This was written by Bourbon. One of the most knowledgeable people I know on Sugar Gliders and a wonderful friend !!!.
**Scroll through this, 1 line at a time*
One of the first things we do is to sit back and start watching the gliders, we have to spend as much time getting to know them, that they need to get to know you, through this time, we really want them to love us immediately, but the truth is, why should they? do they know you? do they speak your language? have they spent enough time with you to learn what your body language means, rather than what THEY perceive it as? NO? well then we will just have to fix that now won't we?
Just as no 2 kids are the same, neither are the gliders, each one has their own ways of talking to you, and each one will read you differently as well. It is up to YOU, to put words to their actions, You need to start to understand what they are feeling, why that may be, and help with possible solutions to fix it. Then you can take the next step to fixing it.
I will take you for a walk..... a walk into the mind of your glider, a place you will find yourself, more and more, and a place that will be the starting point and the most important part of trying to help yours and your gliders relationship. You will find this is not only fun, but it will be very rewarding. learning your glider, becoming one with them requires understanding, compassion, love and a lot of patience.
Looking at life through THEIR eyes, not ours.
To look at life through their eyes..it is a hypothetical exercise, to get you to think about how your glider may feel about different situations,
Okay , when I am done, I want you to sit back and really think of anything you may have done, anxieties included. After reading this, it should make you sit back and say.. okay now I know better.. and then work on changing things. PRACTICE what you learn here.
The first thing I want to do is make you do some thinking, some thinking as a glider, not as the owner.
Did you know a glider of 100 grams and a human of 125 lbs, that we are 700 times the size of a glider. (now do your own math to get a real comparison based on your weight, and your gliders.)but I am going to use these figures for our examples here.) to imagine what life for our gliders would be like, having an owner that compares, we would have to imagine something..........
87,500 lbs and moving and making noises that we don't understand. now sit back before you continue on, think about this.. think of things you could imagine that is that big, and would be our owner.......
Personally I couldn't even imagine something that big moving, talking a different language, something that wouldn't understand our feelings.
So I am going to use King Kong, as my owner, (thinking of the movie, with the girl in his hand on the side of the empire state building,) although the picture is unrealistic according to scale (woman same size as the plane) imagine if she was scaled smaller to the right size..
For those that want a good visual, here is a picture
Now imagine King Kong just getting you (your only 5 years old)and placing you in a little room, with nothing in it, no furniture, nothing ... (The room is your pouch), the door is only a window, (the top of the pouch)but very high in a building like structure with NOTHING to climb out on to, in order to escape, you can look out, and what you see is ODD, it is not like anything you have ever seen before, the life outside of that window is strange, scary and totally unfamiliar.
Now King Kong walks by, makes some noises
and puts his hand in the window, and tries to grab you. What defenses do you have against King Kong? Kicking, screaming, biting (lunging, crabbing biting), They really are not going to do much damage , but you are so scared, you try them anyway. Nothing is working, and you continue to try, he may get annoyed and drop you, but he comes back and grabs you again. NOW.. what are you thinking?
Do you care he wants to be your friend? Of course not, what are you worried about? Why are you afraid? Because simply put, you don't want to be his breakfast, lunch or midnight marshmallow snack, for as much as you know about monsters this size, they want to eat you. Why would he want to be friends with you? You have NOTHING in common at all. You can't even understand what each other is saying.
Oh no, he gets you,
He just put you in a bag, and he carrying you out of your room.. what are you thinking? Where is he taking you, What is he going to do.. again are you thinking he wants to be your friend? At this point, do you really care? Probably not, Do you want to wait around to find out? What are you thinking? The same fears and anxieties as earlier, you don't know, and your uncertain about what is going to happen to you, it is overwhelming to you. Your heart is pumping , very fast, you are breathing very hard, your body shakes with fear and your adrenaline is really pumping now..
Oh, he stopped...everything is calm.. what is happening, what is he going to do? You can't see him.. are you going to be calm and wait to see or are you going to take the first chance you can to get away?
He opens the bag....... he looks at you, all you can see is his face ... what are you really looking at? are you watching his eyes? or his mouth? He is making noises..what is he saying? Is he saying how delicious you look? or is he trying to be friends?
Again, do you care that he wants to be friends? In your head, again, you don't know, it could be either way? Which chance are you going to take? The chance he wants to be friends, or the chance he wants to eat you? My money would be the majority of people would think, he wants to eat them.. now you start screaming to leave you alone, you might even try to bite and kick him, but one thing is for sure, again, your heart is beating, you are shaking, your breathing heavy.
Here it comes, he puts his hand into your bag... he hasn't touched you yet.. now what are you thinking? what do you think he is doing? what will you do or try now?
Some will choose to wait and see, some will choose to bite and continue to fight. Some will try like heckto get out past his hand... (remember different people (gliders) act differently) this part can go in so many different directions..but I would......
Try like heck to get as far away from him as possible, cause I KNOW in my head, he wants to eat me, and I am not ready to be his snack cake. sooooo. I will bite first then when he stops, I will run as fast and as far as I can...I will do anything to stay away from him. what would you do? What would you think and why?
Self Preservation kicks in and you.....
are so small and he is so big, you have to be quick, smart, you must first get out.. so you bite him, run past his hand, run out, jump, do you care that you may get hurt, do you care the area may be more dangerous than he is? Probably not.,He tries to grab you, you are too quick for him, you get away, you run and hide, he uncovers you, and reaches for you. you run under something he continues to come after you. Your heart is pounding so hard, you feel it in your throat. you run again, you climb up something he tries to grab you again. You run again, You jump,
you trip, you are down..
Gawd, he catches you....he is holding you tight, you can't get away, You bite him, he puts you back in the bag, he closes it up tight..
you are moving, where is he taking you? What is going to do? did you anger him? How are you feeling right now? do you think he wants to be friends now? probably not. What are you truly thinking? what are you feeling? What are your plans now?
He puts you back into your room....
What do you do? What are you thinking? What are you going to do when he comes back? How are you going to act? put yourself now in the many situations, that you have placed your glider/gliders in attempts to teach them you want to be friends with them, situations where you have tried bonding with them, before you have given them a chance to trust you. Before giving them a chance to get to know you and what your intentions truly are.
After putting our minds, into the frame set of our gliders, most if not all of us, can sit back and say.. I didn't know, I had no idea. Some of the things I did.. were awful I am sure, they had to be, my gliders was telling me they were.. when they showed me the only way they could, I tried harder, making many times the same mistakes over and over again.. until.....
I stopped one day, and looked deep into my Baybe's eyes, and started to place myself, in her tiny world, with me as my own monster.. Life turned around for me, and at the same time, I knew I had to change, for her, and you know what, my changes, gave her an opportunity to start to learn more about me, she reacted differently, not only towards me, but at the life I gave her as well.
She became more comfortable with me, with her surroundings, played more, and she gave me, many, many years of true happiness. we became one, we understood each other, when she spoke to me (with her body language, I listened. Just as she was listening to mine.
When I was happy and calm, so was she, when I was scared, she felt it, she reacted to it, when I was not confidant, and understanding, felt unsure, so did she, she was more anxious, she felt uneasy.
For the next 2 days.... think about this story, think about things you have done, think of how you would have reacted if you were the glider? think about what you will in the future will do differently under the same situations thinking of life through the gliders eyes. could they have been prevented how? How could you have made things easier for the glider?
During these 2 days...do nothing more than use 1 sentence with your glider/gliders open their cage door often, If they are out of the pouch, ONLY look into their eyes, and with the compassion and understanding you have learned, say ONLY 1 sentence.. tell them... everything is going to be ok, do it with the love you feel, keeping your voice steady, sure and low... Watch their body language, learn it, try to put words, and feelings to the looks in their eyes. but keep it, and your hands to yourself, close the door, and go about your business. If they are in the pouch, Open the door, tell them everything is going to be okay, close the door, and walk away. Keeping your hands on the outside of the cage, and your thoughts to yourself.
You will notice when you say that 1 sentence, your tone is now different, your demeanor is now more understanding, the first time, apologize for what has been done in the past while you didn't know, and please let them know.. everything is going to be OK,IF they want to crab, let them, if they feel there is a need to defend themselves, let them, understand why they may feel that way.. look at it through their eyes, their feelings, their thoughts, not yours.
Let us know, what you are noticing, what you are now seeing from both, your eyes and your gliders... remember from here on out, you are looking at life through THEIR eyes, working on THEIR time, on THEIR terms, not yours.
Thank you Bourbon for allowing me to use this article :)