A: Choosing a diet for your gliders is a personal choice. There is no BEST diet. There are a number of recognized diet for Sugar Gliders and they have produced happy healthy gliders for some time. Read each of the recognized glider diets (see the Links page) and choose the diet that you are most comfortable making for your glider and for which you can get the ingredients easily. There are no system for "approving" diets for Sugar Gliders. All of the recognized glider diets have been developed by individuals, usually with their glider veterinarian's approval and possibly assistance. I have developed personal diet recipes choosing ingredients and amounts that place the nutrient values midrange between the highest and lowest values found in recognized glider diets that have been in use by many owners for several years. I feel this diet is the best diet for my gliders, but it may not be the best choice for you and your gliders.
Q: Why are Calcium to Phosphorus Ratios important?
A: Calcium and Phosphorus are two minerals that are important to many body functions in all animals, humans included. There is a natural balance in the body that maintains levels of calcium at twice as much as the phosphorus level. This balance or homeostasis is a complicated metabolic function involving the parathyroid gland, kidneys, bones and digestive system. Calcium and Phosphorus blood levels remain close to a relative 2 to 1 balance maintained by the body regardless of the dietary intake amounts of these minerals. When the diet does not provide more calcium than phosphorus, the body can release calcium from bones to make up the difference. Over a long period of time, the body’s use of calcium from the bones to maintain this homeostasis, can result in weakening of the bones. Gliders have very small bones and they can suffer from metabolic bone disease when the amount of phosphorus in the diet exceeds the calcium for a long period of time. Low levels of calcium compared to phosphorus in gliders can also cause kidney problems, seizures, hind leg paralysis and other health issues. To prevent these health issues it is generally believed that feeding a diet rich in calcium with a calcium to phosphorus ratio between 1.5:1 and 2:1 is the best way to prevent these health issues in our gliders.
Q: How do I find the ratio of calcium to phosphorus when I am feeding several different fruits and vegetables with my glider diet?
A: You cannot simply add ratios to get a combined value. Click here to read examples of the calculations and how adding ratios can give incorrect values.
Please keep in mind that it is not just the ratio but the actual amounts of calcium & phosphorus in the foods you combine that you need to be concerned with. Calcium & phosphorus amounts depend on the volume of the foods combined. Ratios do not change with the volume for a single food. Foods with identical ratios may have very different amounts of calcium and phosphorus. A cup of one food with 40 mg calcium and 20 mg phosphorus has a ratio of 2:1 but so does a cup of another food with 100 mg calcium and 50 mg calcium. You would need 2.5 cups of the first food to equal the calcium and phosphorus amounts of the second food - and it would still have a 2:1 ratio.
To calculate the ratio for a glider meal that contains several different foods, you must determine the amount of calcium and the amount of phosphorus in the volume of each food you are combining. You then add all the calcium amounts in mg, add all the phosphorus amounts in mg then divide the total mg calcium by the total mg phosphorus to get the first part of the ratio compared to 1 part phosphorus. You may find the Diet Calculator useful to do the math for you. The printable Nutrient List in PDF format gives values for 1 TBS portions. For a specific meal you need to combine the values in the amounts (portion sizes) of the foods you are feeding together.
Q: How do I become a Glider Rescue Home?
A: There are many glider owners that are quickly caught up in the joy of caring for their gliders and the desire to help all gliders in need of a wonderful glider home. Click here to see a list of considerations and questions to ask yourself before announcing that you are a glider rescue home.
I purchased a nice (or so I thought) cage for my first two gliders. It quickly turned out to be much too small for my two very active gliders. My thoughts turned to finding a bigger cage so I purchased a large economy cage. This cage had many faults - non-removable bottom grate that was hard to clean, small slide up doors that prohibited getting a glider safe wheel in or out without taking the cage apart, it rattled every time the gliders jumped and the paint began to chip within 6 months. Finally I purchased a large, well made, sturdy cage. It had large swing out doors, removable bottom grate, easy to clean cage pan, sturdy construction with thicker cage bars and a metal frame around each panel. For the combined cost of the first two cages - I could have purchase the sturdy cage first and had much more to spend on other goodies for my gliders.
I am still using this cage after 6 years - and have purchased 2 more just like it as the family grew to 3 glider colonies.
The first thing most people look for in a cage for their gliders is the size best suited for their glider colony.
For 2 or 3 gliders the BRISBANE or STURDY CAGE is a good choice I feel this is the minimum size cage for gliders.
The MADAGASCAR CAGE offers more space for up to 4 gliders with the advantage of a smaller foot print if you floor space is limited.
The CONGO or LARGE STURDY CAGE is the one I would choose if my current cages needed replacement. This cage would comfortably house a large colony of up to 7 or 8 gliders.
A: I see more comments on gliders having cracked fur in the fall and spring.
I believe gliders, like many other animals, have a thicker undercoat during the cold winter months and what we see as "cracking" may be the result of the transition between a warm weather coat and a winter coat. It probably takes some gliders a little longer to shed the thicker fur and there may also be a difference between males and females in the thickness of their winter fur.
We still have much to learn from our gliders and about them. If gliders are on a healthy diet and kept in a comfortable environment - temperatures and humidity - then we might just have to accept the 'bed head' look during seasonal changes.
Sometimes we over think what we are seeing with our gliders and go looking for problems that are not really there.