Sugar Gliders Soaring into Northland Homes
Local Breeder Believes Sugar Gliders are Being Sold Without Proper Background Knowledge
SUPERIOR, Wisc. – Exotic animals are increasing in popularity across much of the United States. In the Northland, little creatures known as sugar gliders are making way into homes.
The market for these furry friends is quite competitive and comes with much responsibility.
“They’re like potato chips, you can’t have just one,” said Amy Laessig, Founder, Superior Suggies.
In a home across the street from Hammond Park in Superior, you’ll find Amy Laessig. She’s transparent when it comes to chatting about her passion for pets.
“They can just be such wonderful pets. I adopted my first glider about five years ago,” said Laessig.
She eventually started to breed gliders, after getting involved with another independent breeder.
“The bond that you have with them is just second to none. You can’t describe it unless you’ve had it,” said Laessig.
Coming from the rainforest regions in Australia and Indonesia, the little creatures are small marsupials. In the United States, the gliders have made way into homes for the past 15 years.
“Another breeder mentored me for a while and taught me the ways. They’re adorable, I mean how could you not love them!”
Laessig says she is seeing more and more popularity, with people messaging her on her Facebook Page, Superior Suggies. She says Northlanders are wanting to know more about the squirrel-like animals.
Laessig says recently, she received many reports of sugar gliders being sold without proper knowledge from the Arrowhead Home and Builder Show in Duluth.
“They [Pocket Pets] recommend that you feed pellets like these,” said Laessig.
A food fact, Laessig believes to be incorrect.
“They need to have a variety of fruits, vegetables and a staple that’s safe for them. I purchase a high protein mix from Australia to feed my gliders, and the ones I’m fostering,” said Laessig.
For nearly eight years a company known as Pocket Pets has been selling sugar gliders.
Laessig believes the company isn’t properly informing customers on how to care for the animals. To date, Laessig has received nearly 30 sugar gliders from Northlanders unable to properly care for the pocket-sized pets.
Laessig says Pocket Pets is selling a hamster wheel-like toy with the purchase of a starter kit.
“It has a bar in the center of it, so what happens is when the gliders run, they’ll jump. Their tail will get caught on that bar and it rips their tail off, and they could die,” said Laessig.
She believes the toy, sold across the country, is unsafe. Laessig demonstrated what she chooses to buy and use to exercise her gliders instead.
“These hollow cylinder wheels are safe because they are all open, there’s nothing that can restrict the glider from jumping,” said Laessig.
For now, breeders advise Twin Ports residents to think twice before buying their own pocket pet.
Local veterinarians say gliders often come in with severe health problems, due to lack of education on how to properly care for the animals.
“I encourage people to come over, see the setup, meet my gliders, get a better feel of it before you jump into it.”
Because you could be jumping into unwanted work, and real responsibility.
“Just do your research, listen to the breeders. We’re not telling you these things just because we want you to spend more money, we’re telling you these things because we’ve tried it and we’ve had success or fails,” said Laessig.
FOX 21 did reach out to the company, Pocket Pets; a spokesperson says the Company’s Founder wanted to start the business to make sure sugar gliders were being sold ethically and responsibly.
The Company also says with each purchase, they provide a training audio CD, and follow up with clients after each sale, providing emails to those raising the sugar gliders.
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