A small, injured sugar glider looks out from Leah Moore’s hand on Jan. 8. The exotic, Australian animal arrived at the doorstep of Flying Fur Animal Rescue and Refuge in Parksville several days ago. — Adam Kveton Photo

Marsupial mystery: Injured ‘sugar glider’ left at B.C. animal rescue centre

Exotic animal will lose tail, but people already want to give her a home

It’s not the first time Leah Moore has had an animal dropped at her door.

But the latest pet to arrive is one of the rarer ones she’s ever come across.

It’s called a sugar glider — a tiny marsupial that looks similar to a flying squirrel, but is in fact related to kangaroos and koalas, also coming from Australia.

“A couple of days ago, she was either dropped off during the night or early morning,” said Moore, the owner/operator of Flying Fur Animal Rescue and Refuge in Parksville. “We just found her in a box on the doorstep with no note.”

The sugar glider, small enough to fit in one hand, also had an injury.

“Tail de-gloving,” Moore called it, where the skin and flesh has, in this case, come off the sugar glider’s tail. “Rabbits get it where if a predator grabs them, the whole skin and flesh (can come off).”

Unfortunately, it’s a permanent injury, she said.

“They are not like reptiles where their tail will grow back,” said Moore. “She’ll just be a little bit of a stumpy.”

Though the sugar glider will still be able to glide through the air, she will have to adapt to balancing while perched or climbing around branches.

Though this sugar glider coming to Moore without any information, she still hopes that the animal’s owner will contact her, even anonymously, to describe how the animal was injured, her age, what its temperament is normally like and other information. This will help with finding the animal a new home, said Moore.

“We totally understand,” said Moore of the sugar glider arriving at the rescue. “So few vets care for these guys, so the vet cost is very expensive.”

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Despite how exotic sugar gliders are, this is not the first Moore has had at the refuge, and there are various sugar glider owners across the Island.

Some of them have already reached out to Moore to provide information and items to help care for the sugar glider.

Even as the NEWS spoke with Moore, another phone call came in from someone asking how they could help.

“We already have people who are applying to adopt her that have sugar gliders,” said Moore, “which is very important because… these guys do not do well on their own. They are colony (creatures). They are like some parrots where they will self-mutilate themselves (if not with other gliders).”

Moore noted that Flying Fur Animal Rescue and Refuge is open to helping whatever animals they can, even if they cannot later be adopted, and she does not believe in euthanizing animals.

If that means a few bites, she’s used to it, she said.

“As long as an animal is happy, especially small animals, exotics, then we just let them be themselves.”

Anyone looking to support Flying Fur Animal Rescue and Refuge can donate pet food, fruit, vegetables, while monetary donations can be made to the Nanaimo Veterinary Hospital on the rescue’s account.

For more info, go to www.facebook.com/flyingfuranimalrescueandrefuge/

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