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Bites, Nips, Behaviors.

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Bites, Nips, Behaviors.

Post by Admin/arthur on Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:57 pm

BITERS OR NIPPERS:
There seems to be some confusion between territorial or scared biting and other types of nipping or taste nipping or communicational nipping and/or grooming.
Scared biting: PENCIL SHARPENER CRABBING:
When you first get a sugar glider that may or may not have been handled and the glider crabs at you and you do not listen to the warning, and if you continue forward they may bite and lunge to ward off the invader, YOU. This behavior is a scared response as the baby sugar glider or adult sugar glider is scared of you and has not yet learned to trust the human hand and is trying to sound menacing and to scare you out of his/her house. This type of crabbing is a very constant sound and loud and gets more intense with any movement you do around your un-bonded baby or adult sugar glider. If you leave your hand or knuckles just out of biting reach the glider will change intensity but will increase crabbing when you make any movement. This sound will also be heard if you bother your sugar glider while it is sleeping or bump him/her while they are in a carry/bonding pouch, until they are bonded to you and all the sounds in their new world. The bite is like a rattle snake strike usually strikes and re-coils for another strike if warning is not heeded or scares invader off. Even the first bite is like a bluff as it is trying to scare you not hurt or kill you, but if pushed it could latch on if he/she has no choice and they think their life is in danger from this huge hand.
Sometimes they just lunge and stop short of the bite or the bite is glancing as to give you a stern warning, do not push your sugar glider in to biting you just stand your ground.
See http://bonding book
GRUNT CRAB: This is a short kind of light tone crab a glider may make as they are partially bonded to you. It is if to say you are waking me up and I don’t want to get up. Also can be heard in sugar gliders nest if one glider steps or kicks another glider while sleeping. Sort of like when you roll over and bump your partner in bed and they say honey you kicked me in the back and woke me up. Usually there is no biting with this grunt crab.
TERRITORIAL CRABBING AND BITING:

I only hear this crab and lunging between cages at three different times. One is when I think the female is in heat and the males usually do off beat crab at each other and
shadow each others movements. Second is when mom has babies just oop, I have a female that will try to chase the rival male or female away(in cage next to them) and does the same crabbing and shadowing of the rival. Third is when young joeys start to come out of the nest box(at about three or four weeks oop), the daddy sugar glider and the mommy sugar glider will both do the crabbing and shadow movement to any rivals in another cage next to them. I have even seen 8 - 10 weeks joeys do this behavior as I guess they learned from mom to protect their territory, sometimes also mom has another joey oop or a joey in/out oop when the older babies take on the role of protector. They have never done this behavior toward me only to other gliders in cages next to them. The crabbing sound is not like a scared baby crab but more like a ruhh ruhh with high pitch crab at the end, also can be followed up by lunging toward the rival or short jumps toward their rival target. I have even interrupted a female while she was in protection mode and crabbing at a neighbor and I put my finger up to her she came running to me(which is normal for her) smelled me and looked at me and then ran back and crabbed and shadowed her rival in another cage next to her. She did not see me as a rival or attack me as I am a part of her family and she recognized me as a colony member. I tried another test about the rival crab which is that I handled a neighbors male and female and before I washed my hands I put my hand up to another neighbors cage and sure enough he crabbed(off beat) and lunged at my hand. I then went and washed hands and came immediately back to him opened the cage and put my hand in and he smelled me with no crabbing or biting and I picked him up for some well deserved petting. He didn’t see me as a rival once I had removed the rival sugar glider smell from my hands, I was once again part of his family. This is two different examples of territorial behavior toward rival glider colonies and not toward me. I did take a good bite(she ripped the tip of my little finger) from Peanut when she had little joeys and I had the smell of a semi-mature rival male on it. It was territorial and she was protecting her babies, once I washed up with soap and water she then recognized me as a family member and did not bite me again. That was over two years ago and she has had babies since then and has never bitten me like that again, but I wash when I go from cage to cage. If at a show and I have Peanut in the pocket t-shirt and she wakes up and smells another glider on me as I am showing it off she will lunge through the shirt trying to get to the rival, after I put young glider back and I wash up she will come out and smell around and where that glider was at on me she will start belly marking or a head rub to get her smell back on me, to claim me as hers, she does not bite me while she does this and after hands were washed. She has never bitten me since that one incident with the rival smell and I know it was my fault as she was just protecting her tiny joeys(less than a week oop) from the rival glider and I probably woke her up also! This aggressive or territorial behavior always has the off beat crab associated with it. I have heard from some different people that their sugar glider is friendly with them and then all of a sudden the glider starts the crab, lunging, and biting. It is called a “pit bull biter”, I really don’t like this label as it gives you the definition of a crazy dog that bites everything in sight and won’t let go, I believe a better term may be a territorial biter or protector, because if the off beat crab is associated with this behavior then the sugar glider is protecting his/her territory. The biting we are talking about is drawing blood and trying to kill or wound it’s enemy as it would do to a rival sugar glider that has wondered into their territory. Why would a friendly(bonded) glider think you are now it’s enemy? A few people that I have talked to about having this problem in a couple of cases their everyday time with their glider was interrupted and they couldn’t spend time with them, and the other thing was that their were strange people in their environment or their was change in their out of cage environment. Also if your glider tries to do a claiming dance [sqwaggle dancer] and you stop him/her from doing it could this be the reason. When a glider starts to do the dance before they learn it they will pinch(bite) over and over in same spot like trying to dig in your skin once I see them exhibiting this behavior I repeatedly place them on material on my body so they can get a grip and scent(claim) me. If this scenting behavior is stopped could that be the beginning of the “pit bull biter”. The sugar glider is trying to initiate you into the colony and you are denying his family initiation, could they think you may now be an enemy or a rival colony member. I don’t have much to go on about the “pit bull biter” as I have never had one or raised one. I do get marked, taste nip(young gliders), communication hungry or thirsty nips, initiated in family groups, head rub, belly rubs, scent drips on me, cat rubs, and a lot of purring from my sugar gliders. Some people believe it is an association with a certain smell that the glider doesn’t like and so they attack it. I don’t believe it is that simple or complicated to figure out what smell it is, I smoke and that doesn’t set them off, I use three different soaps when I wash between cages and the only time I saw this behavior is when I had the smell of a neighbors colony smell on me or between colonies at each other. Some how I believe there has been a mistrust between you and your glider to make them think you are now the rival glider and they want to chase you out of their territory, also they do not recognize you as family anymore. I believe people need to look back at a few days before this behavior started and see what changes have been made or if their schedule of play time or treats has been changed or have you spent less time with them and more time with somebody else. Maybe they are JEALOUS!
Maybe you have made them mad in doing or not doing something you always do with them. I always tell people that get a baby from me if you start doing a certain thing with your glider then keep up doing the RITUAL you started with them, whether it is licky treats, chunky treats, play time, certain feeding ritual, snack time, go time, pouch carry time, what ever it is keep it the same or as close as possible to normal for the life of your baby sugar glider and through the life of your adult sugar glider. The territorial crab and lunging that starts from a bonded sugar glider that seems to go psycho wild reminds me of the Meerkats colony that was on animal planet. There was one kat that was suppose to watch the babies as the colony went out hunting, well he didn’t do his job and got caught not watching the babies. He got segregated from the colony and was attacked and chased out of the family for not doing his job. Could this be why some bonded gliders suddenly seem to turn and start the off beat crab or territorial crabbing and lunging at their former bonded humans?
Did that person do something wrong(even unknowingly) that got them basically thrown out of the colony and now are considered a threat or at least not part of that colony?
If this has happened to you then you may need to start over in bonding with numerous treats and time spent with your sugar glider. You also need to try and think back of any changes that were made prior to this behavior started, no matter how small or trivial it may seem to us, it maybe a big deal to your once bonded and loving friend that now considers you a RIVAL and a threat. They need extra time and patience and understanding on our part.
COMMUNICATION, TASTE NIPS, OR GROOMING:
The nips or light pinch bites are not aggressive(territorial) as there is no crabbing at all associated with these nips. They can start out with a very light pinch and proceed to a hard pinch, if sugar glider does not get their message across. As I hold young babies that do a taste nip or hungry communication, at first it is a tiny pinch and if I don’t give treat or let it look out of my cupped hands the next pinches can become a little harder each time until they get what they want. It doesn’t always progress to harder nips, especially if I listen and give them a snack treat. They eat the snack and if they want more they let me know or they take a nap in my hands. Sometimes if they have had enough holding they will let me know and I let them go in pouch or back in cage to go to sleep. When gliders first come out of nest box at about three to four weeks oop they sometimes taste everything new in their environment, sort of like a two year old human baby as everything new goes in their mouth for a taste. I guess they are investigating the new environment and seeing if it is edible or what you or the item tastes like. They also do a grooming which is licking several times and then give a pinch, mine do it on my neck or come up to my ear and purr and nip my ear. They will groom your finger nails also if you have a mole or band aid on your finger they will try and remove it, I guess because they know a band aid is a foreign object that is not normally there and they remove it as they would do for their own glider family member. Although grooming can become vigorous it is not aggressive and is an honor as you are now considered part of their colony. The sqwaggle dance can start as a scent dripping or belly rub and then can look like he/she is biting over and over in same spot and their hind end(legs) look like they are pumping forward and back as they are nipping on bare skin(they are trying to latch on). You need to continually keep placing them on material and say NO as you put them on material. I also pet them as I place them on material. I believe this behavior is a claiming or scenting you or an item they are marking as theirs. It goes in grooming category because grooming is an acceptance into their colony as well as the claim dance, even if it hurts in the beginning it is not aggressive as there is no crabbing associated with it and usually when they finish on me I get a light nip on my ear lobe and hear purring in my ear. Another grooming we have experienced is the wet willie which is where sugar glider is around our ears and may nip the ear lobe and then proceed to stick their tongue in our ear, or the tootsie pop lick, like the commercial with the owl and the tootsie pop lolly pop, they lick, lick, lick, and then give you a pinch, usually they do it on our neck, but can be done on any bare skin.

Something you can try and that I do almost without thinking about it is PET your glider when it starts to nip. When you introduce a glider to another glider sometimes one glider will lay or press their belly onto another glider, this could be a dominance as well as scenting behavior. When I handle my gliders I am always firm petting them after grooming or scenting or as I put them back in their house. I believe if you have a glider that you are bonding to and it is starting to come and investigate you and it starts to nip you, if it isn’t communication for food or grooming then maybe it is establishing a hierarchy with you. I would try very slowly and pet your glider down it’s back or as glider is nipping try and go behind and pet them. It can be just one full body length pet to start with and the glider will probably do a couple of different reaction
1 sit and look up at you
2 crab at you and stand up with hand in the air.
3 run away
4 keep nipping: then just keep petting but also you psst, tskk, ssscckk, or voice change and say NOOO. If he/she keeps nipping as you are petting you can gently put your hand or finger between you and their neck and raise their head up a little and start petting under their chin or scratching them under their chin, this may distract them. Also if they keep nipping hard or biting without crabbing you can gently put a little pressure right behind the head on their shoulder blades for a couple of seconds and say NO and then give a few pets down the full length of the suggies back.
Don’t chase your glider to pet it just kind of do it sneaky if it is afraid of your hand. You have to do the pet every time the baby does this nip or investigating by nipping. I have had little ones at night come up to me and give me a little nip and then look straight up at me as to say well what do you think about that. That’s where I wonder if it’s testing me for a reaction or is it a sort of challenge of who is gonna be in control. I always pet them and try to pick up and look them directly in the eyes and say nooo, and firmly yet gently pet them down the full length of body(you can only do this part if they are bonded to you). If they are not fully bonded yet I always pet them even if it is a very quick petting as they are walking away. If they keep nipping as you offer your finger or arm to smell and aren’t scared of you then I would pick up and look at them and pet or can place on your chest and pet over and over down full length of their body. When I pet Peanut like this she kind of flattens out and absolutely loves it and starts a clicking and purring sound. As long as I am petting her she will stay right there until I finish, but it is a fast pet and semi firm down full length of her body. When she has had enough or I get tired from doing over and over very fast she will get up and go to shoulder. So don’t force this on your glider unless they enjoy what may be a semi-dominance as you may see during intros between males and females. When I put a male into females cage in his own box(this is how I do intros with no fights) when they wake up I observe this behavior which is:
Female will approach male as he is standing still(he is in strange territory and unsure of surroundings) she will rub under his back end and then come around rub under his chin.
Then female will stand still and male does same behavior.
Then one of the two will brush lightly over the other sort of like climb over the other one. The male can be the one that does it but I also have seen the female do it to the male. Is that climb over the top sort of petting or brushing a suddle way of saying I am the dominant one? After this greeting of sorts they usually go running off or they go to nest box where I have peeked in and seen them doing more of rubbing underneath of each other. So if this climbing over top is a dominance or hierarchy of sorts then a baby sugar glider that is starting to bond comes up to your finger or any bare skin and gives you a little pinch and then looks up at you is it possible he/she wants a response like they give each other as to say well?? Who’s BOSS!! I always respond with verbal and physical positive reinforcement(or dominance) in form of petting like the behavior I have observed when two adult gliders meet for the first time. I have seen the sqwaggle dance done by a female on the males back after the other meeting behavior of rubbing under each other had finished.


Written by daddy glider/Art
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Admin/arthur
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