets suffer quite a bit... but the craze will die off. I haven't even seen a hedgehog in a pet shop lately, except the USDA licensed one near my mother's house.

Now why do I have a glider.. and a single one at that? I wanted to bond with her.. I've kept pet rats for 10, almost 11 years of my life and loved the loyalty and bond I get from them.. but their short life span hurts a lot... gliders live 15 years if properly cared for. As it is, I make my own pet food for everyone I have except the cat and rabbit, so researching the proper diet for my glider and blending the food myself was no problem at all. I was told conflicting information about gliders, that you want two at first and bond with both of them at the same time, and that you want one to bond with you, then work on a second one later.. THEN I was told you CAN keep a single one, but the only successful way is if you treated it like your child. Well... she's my child, and I certainly don't plan on having human children.... but we'll see. I'd rather go with rescue if I got a second glider.

this is a random useless post.... so ah well... ignore me!!
 

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yeah unfortunately with any exotic out there.. you get TONS of conflicting information on them...

I agree that wayyyytoo many people buy exotics as an impulse pet, it's just that there's always a new fad pet out there, and when one goes, ,another is replaced.

With that said, Melody is from a breeder. The breeder told me to just get her and bond with her, ,and to wait for another one, which is what I decided on doing.

Also.. I researched them for many years, ,way back when I was on acmepet.com. The information on them has changed and advanced greatly since then, at least what's readily available on them has.
(PS- I'm a member of glidercentral, but I'm a lurker and don't post (except when I was picking Melody up.. so named for the crabbiness she gave me when we first met. she was hand-reared after emerging from the pouch, and was bonded to the breeder)

Also here's Melody, ,and her cage-



it makes my rats' two 5 feet tall Martin RUUD cages look small... heh
she's a sweetheart.. I just like pets who have a high responsibility and high maintenance to them.. if I wanted an easy pet, I'd' get a cockroach (then again.. I've had them in the past)

-the top tank is for breeding mealworms..
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I think anyone who loves their pet enough to join a forum like this and post stories and things has the best intentions at heart and will eventually stumble across the right information. I would never accuse anyone here of the kind of carelessness I'm talking about :)

Iguanas also tend to be impulse buys... yet I have an iguana :)

Just because a species of animal makes a good pet for one person, doesn't mean it makes a good pet for everyone. My iguana needs 10 different vegetables prepared daily, needs special housing, lighting, and heat - and I know sugar gliders require care that's just as intense. I don't think the average pet owner is prepared to deal with the needs of the exotics that are so readily available on the market right now - you can't just pick up a can of iguana food once a week when you're at the grocery store, etc. etc.

So who's to blame... the impulse buyer, or the seller? I'll tell you what... I myself have had a hard time not buying an animal on impulse. It's HARD :) The pet owner has a responsibility to learn about the animal s/he's buying before buying it, true, but sellers have an even greater responsibility to make sure the animals they're selling are going to people who are aware of what they're getting themselves into.

So my rant earlier, though vague, I'll admit, was aimed more at sellers who use the phenomenon of impulse buying to their advantage. Instead of "yes, this animal is easy to care of" they need to be saying "what do you already know about the care of this animal" and maybe "are you sure this is the right pet for you?"

Oh, and part of the reason that there's so much conflicting information is because when you have an animal that's been so freshly domesticated, nobody knows enough about them to say for sure, this is how they should be kept. The same thing happened with iguanas. 20, or even 10 years ago the best iguana diet included cat food and monkey biscuits. We now know that animal protein in an ig's diet will eventually kill it. I think there are as many ig diets as glider diets out there... and all are recommended by people with lots of experience.

As a result, in order to keep an exotic pet, you almost have to be an obsessive hobbiest. You have to be constantly researching and updating your techniques. I know that Ca : Ph is just as big a deal with gliders as it is with igs, since they're also prone to calcium deficiencies. So you have to research every food item you give - every diet you consider - to make sure you have the right Ca : Ph balance. How many pet owners are willing to go through those kind of lengths? A good portion of them can't even take care of their dog or cat right... and yet it's just as easy to get a hold of an animal that's even harder to take care of.

If a dog or cat ends up at the humane society, chances are it will be adopted to someone who can take care of it. But exotics are put to sleep sooner than dogs and cats; they're difficult to manage (in your typical humane society or animal control) and difficult to adopt out to competent owners.

There are lots of people with exotics who are doing wonderfully with them. Unfortunately, there are even more who aren't. In Florida, if you have a pet iguana that you're sick of, it's common practice to just let it go. Iguanas do well in Florida, and there is now a large population of feral iguanas who are roaming around. They will eventually alter and destroy the ecosystem, since they are a non native species.

I think stricter regulations need to be put on the sale and keeping of exotics. As much as I would hate to have to apply for a permit to keep my birds and my iguana, it might save the lives of quite a few animals.

BTW - your glider cage is cute :) I'm glad my sister has a pair - I can visit them, then leave them at her house. She feels the same way about my birds, so it's all good.
 

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As long as money is involved, it will always be a buyer beware marketplace. That will never change. Its horrible, but all we can do is try to educate everyone we see. I don't know how many times I've been in Petco or some other pet store and corrected employees poor information, or complained about the improper setups and/or diets. Calling people out on their ignorance is about all we can do to try and help.

I myself have a glider that was bought by a man who thought he saw an opportunity when gliders first started becoming popular here, and he got a pair to breed. Well, it ended up being two males that absolutely did not get along, and because he had no idea what he was doing one died in his care. I managed to talk him out of the other one and have had him for four years now. He's still quite antisocial, but does his own thing.

I also do iguana rescue, and have one that was being fed almost nothing but cheese for the first three years of its life. When I got her she was so horribly bloated that she could barely move, once I put her on a proper diet she shrunk to skin and bones. It took well over a year for her to fully recover and start looking like a normal iguana again. I've had her for five years now, and I'm hoping her first few years didn't shorten her lifespan too terribly.

Rav
 

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aye,..

Unfortunately I know a guy right now who has a pair of gambian giant pouched rats.... he wanted to breed them but they never bred, and as soon as the monkeypox crap came about, he has since talked about putting them down and "feeding them to his friend's snakes".... Having a pet african pouched rat, myself (related to the gambian), it hit me hard to hear someone say something like that.. and the guy I've met twice at a mouse meet! He breeds HUNDREDS upon hundreds of rare and exotic mouse and hamster mutations.. almost all of which wind up as reptile food! To get a pair of gambian rats.. who are rare enough as it is and try breeding them too?? ahh!!

I've talked and talked and e-mailed him about them... to no avail.. he just downright refuses to give them up for fear of being caught with them (illegal issues with monkeypox ban).. I can't get a contract signed that I won't turn him in, because it's illegal goods.. I can't do anything at all to ensure that these guys find good homes.. I mean, it took me 5+ YEARS of waiting to get my pet pouched rat. He's the world to me, and he's the king of the household.. the thought that there are a pair of pouched rats out there that I just simply can't do a thing about, that they're pretty much destined to be destroyed one way or another bothers me to no end. I notify the humane society or USDA department, etc? they're put down. I notify animal control? they're put down.. I leave them with him? probably already destroyed...

Sometimes I wish I knew where he lived so i could put HIM down....
 
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