I just got a SMS from someone, asking about what to prepare and what to do if a glider is pregnant. Since it would be quite long to SMS back and may be a bit hard to explain through phone, I thought, might as well I do an entry here.
So, your glider is pregnant? Firstly, the pregnancy or gestation is only 16 days, which means you won’t be able to see a glider is pregnant. The joey is only the size of an apple seed, the female glider’s tummy won’t grow big when pregnant. It’s like when we humans are 2 months pregnant, our tummy looks normal.
When a joey is born, it would travel up to the mother’s pouch. The mother would lick a wet trail to guide the joey in. Once the joey is inside the pouch, it would look for a nipple to nurse on. This is what we call In Pouch. Many make the mistake, saying their glider is pregnant when they see bumps on the tummy but the reality is that the joey is already born, and is nursing in the pouch.
So what to do? I honestly sometimes am a bit disappointed when people get a male and female pair, and have no idea that gliders will readily breed when the time is right. Animals, again, do not have human emotions…. they do not understand what is husband and wife, all they know is male, female, have joeys to repopulate for the sake of survival. No emotions here. But I respect those that make it a big deal and try to be as responsible as possible. I hate seeing people say “Oops…. accident”
Ok, firstly, breeding is not easy. You have to be mentally prepared. A first time mother can reject her joeys, so have a packet of milk replacement on hand. Thankfully, now Tulip Pets have imported in the ever popular replacement milk, Esbilac, which I would say the best replacement milk for joeys coz it has a 30% protein level and is formulated to be very low in lactose. Go to Pet Lovers Center to get a small trial packet, it is only RM14. This is good to have at home as you have to standby for emergency. Lable a little plastic container as your ”Joey Emergency Kit”. What to put inside?
Have a packet of Esbilac puppy milk replacement, do not get kitten. Then a few plastic syringes, get from pharmacy, should be RM1 or less of each. Get some cotton buds, cotton balls, tissue and a soft cloth. Also, for the emergency incubator…. a joey cannot regulate body heat, so you have to keep it warm. What I do is get those rubber hot water bottle that you can buy from pharmacy, fill up with hot water. Then in a plastic tank or container, put the hot water bottle under it, then layer on top an old tshirt. This will keep the joey warm. But you must make sure the water stays warm by changing the hot water every few hours. When feeding a joey, make sure you use the syringe and make warm milk. Then put droplets of milk at the joey’s mouth, it would lick it slowly. Then use a cotton ball dipped in warm water to wipe the mouth, wipe the tummy in circular motion to aid digestion and wipe the genital area to make it pee and poo. Must feed every 2 hours.
For the female glider that is having joeys in pouch, what care should you give? Do not panic…. there isn’t much for you to do anyway. Just let nature take its course. For me, I will just give a little bit more protein, but I believe in animal protein so give some superworms, mealworms and gutloaded crickets. I do not give crickets anymore, I stick to Dubia roaches. If you can get them, do use them as you only need to feed 2 a day to your female glider. For superworms, about 4 is enough, for mealworms, you can give 5 to 6 per day. Not too much coz mealworms is high in fat and phosphorus. Then give a little cooked egg and cooked chicken.
Some may ask, how about HPW? Well, sorry but I really do not use it because I strongly believe natural protein source is better for growing and nursing gliders. It’s just a personal preference. If you use it then it is fine.
Do not let your female out of the cage and try not to handle her for the first few weeks after you have noticed the bumps on the belly. When the joeys are that tiny, any stress and shock from too much handling and falling and jumping can cause the joey to let go of the nipple and die from starvation. This happened to me before, so I learnt my lesson well.
After 60 to 70 days of being in pouch, it would be time for them to come out of pouch. And during this time, the joey would already have fur, but they are still blind because their eyes are not open yet. It takes about 2 weeks for them to open their eyes later. Again, just feed as much as your female can eat in terms of fruits and cooked chicken. Twice a week you can give half a teaspoon of low fat yogurt. There is no need to feed milk to the mom or even try to feed the joeys yourself. Like I said, gliders will know what to do. For me, I increase my GliderSLURP to 2 tablespoons and up on more fruits as well. The joeys will still drink milk from their mom till they are 6 weeks old. Do not worry on what to feed them, again, their parents would teach the joeys how and what to eat. So just feed normally, but make sure you put in more portions around this time coz the joeys would have started on solid food.
Oh yah, never ever separate the adult male and female. They need to take care of the joeys together.
For me, I never worry about my gliders and joeys. I only worry when a joey gets rejected. Once I notice that my joeys and gliders are stable and good, I just leave it to them to take care of everything. All I do is provide food and clean. Once the joeys are Out Of Pouch, I already start handling the joeys for 5 to 10 minutes to get them used to handling.
So do not panic. Just be on stand by for rejected joeys…. but if everything is normal and safe, then just relax, treat your gliders normally and everything should be fine.