The acceptance of a novel diet for sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps)

Elizabeth Vaughan, Wanda McCormick, John Lowe

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterResearch

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    Abstract

    Sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps), are small, omnivorous marsupials which are currently increasing in popularity as pets and within animal collections such as zoos. The current range of captive diets is limited and is often unsuitable with regards to nutritional content which may lead to a wide range of nutritional disorders including nutritional osteodystrophy and malnutrition. This study aimed to look at the acceptability of a novel feed item produced by Dodson and Horrell Ltd® to a group of eleven sugar gliders. A comparison was made between the original diet, consisting of a Leadbetters / marmoset gum morning feed and a fruit / insect afternoon feed, and the trial diet, where a novel gel-based feed designed to deliver similar nutrient profiles was used in the morning presentations. No significant difference was found with regards to intake of either feed mass or nutrients (P>0.05) following the diet change. However, the frequency of approaches to feed and latency of approach were both significantly different following the change (P<0.05), decreasing when transitioned to the trial diet. Using a faecal scoring system, a significant change was seen on the trial diet with faecal pellets being drier (P<0.05). Anecdotal feedback from the animal technicians caring for the sugar gliders supported the use of the novel feed as being easier to prepare and store, as well as maintaining cleanliness in the enclosure. This study supported the novel feed being nutritionally well balanced and acceptable to sugar gliders as well as having a positive influence on faecal scores. This will act to widen the currently limited range of captive diets available to sugar gliders and may reduce risk of nutritional disorders.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4
    Number of pages1
    JournalBIAZA Research Newsletter
    Volume16
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

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    diet
    diet-related diseases
    animal exploration and collection
    animal technicians
    Callitrichidae
    nutrients
    Metatheria
    Petaurus breviceps
    zoos
    malnutrition
    pets
    pellets
    feed intake
    gels
    insects
    fruits

    Cite this

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    title = "The acceptance of a novel diet for sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps)",
    abstract = "Sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps), are small, omnivorous marsupials which are currently increasing in popularity as pets and within animal collections such as zoos. The current range of captive diets is limited and is often unsuitable with regards to nutritional content which may lead to a wide range of nutritional disorders including nutritional osteodystrophy and malnutrition. This study aimed to look at the acceptability of a novel feed item produced by Dodson and Horrell Ltd{\circledR} to a group of eleven sugar gliders. A comparison was made between the original diet, consisting of a Leadbetters / marmoset gum morning feed and a fruit / insect afternoon feed, and the trial diet, where a novel gel-based feed designed to deliver similar nutrient profiles was used in the morning presentations. No significant difference was found with regards to intake of either feed mass or nutrients (P>0.05) following the diet change. However, the frequency of approaches to feed and latency of approach were both significantly different following the change (P<0.05), decreasing when transitioned to the trial diet. Using a faecal scoring system, a significant change was seen on the trial diet with faecal pellets being drier (P<0.05). Anecdotal feedback from the animal technicians caring for the sugar gliders supported the use of the novel feed as being easier to prepare and store, as well as maintaining cleanliness in the enclosure. This study supported the novel feed being nutritionally well balanced and acceptable to sugar gliders as well as having a positive influence on faecal scores. This will act to widen the currently limited range of captive diets available to sugar gliders and may reduce risk of nutritional disorders.",
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    The acceptance of a novel diet for sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps). / Vaughan, Elizabeth; McCormick, Wanda; Lowe, John.

    In: BIAZA Research Newsletter, Vol. 16, No. 1, 01.2015, p. 4.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterResearch

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    AU - Vaughan, Elizabeth

    AU - McCormick, Wanda

    AU - Lowe, John

    PY - 2015/1

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    AB - Sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps), are small, omnivorous marsupials which are currently increasing in popularity as pets and within animal collections such as zoos. The current range of captive diets is limited and is often unsuitable with regards to nutritional content which may lead to a wide range of nutritional disorders including nutritional osteodystrophy and malnutrition. This study aimed to look at the acceptability of a novel feed item produced by Dodson and Horrell Ltd® to a group of eleven sugar gliders. A comparison was made between the original diet, consisting of a Leadbetters / marmoset gum morning feed and a fruit / insect afternoon feed, and the trial diet, where a novel gel-based feed designed to deliver similar nutrient profiles was used in the morning presentations. No significant difference was found with regards to intake of either feed mass or nutrients (P>0.05) following the diet change. However, the frequency of approaches to feed and latency of approach were both significantly different following the change (P<0.05), decreasing when transitioned to the trial diet. Using a faecal scoring system, a significant change was seen on the trial diet with faecal pellets being drier (P<0.05). Anecdotal feedback from the animal technicians caring for the sugar gliders supported the use of the novel feed as being easier to prepare and store, as well as maintaining cleanliness in the enclosure. This study supported the novel feed being nutritionally well balanced and acceptable to sugar gliders as well as having a positive influence on faecal scores. This will act to widen the currently limited range of captive diets available to sugar gliders and may reduce risk of nutritional disorders.

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