Dec
28
2007

Grounded: St. Paul shoots down sugar gliders

Kicked out of St. Paul: The sugar glider -- a small marsupial version of a flying squirrel, has gotten the boot from the St. Paul City Council, which doesn't want the creatures to be kept as pets in the city any longer.
Kicked out of St. Paul: The sugar glider -- a small marsupial version of a flying squirrel, has gotten the boot from the St. Paul City Council, which doesn't want the creatures to be kept as pets in the city any longer.Courtesy Anke Meyring -- Wikipedia Commons
You’d think our civic leaders would have enough on their plates these days: fixing shaky bridges, untangling bad traffic jams, getting the snow plowed in a timely manner.

On Wednesday, the St. Paul City Council took action on another issue. It has banned sugar gliders from being house pets in homes in the city. The sugar glider is a marsupial version of a flying squirrel that comes from the South Pacific. As adults, they measure about 7.5 inches long and weigh up to five ounces.

Animal control officials for the city recommended the ban fearing owners might abandon the animals and they would have no ability to survive in our environs on their own. Also, they’re afraid that the critters make a lot of noise and can get to be quite smelly.

Checking with wildlife officials in Australia, the St. Paul leaders got the same word: that sugar gliders are not good house pets. But yesterday’s Star-Tribune news story on the issue also found people in Minnesota who have a lot of sugar gliders in their home. A St. Paul woman has six of the animals in her home while a married couple in Lino Lakes, who breed the animals for sale, has 34. On the market, a sugar glider goes for about $200.

The vote on the matter was 6-1 in favor of the ban. Dave Thune, the one vote against the measure, wasn’t so much in favor of sugar gliders as he was in wondering how far a city should go in banning different types of exotic animals from ownership by residents.

What do you think? How far should cities go in control the kinds of animals that people keep as pets? Share your thoughts here with other Science Buzz readers.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

The title of this post is wonderful. Beautiful mental image.

posted on Sat, 12/29/2007 - 1:33am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

As a glider owner in MN it makes me upset knowing there are people out there who are forced to give up their Suggies. Image someone taking away your child. Half the information is wrong. Glider's don't smell unless given the wrong diet. They're noisy? Do dogs bark??? Well so do glider's and it's probably 1/10 of the volume. I can understand how St. Paul is scared of abandonment. I think there should be a law to own a permit. That way people can see owning a glider is like owning a child... it takes time and effort.

posted on Sun, 12/30/2007 - 8:23pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

That would be so cool if my child could fit in my pocket and glide on flaps of skin hidden under its arms.

posted on Mon, 01/21/2008 - 9:54pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

They shouldn't shoot those wonderful creatures they're part of nature i think who ever shoots them should suffercate these magnificent animlas didn't do anything to harm us i mean i would understand if it was a mistake if they thought it was a bat but they had no right to shoot these animals.

posted on Sun, 01/20/2008 - 9:06pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Did you even read the article?

posted on Sun, 06/13/2010 - 12:40pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

BOOOOOO!!!!! I own Sugie-bugies and they are wonderful. I let them out to play in my room at night and at my old house I had ropes nailed all over the ceiling for them. The ban is stupid. I know that's not the most intelligent-sounding statement, but it really is. Places like Miami need to have bans like this because exotic pets can often survive and reproduce in that environment. Sugar Gliders will not survive in the wild here. Thus there is NO REASON to ban them. Sure it's sad if somebody abandons their pet outside, but here are a few facts for you: People abandon dogs and cats EVERY DAY and nobody has banned them, feral cats are ONE OF THE BIGGEST THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY THAT EXISTS. WORLDWIDE. And yet everybody thinks it's terrible to suggest shooting feral cats. Or even making it illegal to have your cats outdoors. That would actually do something good. Or how about doing something about all of the red-eared sliders and iguanas that people dump outside constantly? Unfortunately, some people would rather LOOK like they're doing something when they actually haven't even bothered to think it through. I own four sugar gliders. You know what else I own? Iguanas that WERE ABANDONED THAT I ADOPTED, Red-eared sliders for the same reason, ball pythons for the same reasons, red-tailed boas for the same reason, LOTS of Spur-thighed tortoises for the same reason, even an adopted stray cat and an adopted stray dog. So people like me who adopt rejected pets and work hard for the environment can actually get our sugar gliders taken from us. THIS IS RIDICULOUS. They are picking on us because there are fewer of us, not because sugar gliders are a bigger problem than dogs or cats or turtles or fish, etc. In fact, there isn't even any legislation banning people from releasing extremely malignant invasive species such as House Sparrows and Starlings. I would love to see a government that cared and would actually work to solve these issues as opposed to throwing a band-aid on some folks who didn't deserve it. In fact, A portion of my basement is walled off because I have a Savannah Monitor there. He hates people because his species just never enjoys human presence. They get big and mean. But since I didn't want to see him put down just for being who he is, I took him in and I leave him alone other than food, water, and heating. Why don't they ban selling juvenile Anacondas and Nile Monitors and other animals that actually do get huge and actually can hurt people. Maybe you should have to have a license to own those animals. For crying out loud you can still buy ALLIGATORS at pet stores! I also took care of a 5 foot alligator for a while because some idiot thought it was cute and didn't think about what happens when it's 14 feet long and cantankerous. He now lives at an alligator farm but he's there public outreach gator, not one for processing, because he's pretty personable. For an alligator... Anyway, a deep-seated lack of understanding and irresponsibility are behind this ruling. And I'm sick of bearing the brunt, as I'm sure everyone with a sugie-bugie can attest.

posted on Fri, 02/08/2008 - 6:08pm
AMIE's picture
AMIE says:

I ALSO HAVE DONE A RESCUE ON A SAVANNAH MONITOR AND AN ALLIGATOR WHO WAS SEVERELY NEGLECTED....NOW ANIMAL CONTROL IS HARRASSING ME WEEKLY....I SIMPLY TOOK IN TWO REPTILES WHO YOU CAN TELL HAVE NOT BEEN MAINTAINED THE WAY THEY SHOULD HAVE....ONLY BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT THE ANIMALS WELL BEING...NOW I AM BEING HARRASSED...MY QUESTION TO YOU IS...WERE DID YOU FIND A PLACE FOR YOUR ALLIGATOR...I HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR A PLACE TO TAKE HIM BEFORE HE GETS TOO BIG FOR ME TO KEEP. I REFUSE TO PUT HIM BACK IN THE SAME SITUATION HE WAS IN BEFORE AND REFUSE TO GET HIM PUT TO SLEEP.....THE REASON I TOOK HIM WAS TO PREVENT HIS DEATH NOT ENCOURAGE IT.WHEN I GOT HIM HIS WAS JUST BARELY 1 FT. THE PEOPLE FED HIM ONCE A MONTH WITH 2 OTHER LARGER GATORS IN THE TANK...HE WAS ABUSED, MAL-NOURISHED, AND HAD TO FIGHT CONSTANTLY.MIND YOU HE WAS KEPT IN A 30 GALLON TANK.SO I CONVINCED THE OWNERS TO LET ME TAKE HIM HOME.NOW 1 YR. LATER HE IS NOW REACHING 3FT. AND LOVES TO EAT LIKE HE IS IN THE WILD.BUT REALITY IS ..HE IS A ALLIGATOR....I WANT MORE FOR HIM THEN I CAN GIVE HIM...THE MONITOR...WELL I HAVE TO DO ALL KINDS OF CRAZY CRAP JUST TO KEEP HIM IN MY CITY....SAINT PAUL MN...WHO LOVES TO HARRASS PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THESE ANIMALS WHO DID NOT ASK TO BE ILLEGALLY IMPORTED INTO THIS COUNTRY....THEY ARE FROM AFRICA... HHHHMMMM.THEY ARE IMPORTED IN AND THEN AFTER YOU LEGALLY PURCHASE THEM FROM LOCAL PET STORES YOU ARE HARRASSED AND MADE TO PAY ALL THESE FINES AND REQUIRED TO GET A SPECIAL LICENSE(THAT YOUR NEIGHBORS HAVE TO SIGN A PETITION FOR). SO MY UNDERSTANDING TOWARDS ARE LOVELY GOVERNMENT IS THEY ALLOW THESE ANIMALS TO BE IMPORTED INTO THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY, ALLOW THEM TO BE SOLD IN THE PET STORE, THEN HARRASS US FOR TRYING TO GIVE THEM A NICE HOME AND LIVE SOMEWHAT COMFORTABLE DESPITE THERE SITUATION.IF THEY DON'T WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE THESE ANIMALS, THEN FINE CUSTOMES NOT US......WE ARE JUST PEOPLE WHO CARE....

posted on Fri, 03/14/2008 - 10:42am
Fiz & Giz's mom's picture
Fiz & Giz's mom says:

i own 2 sugar gliders and a chihuahua, the dog is noisier and messier than the sugar gliders. i think that if the city wants to make a fuss about animals they should look at dangerous animals and the dogs and cats that roam our city with no owners or owners who do not take care of their pets properly. like the previous comment said suggies could not survive in our climate and would die off if released into the wild. i think a big deal is being made out of nothing.

posted on Sat, 02/09/2008 - 10:12am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Whell, i think that using the same reasoning they sould ban another species that is worse than sugar gliders, THE HUMAN Species since we smell, are hard to take care of and worse we screw up the world environment .

So i propose we should start banning the Human Race, i propose we start with them!!

Regards from Portugal

posted on Thu, 05/15/2008 - 5:53am
Katiej's picture
Katiej says:

This is ..stupid. Many types of pets wouldn't survive if they were abandoned. Chihuahuas, pet birds.... Hey, it's cold in MN! What a bunch of morons on that city council. Vote them OUT!

posted on Mon, 03/16/2009 - 4:48pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I find this ridiculous, since there are many animals kept as pets that could not survive in the wild if abandoned. For instance, if you take a dog of any size that has been spoiled, or even just kept inside for the majority of their life, they have little to no chance of surviving on their own. If that is the reasoning to banning them, then they should just ban keeping any type of animal as a pet.

posted on Sat, 03/28/2009 - 1:53pm
pet sugar glider's picture

i think properly educating people on the care and needs of the animal is better then baning them. now people who really want them will get them anyway and probably less likely to take it to the vet if sick or injured.

posted on Tue, 08/18/2009 - 2:51pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Why did I only just realize what a funny headline "St. Paul shoots down sugar gliders" is?

posted on Tue, 08/18/2009 - 3:29pm
diana's picture
diana says:

hi im from south australia i dont agree with banning or shooting these wonderful creatures.my question is how does america get so many of these little creatures ? i cant find them for sale in south australia.i own one: have had many which bred well.no one wanted them in adelaide when i had to many.i had to sell them to victoria.now i cant find them.can anyone ship one or 2 to me from america

posted on Sun, 04/25/2010 - 7:08am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Australians are native English speakers right? Did you even read the article? The title is a pun, nothing else.

posted on Sun, 06/13/2010 - 12:42pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

No need to call out someone from Australia...several of our own American posters above have mentioned these animals are being shot. Just because someone speaks English doesn't mean they understand the same reference types that we do. Americans, as a whole, are sarcastic and rude and other countries who may be more straight forward and caring might not get our twisted sense of humor.
Also - most people are mentioning that they won't survive if left abandoned...as if they got from the article that they were going to run rampant and infest the city and that's why the city banned them. The reason the wildlife officials were recommending the ban is that they KNOW that the animals will die if left out in the wild to fend for themselves and they want to avoid this from happening. I don't think many people actually read the article. But whatever - I'm just saying, you shouldn't call someone out just because they misunderstood the article or were perhaps confused by posts from other people!
At any rate - I find this article quite sad for the same reasons as earlier posters - why would they pick on sugar glider owners when there are WAY worse things you can own and abandon??!?
I think you should have to take a course on caring for your pet and buy a permit to have it. That goes for ANY pet. If people had to take the time to learn to care for a pet and pay to own one then maybe they would actually take care of them and not abuse them and leave them to die. Everyone wants a cute puppy or a playful kitty but when they grow up and haven't been trained people abandon them because they can't handle them. Of course, there are PLENTY of people out there who DO take care of their pets and that's great. It's just sad that other people are so non-commital, irresponsible and selfish. People really make me sick and I could go on about this topic forever...but I won't!

posted on Wed, 08/25/2010 - 1:52pm
Aaron Floyd's picture
Aaron Floyd says:

I, as a glider parent, state that it is not fair to ban those amazing animals because they deserve to be on this earth and enjoy it as much as we humans do! They may have faults but so do we and other people see them as cute and adorable pets that you can bond with and feel a loving connection with. They are amazing little critters that are a joy to have. They have brought a ton of enjoyment to our family and friends. They are really quiet animals because compaired to a dog or a cat these adorable critters don't make much noise or any their owners, a dog barks and that can drive you or a neighbor crazy and a cat can rub up against you which can get anoying but a glider only wishes to please its owners and parents.

posted on Fri, 02/11/2011 - 6:07pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options