When I mention to some people that it is a good idea to purchase a tent for their Sugar Gliders, I have received some confused looks. Hopefully this page, will help Glider owners to understand why a tent is so important. When buying supplies for your new pet a tent should be on your list of must haves! It has proved to be a valuable aid when bonding with a Sugar Glider; plus provides a safe area for play and exercise.
Before taking your glider in the tent you will also need to put a sheet, blanket or fleece on the bottom of the tent; this stops the floor from rustling and scaring your Sugar Glider, plus it can easily be picked up and thrown in the washing machine after play time.
If you have just brought your Sugar Glider home, I would give them a few days to get used to their new environment and all the new smells before taking them into the tent.
When you are ready to have your first tent time, grab a few of their favorite treats and about an hour before they are ready to get up I would take them in their sleeping pouch into the tent. Don't force them to come out of the pouch. If they want to come out and explore let them. You need to go at their pace. If they come to you, offer them a treat.
I would suggest either taking a book in the tent or making sure you have the screen part of the tent facing the television, so you have something to do. Reading quietly out loud will often grab their attention and make them want to come out and explore. Until they come out of the pouch ignore them. The more you ignore them, the more curious they seem to become and once they do come out of the pouch expect to be used as a human tree, as they climb and explore you.
If they don't want to interact with you the first few times you go in the tent, please don't give up or think they won't ever like you. Some gliders just take longer to warm up to people. You need to use the tent consistently, if you only go in once or twice a week it will be like starting all over again each time you use it. Let them go at their pace and if they start to interact with you, then you can offer them a treat.
You can also take toys into the tent for them to play with. Many tents have hooks where you can attach plastic vines and baby links for perches. If they don't you can attach fleece to the side of the cage with safety pins. Make sure you put the pins on the seams otherwise you will tear your tent. Once the fleece is on the walls your gliders will have fun climbing up the sides and jumping and gliding. You can also safety pin plastic chain or vine and attach other toys to these. Feathers, small balls, cat teasers and strips of paper can all be moved around to grab their attention. They love to chase and jump and grab these sort of toys. When using any cat toys though, it is IMPORTANT that they don't contain catnip. Catnip is toxic to gliders and will kill them.
As well as helping your glider bond to you, it is a safe area in which you and they can play together, without the worry of household hazards and other pets. Even if they are a little nervous at first most Sugar Gliders love this out of cage time with their Humans!
Depending on your glider, getting them back to the cage might be the most challenging part of the whole experience. If they will not willingly go back into their pouch or carrying cage for the trip back to the cage, the safest and less stressful thing would be to put some fleece over them and scoop them up. Hold it against you so they can't fall out and put them gently back in their cage.
To encourage them to go back to their pouch or carrier when tent time is over you can lure them in with their favorite treat.
Tent time toys
(some of these toys involve human supervision and are not safe for your glider to play with alone)
Fleece attached to side of the walls to enable climbing
Cat teasers and other cat toys (NO CATNIP-It is TOXIC)
Feathers, paper strips (move these around so they can chase and grab them)
PVC piping climbing frame
Bird Play Gyms
Bird toys (make sure they don't have any loose string/rope they could get caught in)
Baby toys (many hard plastic baby toys are suitable for gliders)
When looking for suitable toys, make sure there is nothing your glider could choke on or get caught on or in. If in doubt please email and ask for advice.