Pet of the Day

December 13, 2006

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Meka, the Pet of the Day
Name: Meka
Age: One year old
Gender: Female
Kind: Sugar Glider
Home: Grimsby, Ontario, Canada
   Hi everyone! My name is Meka and I'm a sugar glider, a gliding possum native to Australia. To best describe me; I have the body of a flying squirrel (and I'm just as capable of gliding as them), the hands of a monkey, ears of a bat, pouch of a kangaroo and the big eyes of a puppy. I'm relatively quiet, although sometimes I'll make a little puppy dog bark and when I'm upset I'll make a noise called crabbing (which sounds like a cross between a nest of bees and a rattlesnake). Although you can't hear it I also purr. My odd appearance gets me lots of stares wherever my owner takes me along with him.

    My favorite foods would have to be crickets, mealworms and cantaloupe. Of course my owner makes sure that I get a much wider variety of food to keep me in good shape. Over all 75 percent of my diet is fruit and veggies and the other 25 percent is protein, mainly insects but also boiled egg and chicken. I'm also given yogurt for calcium to keep my bones nice and strong. Of course, I also try to get a piece of whatever my owner happens to be eating as well. Since I hang out with him a lot whenever he's home I expect him to at least share something!

    During the day I sleep - while my owner is off at school I sleep in my cage. My cage is a custom built from an old bar. It's about 5'x 4'x 2' with lots of branches, toys and places to sleep. We sugar gliders need a lot of space to thrive in captivity even though we're small critters (I'm only a foot long with my tail). Once my owner gets home he puts me in the bonding pouch. The bonding pouch is a little pouch made of very soft material which hangs from around his neck from a string. I get to sleep or ride around in here while he goes around doing his thing. When I was a baby I spent a lot of time in the bonding pouch so I could get used to his smell and get familiar with his voice.

    Of course once it gets late, around 11:00 or so, I wake up and I'm ready to play! I'm very active at night and my owner gives me the run of his room during the night since he feels that it isn't fair to keep me in a cage all the time. I like pounce on cat toys, wrestle with my owner's fingers and play hide and seek. I also find people's ears very fascinating and continually try to hold on to them and stick my nose in them (which I've been told tickles unbearably). Once I'm awake I ride around on my owner's shoulder, watch TV with him or help him with homework. I like to bother my owner if he's awake and not playing with me but once he's asleep I'm very well behaved and leave him alone so he can get some rest. I'm very curious and get in everything! I've been labeled as "the most unintentionally destructive creature on earth" since everything I touch is either broken, nibbled on, pushed over or stolen to use for a nest. As such, my owner has taken great pains to make sure his room has been glider proofed.

    I'm very intelligent as well (destructive and smart; a disastrous combination at best my owner claims). I recognize my name and come when called. My owner will also let me climb up high and then call my name and I'll glide down onto his arm, a trick a lot of people like to watch. If I'm hungry and my owner hasn't given me dinner yet, I'll lightly bite his ear to remind him that I'm hungry and want some food. When I can I like to tag along with my owner, going to work, school and car rides with him. Even though we sugar gliders can make amazing pets deciding to take one of us into your home is not a decision to be taken lightly. As we are exotic pets our needs and behaviors differ from those of domestic species. We require a specialized diet, large housing and require large amounts of attention every day. We can live happily in captivity and make great pets but it requires a lot of work on the owner's part to make sure our needs are met. Thanks for reading all about me, now I'm off to see if I can find some crickets for dinner. Bye.

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