Before I begin, let me say that I would NOT recommend traveling with joeys this young. Travel stresses gliders very much and this is a time that you want to keep stress as low as possible to reduce the risk of rejection or worse cannibalization. However, if you do not have anyone who is trained in caring for gliders (especially joeys) who can petsit while you’re gone, I hope that you’ll find this post helpful. This is simply what I learned from my experience of taking a nine-day vacation with my four gliders.
We decided to take a trip to Houston, TX to celebrate my parents’ 20th anniversary. Since we just moved recently, I didn’t know anyone in the area who had experience with sugar gliders – let alone caring for joeys. I had no choice but to bring them all along.
What I brought
- Since the joeys were still in danger of being rejected, I had to bring my entire joey rejection kit. (You can see my post about creating it here). It took up a lot of space, but it was necessary as it could save the life of the babies if they were rejected.
- I brought my travel cage. It works well for overnight trips, but I was not comfortable knowing that four gliders would be stuck inside of a tiny cage for over a week.
- I bought this pet exercise pen off of Amazon for $38.99. It was 30″ x 30″ x 20″. I put the cage inside of this and let them run around inside at night. It gave them a little more space. Looking back, I wish I would have bought a larger size. However, this did the job fine.
- I brought their wheel. My gliders absolutely LOVE their wheel. This is a huge stress reliever for them.
- LOTS of treats. Ink and Dreamer got a lot more treats than normal!
- I also brought bottled water. They can’t drink from the hotel water (chlorine) and I didn’t want to risk any of the airbnb water. So I brought along a bunch of bottled water ‘cause I knew it’d be safe for them.
- I brought an apple to cut up and put in their bonding pouch while we traveled so that they could have something to munch on if they were hungry and to keep them hydrated.
Total we had four days of driving. That was definitely the hardest part. We spent each day just driving. They slept in my bonding pouch. This was the joeys first time in a bonding pouch. It took them a little while to settle down. There was a bit of crabbing and crying. But eventually they went to sleep and slept the majority of the trip. Then we stayed in hotels at night. I didn’t set up the extra exercise pen, so they were in the tiny cage for the night. I put tons of treats in for Ink and Dreamer. (For most of the trip, I was mainly trying to limit stress on the parents – especially Dreamer – because if she was healthy emotionally and physically, she would care for the joeys well.)
At The Airbnb
Once the driving was over, we arrived at the airbnb. I got the cage set up inside of the pen and put a lot of foraging toys around with tons of treats inside. I decided that, for the time, I would allow my gliders to have much more treats than normal just to keep their emotional health okay. Now that they’re back home, they have been reduced to the normal amount of treats (and I’m sure that they’re not thrilled about that!).
During the day, my gliders slept in their travel cage. I didn’t take them around with them as that would have caused much more stress. At night they got up at their usual time and set about exploring. They ran on their wheel a lot.
Dreamer was comfortable enough with her surroundings that she would carry one of the joeys around on her back when she ran on the wheel or climbed around the cage. Towards the end of the trip (after the babies were four weeks old) they even started poking out of the nest and exploring the cage themselves.
My plan was to let the gliders out every night to run around like I normally do. However, the room where I had them set up (and the whole house, lol) had so much stuff everywhere that if I’d let them out and they’d escaped from me, they could have easily hidden and I might have been unable to find them. There were also tons of hazards in the room, so I decided that it would be safer just to leave them inside of the cage until we got home. (And yes, it was torture for me – I hated seeing them in such tight spaces). Most nights I’d sit by their cage and talk to them, feed them treats or hold the joeys.
Every night before I went to bed and every morning after the gliders were asleep, I’d check on everyone to make sure that that the joeys were safe and there was no self-mutilating of the adults (due to stress or depression).
I kept a very close eye on them the whole trip. I slept very close to their cage and got up frequently in the night to check on them to be sure that they were alright.
Ink, Dreamer and the joeys did amazingly well. I was so proud of them. And so thankful. A ton of prayer went into this trip! They were thrilled to be back in their normal cage. Other than being stuck in a smaller space for a while, they don’t seem to have suffered any harm.
Have you ever traveled with baby animals? Tips?