Welcome to Cochran Clan Sugar Glider Rescue. We are a 501(c)3 rescue that specializes in sugar gliders. We serve NC, SC, VA, and eastern TN.
Our goal is to find forever homes for all gliders that come to the rescue. All males are neutered with in 3 weeks of entering the rescue. All gliders are also adopted out for pet only. None of our rescues are for breeding. If gliders come in prebonded together then they will stay together. We have no intention of separating gliders. We want them to have happy lives and feel that separating them would cause extra stress.
What is a sugar glider
Before we can dive into the history of these little creatures, we must first know and understand what they are. Have you ever told someone that you own sugar gliders and you get this,” those are those Flying Squirrels right?” Or, “ are they like flying monkeys?” no, they aren’t squirrels and no, they aren’t monkeys. They are something far greater. They’re one of three mammal species on Earth that can glide. But they are more than that. They are also part of the marsupial family of mammals. This means that the babies (joeys) are carried and nursed in a pouch located on the mother’s abdomen. The common sugar glider is one of four subspecies of possum that can glide. There are 37 sub species of possum in Australia and its surrounding Islands. So, in reality they are closer to Kangaroos and koalas.
The common sugar glider or petaurus breviceps is the one people have as pets in the US. The Latin translation for this means short-headed-rope-dancer, and this is very accurate once you witnessed their acrobatic skills. They are one of four subspecies of gliding possum native to Australia, New Guinea, some Indonesian Islands, and Malaysia. They can grow to be around 12 to 13 in from nose to the tip of their tail (the tail can be 1-1.5 times the length of their actual body) and can weigh between 65 and 180 grams. They have a flap of skin wrapped around thin muscles known as the patagium that connect their front and back feet together. They Glide by stretching out these flaps of skin and creating a narrow foil. This allows them to Glide (not fly) up to 50 m or 150 ft. They have a glide ratio of 1.8/1 or 1 meter vertical to 1.8 meters horizontal.
History of the sugar glider
So now that we know what they are, now we can look at their history. The first known fossil of a sugar glider dates back 15,000 years ago and was found in Northern Australia. We do not know how or when they migrated to New Guinea or the Indonesian Islands but records do state that they were introduced into the wild in Tasmania in 1835 to combat a beetle that was destroying trees there. They live in hollows in the trees and live in colonies of 7 or more in the wild.
Pocket Pets state that they came into the us as pets in the mid-90s but, I got my first one in the late 80s and some have said they got their first one in the late 70s. But despite this argument, in 1994 they really became popular and these little furry monsters have captured our hearts ever since. When I purchased my first one it was in 1989 a kid down the road had one and I just had to also. Her name was Angel ( mainly because my friends was named Diablo) and she lived to be four years old. Now understand, we knew little about them then. She slept in a sock, ate rabbit and ferret food, and was kept in a hamster cage. We know now that all of that was wrong she went everywhere with me and literally stayed in the pocket of my shirt or in a fanny pack (yes the 90s.) There weren’t many around then and finding a cage mate wasn’t only difficult but wasn’t known to be necessary. The only research available was at the local library and there wasn’t much.
Today, glider owners have many more resources and a wide availability of gliders. It wasn’t until 1998 that anyone looked into diets and slightly before that, that we knew about the social aspect of gliders. Today you have many diets to choose from that help with the Nutritional Health of your gliders. We have learned proper Fabrics, cage setups, and specific types of plastics that are safe. We have also learned by tons of research, what types of fruits, vegetables, and plants are safe. Thanks to the World Wide Web, you can find this information pretty much anywhere now (beats having to track it down in the library.)
About 16 years ago a breeder named Priscilla Price came up with a database to keep lineage records for gliders. This is the (TPG) or the pet glider database. This database is still used today, though around 70% of gliders are not on that database. The reason for this is that only founding lines and color morphs were allowed on the database in the beginning. This means that the common gray glider will be more than likely not to be on this database unless they are from founding or colored lines. This was created to prevent inbreeding and line breeding amongst glider breeders.
Gliders today come in a wide variety of colors. Some of these colors are found in the wild but, most colors are bred for their aesthetic value. And it is estimated that there are somewhere around 7.5 million sugar gliders now in the US. That’s a big change from when I got mine years ago when it was estimated that there may have been 2,000 in the US.
That is the brief history of the sugar glider. They are still captured in the wild in certain countries. But, do nothing but steal our hearts here in the states. I know that I have always loved my gliders, as I’m sure all of you do too. And though their history here has been short I am sure that in the next 20 years we will know so much more about them.