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Thread: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

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    Default SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    I am a new owner of a flying squirrel, but he is behaving rather differently than I would have expected based on all the reading I did. Obviously I understand that every animal is going to be different no matter how much research you do, but I just had a couple quick questions just to make sure I'm doing everything correctly.

    First, everything I have read has said, and the breeder also told me, that these little guys will happily sit in a pocket or bonding pouch all day long while they sleep. This has not been my experience at all. My guy absolutely hates the bonding pouch and just tries to escape the whole time he's in it (is that normal? Does he just need to get used to it? I didn't want to force him if he hates it), and while he has twice now fallen asleep in the hood of my sweatshirt for a couple hours, for the most part when I take him out in an attempt to bond with him during the day, he stays WIDE awake, doesn't fall back asleep, and is a ball of energy all day long, rarely sitting still. I am hoping this is just because he is not bonded to me yet? It does concern me a bit that his natural sleep cycle is being interrupted so much, but I was also told to have him with me as much as possible during the day when he's (supposedly) sleeping so he can get used to my smell and feel my body heat, etc. The breeder told me he was 6.5 weeks old, and I've had him for a week now with no noticeable change as far as bonding/behavior goes. He was friendly right from the get-go, and he does seem happy to see me when I come to get him and walks into my hand without any encouragement needed, but these were all things present from day one. I guess I'm asking if I'm doing this whole bonding process right (because I feel like I'm not) and whether there's anything I can do to improve so he will sit more comfortably in the bonding pouch/shirt, etc. Also wondering roughly how long it takes for a flying squirrel to bond and if I'm just getting too antsy and impatient. Lastly I guess I'm wondering what a bonded flying squirrel looks like (how much they actually wantto cuddle with you or even just be on you vs. how much they just want to go crazy and run around without you, I suppose) and if he in actuality is bonding to me but I'm just not recognizing the signs.

    Just to clarify, he is a sweetheart and has a great personality, so if this is just how it's going to be I'm completely fine with that and love him regardless, just looking to educate myself more and make sure the little guy is as happy as possible. Thanks so much!

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    Default Re: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    Hi Ifavicch!! It sounds to me like you are doing the right stuff. I have 6 flyers that i got at different ages. 4 are siblings that i got at 4 weeks old (wilds that mom died in wild & power guy found nest). I hand raised them & spent alot of time with them....much like you are doing. They spent alot of time in my shirt (all 4 at one time). Not sure if you are a guy or girl....but my guys loved being in my boobs!! Id tuck my shirt up under my bra & create a pouch like space & in they went. Hubby liked to say the squees spend more time in there then him!! They are portable so i would carry them in my shirt around the house doing dishes, watching tv, folding laundry, etc. As they got bigger, they used me as a tree to explore...run all over me, jump to something, then jump back on me. They are now 6 mons old & outside in release cage. When i go out to give them food, the still run to me & dive right into my shirt & curl up. Now...my other 2...i got at 8-9 weeks old & neither of them like to get in my shirt. One runs on me & then goes back to her cage. Other one doesnt want to even sit on me. Hes a pistol. A cat brought him home (uninjured) & i swear he was an only child b/c he doesnt play well wth others. I think these 2 arent like my other 4 b/c i wasn't the first human they spent time with & i didnt syringe feed them as long as my quads. Your guy still sounds young enough to be eating formula...are you syringe feeding him? He should still be at least 2x a day, 3 if you have time. Im thinking that lends itself to bonding b/c they look to you for food vs placing a bowl of food in his cage. He should be eating blocks & veggies too. You can try & find a veggie he really loves (mine love avacado) and use little pieces as treats when he's out so he associates good things by being out wth you. Talk softly to him. They like their cheeks rubbed or smoothed. Im perplexed as to why hes up & crazy during the day. All 6 of mine sleep all day & are wild at night. I can wake them up in daytime but they go right back to sleep. I would keep his cage in a darker area. My indoor cage is half covered so its cozy. They dont like bright light. And....i have a pouch from henrys healthy pets....my guys love these pouches. Pic attached. Keep trying. Spend as much time as you can wth him including at night (playtime). If u guys pass like ships in the night, its like hes solitary. I used to put boxes of different heights together for them to jump from & jump to me to practice jumping & gliding. Then work your way up to higher places like curtain. They are fun little guys. Sorry for such a long post....wanted to share ideas. Keep us updated on how he does. Pics are good too. Whats his name?
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    Default Re: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    Thank you so much for your help! I really appreciate it. I do spend about 8-10 hours with him a day, and as long as I'm moving he'll stay on me, but he's running all over me the whole time. As soon as I stop he jumps off or climbs down my leg to go run around, but when I extend my hand towards him he almost always hops on. I don't know. I think I will buy one of those bonding pouches you mentioned. I was actually looking at those exact ones today. Hoping he might like one of those better than the one I've got now! And yes, breeder told me he should be on formula for a couple weeks yet, but when we got home he refused the formula the three different times I tried, but took to seeds, veggies, nuts, etc. right away. However, he will take the formula from a bowl and is very enthusiastic about it. I was afraid of traumatizing him if he hates the syringe or something, but maybe now that he's a bit used to me I'll try using the syringe again tonight. I do also give him little treats right from my hand in the hopes he will associate me with good things. And I love your shirt idea, I'll give that a go as well! I am also unsure why the little guy (his name is Bo) is so wild during the day! It's so strange. He seems to actually calm down closer to 8pm, then he'll sleep in my hood until I have to put him in his cage when I go to bed. He seems really quiet at nighttime as well, doesn't make a sound in his cage all night that I notice. Anyways, he is adorable regardless. Here's a pic of the little bugger!Name:  Bo.jpg
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    Jennefer (06-03-2017)

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    Default Re: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    Awww Bo is adorable! He may be up so much during the day if you are spending that much time with him. Does he have a place in his cage like a pouch or balled up fleece he can go in to sleep? They like dark cozy places for sleeping. If not, it may be why he doesnt sleep much. They are very quiet at night. Bo may or may not start making chirps & calls soon. My group does, but seems Zena, my indoor female, doesnt make any sounds. Not sure if it's because shes by herself or if shes inside. The outside guys make all kinds of calls to the wilds. As far as the formula - thats great that Bo is drinking it on his own. You can try to keep giving it him by syringe (1cc syringe) - he may take some or may not. All my Quads loved the syringe - Tiny & Zena hated it - but they were older than the Quads. Keep giving Bo formula in a dish as long as he will drink it. Its good for them. Dont forget a small dish of water too. I dont use drinking bottle for flyers b/c they are so small & I dont want their tongues getting pinched. Is Bo on a block? He needs that as his main food source. I use HHB high protein blocks for flyers or the picky eaters ones. Ive tried rodent block or the oxbow for rats (per a very well known squirrel dr down here in Florida) but none of my guys like it. Its really important that Bo is eating blocks before he get a variety of other stuff, esp nuts. Flyers need more protein than other squirrels too. The formula & the high protein blocks have it. I give my guys mealworms (live) and waxworms - they LOVE the wax worms. Only a few a day. Another good thing I gave my guys is yogurt - they LOVE that too. Its calcium & protein rich as well. You can also mix in formula power as they get older & forgo the dish of liquid. I use a brand called Noosa - all natural, made in Colorado. You want full fat yogurt - no fat free & no artificial sweeteners. No premixed fruit flavors. Noose has flavors but their flavoring is in a clump at the bottom so I just skim the plain off the top. Calcium is very important. Without a good constant source of calcium, they get MBD - metabolic bone disease. It creeps on slowly & by the time it hits its fast & will kill them. You can google it or read about it in posts here on TSB. Research it now & familiar yourself with the symptoms so you know it. As far as fruits - only a bit...dont over do the fruit. Basically at feeding time at my house, they get a small dish of formula, small dish of yogurt (like a half a teaspoon) - small reptile dishes from your pet store work great for flyers - they are ceramic, heavy & just the right size. They get a small dish of water, and a dry foods dish (a worm or 2, dried oatmeal, freeze dried chicken - this comes from pet store- look for 100% freeze dried chicken cat treats - i use Natures Variety Instinct & Pure Bites). Then they get their bowl with blocks, veggies & fruits. I cut their blocks up in 4's since they are big, about 5-6 different veggies, and 2 fruits. All cut up small for their little hands. I rotate which veggies & fruits. I gie my guys all thier fresh food at dinner time so it's fresh when they wake up. I remove the formula & yogurt in the morning & give fresh water. My guys dont eat during the day. You may want to watch Bo & feed when he is most active. I was originally doing fresh food morning & night only to find my guys werent touching any during the day & i was wasting it. Now the NUTS.....they are not good for them. Should only be given as a treat. My guys get either 1 shelled sunflower OR a 1/4 of a pecan per day - some days they dont get any. They need to eat their healthy food first - they will eats nuts & seeds all day long if you let them! Of course any nuts or seeds should be unsalted. I give my guys a in-shell hazel nut once a week for them to chew on. Its takes them awhile but they chew a perfectly round hole in it & somehow get the meat out! Keeps them busy & wears their teeth down. This could be a good activity for Bo in his pouch. Make sure you have things to chew on in his cage - wood sticks you can get at pet store or outside - IF its pesticide free. Like oak or pine. Make sure theres no bugs on it or no funky mold or anything. My guys love hibiscus flowers- I have my own bush, so again, it's not sprayed with anything. Not sure if you guys have hibiscus up North or not. Main thing - DO NOT give him anything from outside that you are not 100% sure it hasnt been sprayed. I also keep a square Kleenex box & some tissues or paper towel in their cage - they like to shred & use as bedding & use the box as a hide-out or to stash stuff.

    Hope this helps!

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    Default Re: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    Also, the running around fast behavior you described that Bo is doing....perfectly normal! He's using you as home base, then explores a bit, then comes right back, so that is good!

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    Default Re: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    Thank you so much, Jennefer, you have been so unbelievably helpful and I really appreciate it!! He does have quite a few dark hiding places, lots of cotton and little fleece squares, and a couple little nests as well, and I keep his bonding pouch in there with him too. I've got quite a few things in there for him to chew on as well (although he seems to be more interested in nibbling on his cage). I haven't been giving him too many nuts and seeds (I hope), mainly as treats occasionally. Not too much fruit either, mostly different veggies. Unfortunately the breeder never mentioned blocks to me when I asked her about food, so I just rush ordered some earlier this afternoon to arrive tomorrow, thanks for that! And, breakthrough! Last night when I tried the syringe he took to it right away! And same thing this morning. Maybe he was just scared of me the first day. I do keep a fresh dish of water in there for him as well. I have also been giving him a little yogurt (full fat, 100% plain). He loves it. I had heard that they like insects, and I actually have a couple lizards, so I happen to have some mealworms on hand. Again, from having lizards rescued from neglectful homes, I'm also very familiar with MBD, unfortunately, so when I did my preliminary research on flyers and heard they are susceptible to MBD, I made sure I was on top of that from day one. The freeze-dried chicken I had not thought of, so I'll take your suggestion on that for sure! We do not have hibiscus up here naturally, sadly. But I love the tissue box suggestion, that sounds like a good time for them! Again, thank you so much, this has been so helpful. Glad to hear his behavior is normal. As I'm new to this I just really wanted to make sure I'm doing everything correctly, so I'm really glad I asked. I've been doing research for almost a year now and still feel like the few sources out there are rather limited in the information they provide, so you've definitely provided me with a ton of help, and I'm really grateful!

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    Default Re: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    Jennefer is giving excellent advice so I'll just sound in with a few tips.

    I had a near tragedy while walking with a flyer on me. He was scurrying around on me and suddenly jumped to the floor in virtually the spot when my next footstep was to be. I almost stepped on him. I just wanted to give you a heads up on that. Just be careful. They can get into SO much trouble.

    Another thing to alert you to is the number one cause of death in flyers in the home. They are drawn to water and will drown in the toilet. It has happened so many times that it just boggles my mind. Toilet lid ALWAYS down and a toilet ladder is insurance. There are pictures on TSB of toilet ladders.

    Flyers will sit on top of doors and hide in chair cushions so having a flyer in the house requires extra precautions. They can be crushed in doors and sat on in chairs.
    If there is a place to get in trouble, they will find it.

    By the way, not all flyers will tolerate a bonding pouch. One of my boys hated it so we didn't use it.

    Youngsters are not fully nocturnal. When they get a little older they will become fully nocturnal but they don't mind waking up to be social with 'their' person.

    Welcome to the world of being owned by a flyer.

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    Default Re: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    Ifavicch...you are most welcome! I am glad to be of any help I can! Glad you know about the blocks now! Very important for Bo. And sound like you are doing great on the food & his set up. That is awesome he took the formula from a syringe. Give it to him as long as he will take it like - it will help him bond. Just go slow - keep him belly down & little drops at a time. Control the plunger on the syringe so he doesnt get greedy & suck it down - we dont want him aspirating. Nice & slow. He older so he may not want to be wrapped in a little piece of fabric, but I'd wrap my guys up guys up with only their head sticking out, hold them upright & give them the syringe like they are drinking from a straw. Very careful on the plunger. I'll post a pic (on my desktop right now & pic is on my phone). Sounds like you are doing great & well on your way to having Bo as a friend for life! (Super cool about the lizards! I bought crickets once for my guys....they loved them...ewwwww).

    And Patti - thanks for adding the tips on the dangers in & around the home....very important...esp the toilet! Ifavicch - I tend to not think of those things since my guys arent pets & will be released back into the wild. I do spend time with them (but try to limit my interaction now that they are older) but since we have cats & a dog, playtime is in a closed-door bedroom with me in it, sitting on the floor supervising! They dont go anywhere near the bathroom & once they got crazy enough to run all around on me & start leaping off, no more carrying them around the house! All good stuff to be aware of when Bo is out & about the house with you! And they are so silent you wont find him off of sound if he gets away!

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    Default Re: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    Heres pic of how i wrap my babies to feed them via syringe. 2 of mine were bit older & didnt like to be wrapped so i put them on my knee/top of my leg & held syringe down & to the side.
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    Default Re: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    Quote Originally Posted by lfavicch View Post
    I am a new owner of a flying squirrel, but he is behaving rather differently than I would have expected based on all the reading I did. Obviously I understand that every animal is going to be different no matter how much research you do, but I just had a couple quick questions just to make sure I'm doing everything correctly.

    First, everything I have read has said, and the breeder also told me, that these little guys will happily sit in a pocket or bonding pouch all day long while they sleep. This has not been my experience at all. My guy absolutely hates the bonding pouch and just tries to escape the whole time he's in it (is that normal? Does he just need to get used to it? I didn't want to force him if he hates it), and while he has twice now fallen asleep in the hood of my sweatshirt for a couple hours, for the most part when I take him out in an attempt to bond with him during the day, he stays WIDE awake, doesn't fall back asleep, and is a ball of energy all day long, rarely sitting still. I am hoping this is just because he is not bonded to me yet? It does concern me a bit that his natural sleep cycle is being interrupted so much, but I was also told to have him with me as much as possible during the day when he's (supposedly) sleeping so he can get used to my smell and feel my body heat, etc. The breeder told me he was 6.5 weeks old, and I've had him for a week now with no noticeable change as far as bonding/behavior goes. He was friendly right from the get-go, and he does seem happy to see me when I come to get him and walks into my hand without any encouragement needed, but these were all things present from day one. I guess I'm asking if I'm doing this whole bonding process right (because I feel like I'm not) and whether there's anything I can do to improve so he will sit more comfortably in the bonding pouch/shirt, etc. Also wondering roughly how long it takes for a flying squirrel to bond and if I'm just getting too antsy and impatient. Lastly I guess I'm wondering what a bonded flying squirrel looks like (how much they actually wantto cuddle with you or even just be on you vs. how much they just want to go crazy and run around without you, I suppose) and if he in actuality is bonding to me but I'm just not recognizing the signs.

    Just to clarify, he is a sweetheart and has a great personality, so if this is just how it's going to be I'm completely fine with that and love him regardless, just looking to educate myself more and make sure the little guy is as happy as possible. Thanks so much!
    I came into having my little Theo, a flying squirrel, because my daughter brought him home from work where he was found in a parking lot at about for five weeks old and I too was a first time flyer owner, and was told that I would need a bonding pouch, which I did get. he was fine with it for a while, but then he chewed the strap in half and ate the zipper, so I had to get another one. He has not been in that one yet because the first time I tried to put him in it, it was impossible and he doesn't like to be held. He always runs from me when I try and hold him but he will let me stroke his back and play with him. if I find him sleeping outside of his cage, I can pick him up and then cuddle him. Otherwise, he likes to run around my office and fly down on top of my shoulder or head from the highest point lol! I think they have caffeine for blood because he moves in such quick little spurts and never sits still. I hope that helps you a little .
    My Roxi, my girl forever. She stole my heart. She is gone but never forgotten.

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    Default Re: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    Thanks for the tips about having them around the house and the bonding pouch! I definitely keep a really close eye on him whenever he is out of his cage and not on me! And that would definitely explain why he's SO hyper during the day, glad I know now! I'm actually used to using syringes to feed small animals from having my little lizard babies (although not so little anymore!), although of course I understand it's not the same thing. But I do know enough to hold him properly and really take my time while doing it, fortunately! Definitely don't want to aspirate him. I'm not sure how he'd take to being wrapped up as he's pretty intolerant of being completely held and only tolerates it once he realizes I have his formula for him, but maybe I'll try giving that a go later and see how he does. Thanks as always!

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    Default Re: SFS: questions about bonding and daytime activity

    Ifavicch...sounds like you go this & Bo is lucky little guy!

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