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April 28, 2009



You get what you pay for....


Funny how wild animals tend to bite.


That's a fugly little thang.

NO NAME FOR YOU! (name nazi)

Carla! How could you?

It's freaking adorable! It's little nose and huge, buggy eyes!

I want one.


If you had gone to a reputable sugar glider breeder that you mention first and not a discounter from craigslist you would probably not be facing the devil-child you describe. Should have listened to your own advice.


Poor Tova! I hope Sheila is just bitchy because she's getting acclimated to a new home!


People try to sell what they can't take care of. They buy into the "Cute Factor" and don't do their homework. Gliders are labeled "exotic" for a reason. This is a perfect example of neglect on the previous owners part and you paid for what you got. A cheap, mishandled glider, that they just wanted to get rid of. Now, you need to invest time (and pain) into this glider to be "worth" the cuteness you originally bought Sheila for. She will become sweet and bond to you if you can endure the taming for a while. Breeders really spend a LOT of time with the gliders up front to make them tame up front, but that has to be maintained. All that one-on-one time by the breeders is what makes them a bit more expensive (and to get you out of the Impulse Buy mentality). Sure you could buy them off Craigslist or buy them at your County Fair or some Garden Expo for an enticing price. Those mill breeders KNOW that you will impulse buy at that price. They KNOW that the cute factor will make you make an uneducated purchase. In the end you will get exactly what you paid for though.... A sick, unwieldly, unweened, parisite ridden, inbred, non-refundable, malnutritioned, little devil... but hey you saved $50 bucks right? Shelia, more than likely was originally purchased from a mill breeder. Depending on the diet the previous owners fed Shelia, she might be getting sick or is sick. Gliders can live 14 years in captivity but on the wrong diet are not known to live for more than 2 years.
My advice... Get involved. Learn what the animal needs to be happy, healthy, and bonded. Go to
(which is a site my wife and I made)
for a good diet
and then swing by
You can send us any questions you have from the website and we would love to help you actually enjoy your new pet.
We are sorry that Shelia, is not a good pet right now but hopefully you have the willpower to stick it out and she will become tame with the right care.


Great advice from GR1F1Th. Glad my husband refrains me from impulse buying.


Yes, Gr1F1TH is right. If you want a tame glider, you have to put work into it. Good breeders spend time handling their joeys from day ONE. Let's look at this from the glider's perspective. Sheila more than likely originally came from a mill breeder (possibly selling at a trade show or state fair). This means she may have been inbred (= health issues), was probably pulled from her parents way too young (possibly 5-6 weeks out of the pouch), more than likely had parasites, and was probably recommended & put on a poor diet. When the previous owner got her, she was probably scared out of her mind and sick. She had never been handled by humans before and saw the new owners as a threat. She probably crabbed at them to scare them off. They probably never handled her. They probably kept her in a small cage (possibly with no warm fleece pouch to sleep in & no wheel to run in). They probably fed her some crappy pellet food. She lived for two years scared, lonely, possibly sick, and improperly nourished. Then one day, she got thrown into a shoe box and handed over to you.

When you think about it that way, can you blame her for being scared, crabbing at you, & biting you?

If you are willing to put the time and energy into bonding with her, you could have a really great pet on your hands. If your not, my guess is she'll wind up right back on craigslist & eventually dead or in a rescue facility. It is your responsibility to care for this little girl.

There are some great tips on Even though Sheila's not a joey, she probably did come from a mill, so the suggestions still hold true. The main things to focus on are getting her to the vet & tested for parasites, putting her on an approved diet (, making sure her cage is large enough (, starting the bonding process (, and finding a cage mate for her (hopefully one from a reputable breeder). If you find that Sheila has parasites, you will be medicating her and need to keep her quarantined from the future cage mate for 30 days.

I know someone who currently going through all of this with some mill babies & she is making great progress with them. Please feel free join my google group and post about your experience ( I'm sure she'll chime in & comment. You will have a much longer road ahead of you because Sheila's had 2 years to get set in her ways, but there is hope.

Another good resource is There is tons of info in there about diet, bonding, etc.

I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.



i say try some reiki on it. i had a feral cat, for 5 years would never let me touch her. then a friend who does reiki, came over and did a healing on the cat, and presto! she was a normal cat for the rest of her life! i swear by reiki. have used it on other pets as well.


This reminds me of the time I got my son an iguana. He was never easy to deal with and had to eat fresh veggies every day. We let him live outside in the summer (in Texas) and he got out of his cage (Oh, too bad!)and was never seen again. I felt bad, but I was not an informed pet owner. It was impossible to find a home for him elsewhere. Not a good petchoice and also possible salmonella source.


Sounds like you've been given some great advice. Problem pets, like pound puppies, can really be worth it, but they require more than your average amount of love, attention, and endurance. Good luck, and don't give up on her.


This is Tova, Sheila's owner.

Wow, I never thought anyone would take that so seriously...

For GR1F1TH, Misty and all who are actually concerned for Sheila's well-being, the letter I wrote to Chris was sarcastic, she's truly not the devil. She has an amazing aviary, 3 pouches, and wonderful glider-specific enrichment toys. She has vitamins, calcium supplements, breed-specific food and I even buy her organic fruits for her fruit intake. She is not an accessory in the corner, not by any means.

I do know that gliders get cranky when re-homed as they are very territorial & bond by scent. Their worlds temporarily turn upside down until they are acclimated.

This was not an impulse buy. We have been looking into gliders for 3 years. As for the Craiglist-type ad, yes we purchased her at a discount but that was not WHY we purchased her. We knew we would provide that good home that she needed. They were animal lovers and she was not neglected, but I know they said they didn't handle her as much as they should, and I know they won't go all OCD about her care like I will.

I wanted her to have a good home with someone who would actually treat her right and feed her the correct diet & give her appropriate mental stimulation as I do know that not doing so could be fatal.

"Exotic" is just another word for "wild", and even bunnies fall into that category. As far as I have read, only dogs and cats have been bred to live as pets over thousands of years to truly earn the name "domesticated".

She bit because she thought we had food -- the last owner would feed her crickets through the cage wires with his fingers and that's the circumstance where she has bitten. She is certainly not an "attack glider". You can stroke her as she eats and put your hand in her aviary with no fear of losing digits. In fact she'll scurry out onto your arm to retrieve those tasty meal worms!

She crabbed, from what I have researched, because she got woken up during the daytime and we were moving her pouch. She was scared, of course. This is a natural sound gliders make. It is a little unnerving to the first-time glider owner, yes, but that's how nature designed it to ward off enemies. So good for her, it works.

I was just trying to be entertaining with my "devil" letter to Chris, so anyone who is actually concerned about the well-being of this little girl, not to worry. We are very responsible pet owners, have already bought her over 200 dollars of additional glider-specific items and she is in her bonding pouch, hanging from my daughter's neck as I type.

I do know the bonding and acclimation process takes time but that even the most unsocialized gliders can become worthy friends with patience and effort, and I have researched ways on how to do this. She may never be as friendly as a glider joey bonded from youth (although all gliders, like any animal, have unique personalities and some are naturally more passive than others), but I know she will learn to trust us more and more with time.

I understand, as should anyone considering a glider, that this is not a hamster. Anyone who does not want to put the time and energy into caring for this very INTELLIGENT animal with very special dietary, habitat and social needs should not consider purchasing one.

This girl needed a home & we stepped up to the plate. It wasn't about the saved money, it was more of a rescue to be sure she was going to get what she needed and what she deserved, proper care for the rest of her life.

No need to worry about Sheila.

...Or me, I still have ten fingers (for now... Bwah, ha ha ha!)


And thank you, Name Nazi, for sticking up for her!


Boycott the exotic pet trade.

I've owned parrots for many years and have come to the conclusion that wild animals should not be purchased by anyone. If we weren't foolish (selfish??) enough to buy these magnificent creatures, there wouldn't be any Sheila's in the world.

Animal Rescue Queen

I can honestly tell you, my aunt's second husband (my uncle passed away) had a cockatiel that NO ONE could touch but him. But, once they were married, they were traveling a LOT and didn't have time for the bird. He gave it to a family and, unbelievably, it was like night and day. The bird runs around between the kids while they watch TV on the floor, perching on their fingers and popcorn bowls. The kids play with him for HOURS, making him houses, clothes, you name it. The difference is TIME. Giving time and love to the bird was all he needed.

Give the glider love and time.


I have always felt that these animals should not be used as pets. Those huge adorable eyes? Yeah. That means they're NOCTURNAL. As in, should be allowed to sleep in the dark during the day... or.... they act crazy!!! Wouldn't you?

PS..Leslie... cool to see Reiki mentioned in here. I am a master and often use it on my animals.


Even as Sheila's owner, I completely agree that wild animals should be wild. I have never, ever purchased from a pet store, breeder, etc.

Any animal I have ever had has been a rescue. They are already stuck in captivity and would not survive in the wild, so I would rather they have a home where they are cared for in the correct manner than used as a conversation piece for friends to be discarded when they are inconvenient. Worst case scenario, I take them in and give them care until I can find a suitable sanctuary for them.

I talked to a breeder today who said Sheila would have died if we did not take her, as the diet the previous owners were feeding her was more fit for a rabbit than a glider- which explains the sudden death of her sister (before I got her but recent).

Hopefully she will survive, but time will tell. I had her nutritional supplements and proper food rushed to our home, so now she has everything she needs moving forward.

But I don't believe in purchasing or breeding any wild animals, not even birds, not even a parakeet. I did own a lovebird once, who was an AMAZING little boy, but he was -- of course -- a rescue - a homeless bird found after a hurricane (yes we tried for months to find the owner but could not).

I would never add to the greedy pet breeding industry by purchasing such a pet.

Yep, I am the picker-upper. My kitties and dogs all come from shelters, and the others sort of fall into my hands by owner surrender or being lost. I am a critter-lover, not that I have a zoo at home (just 3 kitties, a rescue mouse and now Sheila), but I can't ignore a critter in need. I am the one who rescued Lucky (the one-eared orange kitten, just appeared again on Chris' latest show posted yesterday), a stray who was hit by a car and left for dead, and the other day I rescued a baby bird from a busy parking lot and brought it to a rehab. If a turtle is stuck in the road? You guessed it! I relocate it to a lake away from traffic.

I don't want to add to the problem of pet overpopulation, but I do my small part in helping those who are already in the system! I would rather Sheila be free, roaming the canopies of Australia or Indonesia than in my home. But it is what it already is. At least now she will get the proper care.


...and, Leigh, she does sleep during the day. We picked her up in the evening so she was crabby, of course, as she was not through sleeping. And she stayed in her sleeping pouch for the trip, we put that in a small box only so she would not crawl out of the pouch and get lost in the car. Someone envisioned her being thrown in a box in another comment... That was not the case.


And, furthermore, living in Florida I see every day the reprocussions of irresponsible pet ownership. We are overwhelmed with iguanas, which are certainly NOT native to my area, but from owners letting them loose (or them escaping, either way!) they have become quite the well-adapted invasive species and are really getting into some sticky situations.

Another, much larger problem, are those who have let their pythons loose in the Everglades. These snakes are breeding like crazy, eating the deer - even alligators! The wildlife officials can't keep up, can't get rid of them, and they are taking over and completely making a mess of the ecosystem.

Sadly, they have even found their way to an island in the keys that is a refuge for the small Key Deer, or "toy deer". This is the only place the deer can be found to my knowledge, the entire island is their refuge and they are fiercely protected, and now a bunch of ex-pets are using them as dinner.

I totally, totally agree. Wild pets SHOULD be kept wild. But greed takes over, breeders make a fortune, and they don't care who they sell their pets to - so long as they are making the money. I can't save them all, but at least I have all of my animals fully vetted and sterilized, would never breed even a kitten - despite the enormous cute factor - as I feel it is entirely irresponsible. My kids have begged me, but I have promised we can foster abaondoned kittens from a local rescue, I will not ever allow one of our pets to breed more. We can help what is already out there, but we will never add to the problem.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Have yourelves a merry little Christmas...



Fugly, I say!


It was a funny letter, Tova.


Thank you, Tova. These are very long letters back-and-forth.
I think your sarcastic letter is humorous.


Thanks! Maybe it will spark one of my made-in-under-3-minutes poems of death. Although I still feel guilty about portraying koalas as bloodthirsty tourist slayers... (but it is what it is... I don't make the rules, I simply write poems about them)

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