Random Rant #23 – Glider Safe Wheels

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Choosing a wheel for your fuzzbutts requires a bit of research and care to select one that will be safe and appropriate..

Glider Safe Wheel Brands

Honorable mentions for Floor Rollers and Treadmills, two other styles of exercise toy.

Wheel Vendors

My Glider Wheels and MoreWebsite
The Pet GliderWebsite
White Oak Gliders and SuppliesEtsy Facebook
Sugar Glider ToylandEtsy
Custom Choice CruiserWebsite
Stephanie Branch-GrattonFacebook
My Sugar Glider Toy BoxEtsy
Spin Zone GlobalWebsite
KcGlidersWebsite
SAFE Sugar Glider Accessories for EveryoneFacebook
Mon Petit Sugar LoveWebsite Etsy

Floor Rollers and Treadmills

Spin Zone GlobalWebsite
Gliders & Designs by JohannaFacebook
Sarcastic Diva DesignsFacebook

Note: This is not a complete list of wheel vendors. Please message me or comment below to name drop your favorite wheel maker or distributor.

Glider-Safe Wheels

Exercise toys such as wheels and treadmills are essential for gliders to be emotionally and physically healthy. A glider without a safe wheel may take out their anxiety in other ways. Wheels and other exercise toys are also fun ways to prevent glider obesity. Here’s the catch, you can not buy a safe glider wheel from a commercial source as of today. Glider safe wheels are handmade by vendors in our community to address the specific needs of gliders.

Community Made Wheels

Community made wheels have the following traits:

  • No center axle or center bar.
  • No moving parts accessible to the glider inside the wheel.
  • Open fronts.
  • Mesh tracks.
  • Adequate space behind and below.
  • Hidden pinch points at the axle coming out through the back.
  • Effort is generally made to protect bearings from water.

Home-Made Wheels

Making your own wheel isn’t particularly difficult for the crafty and creative. Video tutorials on YouTube can guide you. There is one for a treadmill too. In general, I give the benefit of the doubt to any home-made wheel that meets the above criteria. Buy/make/use these at your own discretion with the knowledge that they haven’t been tested.

My personal experiences using unbranded or homemade wheels have been free of safety concerns, but often have minor annoyances. One squeaked from some rubber tubing rubbing inside it for instance.

What to avoid

Traits I avoid in a glider wheel

  • Center axles.
  • Front covers.
  • Solid tracks.
  • Close spacing to the floor.
  • Close spacing to the cage wall.
  • Pinch points.
  • Restricted jump path.

Hamster wheels and anything found in pet stores are very dangerous to a gliders tail and patagium (gliding membrane).

Wodent Wheels and Silent Runners

The wheels marketed to sugar gliders by the Exotic Nutrition website are considered unsafe by many in the community. Though EN wheels are arguably better than most pet store options, they do still have design flaws that make them inappropriate for gliders. There are community reports of injuries associated with Wodent Wheels and Silent Runners, and a documented fatality from a Wodent Wheel.

Freedom Wheels

Atticworx closed in February 2020. They created “Freedom” style wheels, which was an attempt at mass manufacturing a glider safe wheel. Though they were originally embraced by the community, they have now been removed from many of the FB groups safe wheel recommendations. There have been numerous community reports that certain batches of Freedom Wheels’ plastic back cracked or broke, and there was a glider fatality from a broken wheel that fell which is now in litigation.

What if I already have one of those wheels?

Replace it when you can afford to upgrade. A glider safe wheel should be priority #3, after diet and cage. Glider veterinary bills start at the price of the most expensive wheel and they go up fast when surgeries are needed.

In the meantime, here are some…

Tips to Mitigate the Risks

  • Solid tracks – Wash daily.
  • Smooth outer surface – Hang bridges 3 inches over the wheel to catch a falling glider before they land on the outside of the wheel.
  • Front cover – Mount the wheel low, hang a bridge or tight rope diagonally near the front cover so they have easy access into the wheel and no need to faith leap into it while its in motion.
  • Center axle – Make it into a ballpit instead of a wheel.

Wodent Wheels

Wodent Wheels have white plastic tail shields that can help prevent the worst case scenarios. If you choose to ignore the warnings and use a Wodent Wheel anyway, please be sure it has the white guard. These shields do not make it good enough to recommend using this wheel even shielded.

Wastes cannot flow though solid tracks, requiring frequent cleaning.

The outside of the wheel is smooth, making it an unstable landing pad for gliders. If they land on the outside poorly they could be thrown.There is not enough clearance over the floor, gliders swinging on the outside of the wheel can smash a face into the grate, or possibly be trapped under it.

Wodent covers can knock a gliders head if they try to enter or exit while its already in motion.

Wodent Wheels have stickers glued onto them. I don’t like stickers around my gliders, they think its fun to peel them.

When you post any pictures of your gliders or cage showing a Wodent in the background, the community will beg you to replace it.

Freedom Wheels

For older model Freedom Wheels, Atticworx created a black disk that the customer can fit onto their wheel to reinforce the weak point. There are two vendors I know had them recently. Sugar Glider Shop in the UK, and My Sugar Glider Toy Box in the USA. My Sugar Glider Toy Box also has a cap hardware enhancement disks designed to stop a fall in the event of product failure.

WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW!

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