Friday, May 4, 2012

Cookie Monster

Hey ya'll!!! 

I would like to introduce you to my little bundle of joy!!! I know it is not uncommon these days, for people to speak of their companion animals as if they were their children, but Cookie really has become something like a son to me... if only because of his dependency and attachment to me as his primary caregiver!!! But let's not allow me to get ahead of myself and let me begin first by introducing the latest addition to our growing family (and this one actually feels and behaves like a family member, opposed to the Tarantulas which kind of just sit there looking beautiful)... Cookie!!! 

Cookie in his pouchey! 
Now, I'm sure many of you do not need an introduction to what sort of animal Cookie is (they are becoming ever so popular in the exotic pet trade) but for the benefit of those of you that don't, he is a sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps).

Though small and rodent-like in appearance, sugar gliders (or Suggies, as they are colloquially called) are really marsupials which means that they are closer related to possums, and even kangarros, than squirrels and/or rats and can thus be distinguished from the latter by the possession of a marsupium (or pouch) in female members of the species!!! Furthermore, unlike placental mammals (a majority of mammals fall into this category) which incubate their developing young within an internal womb until they are fully developed and ready for birth, Sugar gliders and their marsupial relatives give birth to under-developed fetuses that develop externally, which is to say within its mother's pouch.

As their common name suggests, sugar gliders have a natural disposition towards sweet food stuffs (they feed on a variety of fruits, nectar, tree sap and insects in the Australian wild) and are able to glide through the air for quite an impressive amount of distance for such a small animal using a pair of patagium (the extra folds of skin that is stretched between the animal's wrists and hind legs on either side). Though similar in terms of locomotion to flying squirrels, the two animals are in fact non-related and only came to be so through a process known as convergent evolution (where two distinct and unrelated species, evolve similar traits). But enough with the animal trivia lesson!!! 

Cookie's stay-at-home living arrangements. Note: an exercise wheel and a soft-toy have been recently added.
I got Cookie through chance, more than anything, and the short version of it is basically that he was rejected from his previous family for his unpredictable, and sometimes violent mood swings. This I knew, through instinct more than anything else, was possibly nothing more than a cry for a little bit of love and attention. True enough, after suffering from several bites during the initial stage, I can safely say that I have bonded quite well with Cookie and have not been bitten since though... I do get crabbed at sometimes when he is feeling cranky, particularly when he is woken up accidentally from his slumber. But what can I say eh? Boy's will be boys...  Speaking of which... he is also surprisingly intelligent and was able to learn to operate the mechanism of the zipper, his cage lock, and the lock on all my other invertebrate cages within a week of his living with me!!! I've had to be extra secure lately just in case Cookie decides one day to make a meal out of my mantids or spiderlings!!!
In all seriousness though, sugar gliders (as rewarding and amazing as they may be) are not a "for everyone's" pet. They are not like hamsters or guinea pigs that may be bought and left in a cage at home for lengthy periods of time while its owner is busy. Incidentally I would much rather recommend that someone get a tarantula or a leopard gecko (they seem MUCH MORE EASIER TO CARE FOR). Being highly social animals, they constantly crave attention and will enjoy spending lengthy periods of time with their owners, even if it is only to ride around their owner's neck while they sleep in one of those bonding pouches. Cookie, for instance, follows me around almost everywhere. I take him with me when I know I am not going to have too strenuous a day and will pack lunch for him (several pellets and a slice of apple) and sometimes some treats (various other fruits and vegetables and fruit flavored yogurt drops). Cookie's breakfast and dinner consists of a mix of dried pellet food and live insects (gut loaded meal worms) which are essential to keep him on a diet as close to his natural one as possible (many glider owners make the mistake of feeding them nothing but fruits and the dried stuff... which can be quite detrimental to their health). 

As you can perhaps tell, I have grown attached to the little biter as much as he has grown attached to me, and though he does not always get along well with other animals... and humans (Ray included, for now), I still love him to bits!!!

When we go out together, with you in my pouch... I feel like a Papa Seahorse, or a Mama Kangaroo!!!



Vincent~ said...

again i ahve to ask, how many animals you got there in ur home again? ==

Cyren said...

Now, now Vincent, you say that like it's a bad thing. LOL

And the answer is, quite a lot. I shall open a conservatory someday okay?

catchherfart said...

Sell tickets to the mini zoo in your house! I think I will come all the way from Singapore to see your little creatures! said...

i like that little guy! but to be honest, to me hamsters r not some pet to be left in the cage all their lives! I actually let out my hamsters to roam in my room when i'm in or during the night when I sleep. So cute to see them running around and cuddling at a corner! haha..

anyway, my point is, people who do NOT love pets, should not get them because they are not a tool to make you happy! it works both ways..

my hamsters are quite attach to me because i interact with them alot. they even throw tantrum when they know i came back just to let me know that they want out of the cage! haha.. very intelligent animals!

Cyren said...


I've had hamsters before. Only one, to be precise. She was a syrian hamster (gold color) and she lived with me for almost 3 years. I do love and miss her very much. Unfortunately not all people socialize with their hamsters. I knew a person who kept her hamsters in an impressively large habitrail (with tunnels connecting to sections all around her house) and never so much as took them out to play with. Indeed, I think it was the observing of them scampering around going about their own business that she loved so much.

The other thing is the separation issue. While you should ideally not leave your hamster alone in its cage the rest of its life, the fact is that you can! Many hamsters (like the syrian) are already solitary in nature and will not fare too badly living along for extended hours during the day (i.e you leave them alone at home when you go to work and come back and play with them later).

Sugar gliders on the other hand constantly crave attention. Even when they are sleeping, they like to be close to their owners. That's simply what I meant when I made the above statement (NOT that it is okay to keep hamsters in the cage for the rest of their lives).