Introducing sugar gliders to each other
A frequent question that gets asked alot is how to introduce new sugar gliders to the existing gliders that you already have, so I thought I would try to help with some tips and tricks that I and many other glider owners have used over the years.
1. It is best to have your new glider checked out at the vets office to make sure that he/she is healthy and free of parasites before starting introductions. And then another 30 days have another fecal done to make sure that there were no underlying parasites that might have been in a dormant or shedding cycle. After the 30 day and another all clear from your vet is when I would start introductions.
2. Cages should be side by side (but not close enough that they can grab each other through the cage bars) for at least a week or maybe longer depending on how they react to each other. If they seem aggressive towards each other I would wait another week and so on.
3. After you have determined that they are not aggressive with the cages side by side you can start swapping cage pouches, fleece, toys, etc from cage to cage. I personally would do this for a couple of weeks so they can get used to each others scent and being forced to live with each others scent in “their” territory.
4. You can even swap out the cages themselves when you notice that they are no longer bothered by each others scent in their cages. I have taken out the cage pouches while they were sleeping and put them in the opposite cage and vice versa, so when they woke up they were in each others cages getting used to everything and then in a day or 2 I would swap them out again and continued to do that for a week to 2 weeks.
5. Face to face introductions can be scary, not so much for them but for us (LOL). I like to do my face to face in the bathtub and this is how I do mine. a. I would take the 2 cage pouches out and lay them facing each other on the bottom of the cage just about 3-5 inches apart and just sit and wait for them to come out on their own to check each other out. b. There could be some chasing, spatting, grabbing, crabbing and balling up going on and ALL of that is normal. If they ball up your immediate response is to separate them, but what you really need to do is to have the unbearable patience to see if they separate on their own within 10-20 seconds. They are trying to establish their dominance and for them to live successfully they need to learn the pecking order of the colony. Of course if one is getting seriously injured or they do not seem to break up their fight on their own, you will need to step in. We obviously do not want any injured gliders. c. Face to face introductions work best late mornings or early afternoons when they are their sleepiest. Introductions seem to not work out so well in the evening or early mornings when they are ready to get up and play. They seem more territorial early mornings and evenings.
6. If everything seems fine and calm and they all go back into one pouch on their own, then I will scoop up that single pouch and hold it close to me on the couch for about 30 minutes to an hour to make sure that they are all truly getting along. Dropping some treats in the pouch helps at this time too. a. If they seem to be spatting a little bit (but not fighting) while they are all in the cage pouch together, you can try manipulating the cage pouch so they HAVE to be in each others face. And by manipulating the cage pouch I mean rubbing it, squishing it like bread dough or mixing hamburger.... but not rough of course.... we don’t want to hurt them, just forcing them to be in each others space. (you obviously don’t want to do this if they are fighting and attacking each other)
7. If all went well while they are in the pouch after they have sat with you, you can put them in whichever cage you want since they have already spent time getting used to each others scent if you were swapping stuff out. a. Some people will have a neutral clean cage on standby for after introductions were a success.
Other tips and tricks!
1. Putting a little vanilla on their heads, chest, back and tail area to mask each others scent.
2. Doing supervised playtime in the bathroom or tent.
3. Wearing the same clothes for both cages when doing playtime, since they love marking us it will smell like both cages of gliders.
4. Using the same bonding bag for both cages of gliders. 5. Getting both gliders from the same breeder at the same time so they can do the introductions! LOL
Disclaimer....... Not every glider will get along with each other and some may NEVER accept other gliders. So keep that in mind and be prepared to always have 2 cages. That doesn’t mean you have to give up, but you don’t want to force them into something they don’t want to do or something that could cause injuries.
Alpha (males and females) gliders may need more time to accept other alphas.
I always suggest that gliders be close in age or at the very least close in size when doing introductions. You never want any accidents or injuries, so its always better to be safe than sorry.
I do not suggest introducing multiple intact males together with a female. Male sugar gliders can and have fought to the death over breeding rights with a female. I do not suggest introducing multiple females together with an intact male either. Joey stealing, rejection and cannibalization can and has occurred with having unrelated females (as well as related) together in a breeding situation.
I wish you all the best of luck in your introductions