I hear a lot of people talking about doing play dates with their sugar gliders. I personally am very against the idea. Here are five reasons that play dates can be harmful to your gliders.
One: Passing Sicknesses
When a person gets a new sugar glider, that glider is almost always quarantined for a month before being introduced to the other gliders. That is done to insure that the new glider doesn’t have any sickness or parasites that it could pass on to the healthy gliders.
While you may think that your gliders are healthy, by allowing them to interact with other gliders, you could unknowingly pass on a parasite or your glider could pick one up from the other gliders. Gliders hide signs of illness so well that by the time you realize they’re sick, it’s likely that they would have already passed on their illness.
Glider owners are so strict and rigid on the quarantining time for new gliders. I don’t see why it should be different for play dates.
Normal glider introductions are done with great care and typically over a long period of time. Even with all of the care and caution that owners take, those gliders can still fight and cause serious damage to each other. If you’re doing a play date and just put a bunch of random gliders together that don’t know each other, it’s a recipe for disaster. There will be fighting and it’s very likely that at least one of the gliders will be hurt.
If you’re bringing your gliders into a friend’s home, your gliders will, in essence, be trespassing on the other gliders territory. That can lead to territorial fights and over marking.
Just like many other animals, gliders have a hierarchy system. If they’re constantly being put with strange new gliders and then being taken away, that’s going to mess with the hierarchy.
Three: Bonding and Being Taken Away
If, by chance, your gliders and your friend’s gliders hit it off and really enjoy spending time together, it’s not fair to allow them to play together for an hour every little while and then take them away. Gliders bond very strongly with humans and with each other and it will cause a lot of stress if they’re constantly being reintroduced and then separated.
Four: General Stress
Being around new gliders and new smells and being out of their normal environment is going to stress them out. Gliders are very easily stressed and play dates will cause a significant amount.
Stress can lead to weight loss/weight gain and self-mutilation. Is a play date really worth that?
Five: Disturbed Sleep
You probably aren’t going to go to your friend’s house late at night and truck along food and water and toys for your gliders. Play dates are most likely to happen in the day time. Since gliders are nocturnal, this means that you are waking them up in the middle of their night and forcing them to interact with strange gliders in a bright environment.
You must remember that gliders are not like dogs or other such animals that would enjoy play dates. Gliders are very sensitive and very territorial. Before agreeing to a play date, please think long and hard about whether or not it will harm your glider.