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Claiming you into a suggie family or marking you.

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Claiming you into a suggie family or marking you.

Post by Admin/arthur on Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:28 am

SQWAGGLE DANCER:
SCENT MARKING:
When a sugar glider is bonded to you or is starting to bond to you I have noticed a type of scenting that they do to me and they do to each other. It is where a glider nips at your shirt or skin(at first until you teach them that your skin is sensitive and they dance without holding on to you) and then slides side to side and usually drip marks on you at the same time. Let me clarify one thing this is NOT an aggressive behavior or scared behavior this is claiming you into their family or colony and is only done by gliders that are bonded to you or that are starting to bond with you. They have to be starting to trust you because they are on your body somewhere and if they were scared they would run the other way or stay away from us. It can be in the very early stages or steps of bonding but it is not aggressive even if it hurts us. Just like taste nipping stage this is a stage that some gliders go through until they learn that hard nips hurt us. Just like teaching that taste nips can be curbed through food or “psst” sound or change in voice tone this behavior can also be curbed where it is an honor to be sqwaggled(without any nips). The glider below in photo is an inexperienced dancer and use to do sqwaggle or try to do on my arm. He now only does it on my shoulder as a welcome or family marking and is only slightly nipping the shirt in the photos. With more experience he won’t nip at all after the initial nip when he first starts and I change voice and say nooo. He will look at me and then just start dancing on my shoulder and sometimes down my back., as some of my other friends do. There are signs(body language) to look for before the glider will start this marking behavior. There are also other different bonding(claiming or greeting) that they can do at same time as dancing or before or after dancing.

The glider will look as a dog is when it is going to find a spot to do it’s business. If you see this and they have started in on your arm with a latching on(or trying) or nipping then next time you see him/her looking for that spot immediately put them on your shoulder or a clothes part of your body. The key is to watching body language and behavior prior to getting nipped. They should nip or latch on to clothes and then start side to side motion as they are scenting you. The first few times they can nip hard but with correcting them by voice change and getting their attention the nipping should go into light nips and only when they first start sqwaggle. Some other signs of behavior that can be a pre-lude to dancing(but not always) is the head rub, then followed by the body wave as if they are trying to rub it off of their belly, scent dripping on your arm. Not all of these behaviors are followed by the dancing but they can all be done in a grouping of one after another. The main ones to watch for is dripping, and looking for a spot because after that some type of greeting or marking usually will occur. One way that I curb the bites is to tent the shirt material when they are learning the nip and dance, then tell them NO or OUCH in a different voice change but remember that if they start to dance with real light nip or no nip when they get done or as they are doing you have to praise in sweet voice and reward with treat as to say ok you can do scenting but nicely please! Remember even if it hurts at beginning it is NOT an aggressive biting or nipping behavior it is a I love you and I accept you into my colony or family. It takes time and a lot of patience to curb hard nipping(or latching on) but with repetition and praise they seem to learn to understand that the nipping and dance is unacceptable but the sqwaggle without latching on is acceptable marking behavior. If you stop the arm nips at first and shun your baby from doing this behavior I don’t know what will happen but look at it from their point. You are your babies family he trusts you or is starting to trust you as family. The sugar glider may think they have to mark you as theirs. If you shun this behavior like a rival colony would do then are you not becoming their enemy. If you aren’t their family then you must be an enemy or at least not wanting to have your initiation into the colony. This is just a thought and may not be the case but I have no trouble with this behavior and I accept my marking gladly with guidelines as no bites on skin. Possibly if your stop his/her advances to claiming you the bites may get more aggressive as they desperately want you to be in their family or colony. It also may be that you see your baby everyday and then your schedule changes and they don’t see you for awhile and they think to re-establish the bond or claiming that the different types of marking begins to confirm you are still accepted to the clan. This is when I saw Sugie do it to her male life partner after I had separated them for a rest period. When I put Sugie back in with Chip she ran over to him, as I watched so no problems, I saw her rub under him and him rub under her back end as greeting each other and then she jumped on his back and started sqwaggle him. He let out a little yelp(he was not hurt as I checked him when she was done) and after a minute or so they were happy and rubbing each other some more and never saw her do it to him again(I never separated them again). What I find odd about this behavior and why it is not aggressive is that it is only done by friendly gliders that have bonded and then all of a sudden will start nipping on you at different places and scenting you. If it was aggressive why don’t they crab and then start nipping or biting like they did when you first got your sugar glider(not all gliders crab and bite it depends if they were handled as babies)(they do taste or communication nip). If it was scared behavior why is it usually when they first jump on you and if they were mad or scared why do they jump on you as a friend? A scared animal or un-bonded animal would rather run away than to jump on you and mark you. They also will sqwaggle their wheel, the side of the cage, a chair, and almost anything else they want to claim as theirs or say this is MY territory and it may be a warning to other sugar gliders in the area. Either way it is not aggressive behavior! Some times when Sugie or Kay Kay finish their dance as I stand in their cage they will come up to my ear and give a light pinch and or purr in my ear and then run down my arm to their dinner dish. If I am late feeding and in a rush and I interrupt her dance and put her on feeding station sometimes she will give me a stern look as to say why did you interrupt me? I then pet her and she either tries again or goes on with her business.



Written by daddyglider/Art
New Age Sugar Gliders


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Admin/arthur
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