Dec. 11 , 2006

Unusual pets of Dassel

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Dassel resident, Laura Fouquette, made the news recently with her collection of unusual pets.

Fouquette was featured on 5 Eyewitness News “On the Road with Jason Davis,” Nov. 19 Unusual Pets program.

Fouquette owns an array of animals, but none as unusual as her nocturnal friends, the sugar gliders.

Sugar gliders are small gliding possums native to Australia and look a bit like squirrels. Their captive diet mainly consists of apples, bananas, grapes, hard-boiled eggs, and larger insects such as meal worms.

Sugar gliders are nocturnal and only come out to play at night, around 9 p.m., according to Fouquette.

She keeps her three gliders in a cage in the basement, where they sleep in homemade fleece pouches hung in the cage.

Sugar gliders get their name for their ability to glide between trees due to their patagiums, or twin skin membranes, that extend from their fifth finger of the forelimb back to the first toe of the hind foot. Some flights have been measured more than 55 yards.

Fouquette explained that the crew taped two-and-a half-hours for a two-minute segment of “On the Road.” Unfortunately, she never got to meet Jason Davis, only his producers and crew, she said.

What wasn’t shown on the show was that one of her gliders, Shiloh, hid in her long hair and got stuck. The other glider, Taz, had gotten out of the cage the night before. They re-enacted it for the show, she said.

Since the gliders are nocturnal, they don’t like to be awakened during the day. “They will bark at me,” she said.

Fouquette is unsure of how the station found out about her “unusual pet” sugar gliders. One idea is that they found her on the Internet when she was trying to sell her other two gliders.

Fouquette and her husband, Jeff, moved to Dassel six years ago. Since they don’t have kids, her pet farm has expanded and includes more than just sugar gliders.

Fouquette also owns horses, a llama, three labs, a dove, a cinnamon green cheek conure, finches, chickens, guinea hens, a rooster, and two chinchillas.

Although her husband would disagree, Fouquette would like to own a zebra someday, “But that will never happen,” she said. A camel would be fun, as well, for her, “but they are so big, we’ll never have that either,” she said.

Originally, she was going to college to be a veterinarian, but her allergist didn’t think that would be a good idea. Now she is a physician’s assistant, working at Health Partners in St. Cloud.

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