Sugar gliders are small and delicate creatures, but they are fantastic to study. There are several interesting characteristics about sugar gliders reproduction, like how their mating seasons vary depending on the region where they live.
Here’s a guide to these tiny mammals’ reproductive cycle and the way their young grow from the womb.
How Do Sugar Gliders Mate?
Sugar gliders follow the characteristics of other marsupials. The mother holds the baby joey in her pouch until it’s strong.
These mammals usually don’t have a mating season, but there’s an increase during the early wet season. The abundant food in the area may cause this increase.
In some parts of Southern Australia, sugar gliders reproduction is more rampant during winter or early spring. The reason may be that these mammals huddle together in trees during cold periods.
Males are generally polygynous, meaning they mate with several females. However, monogamy is possible if there’s limited food in the area.
Sugar Glider Breeding
The female gliders reach puberty between 8 to 12 months old, and males start at 15 months. The female estrous cycle takes 29 days, so the males use this time to mate with as many as possible.
A glider will be pregnant for 17 days. Once the joey is out, it will crawl into its mother’s pouch and stay there for 74 days.
A female will usually have two joeys in her pouch. She will feed on insects to give them protein-rich milk, and after four months, the joeys will start weaning themselves.
The Gestation And Birth Period
Gestation and birth are essential parts of sugar gliders reproduction. The joey will be in its mother’s womb for 17 days. When it’s born, it will crawl into the pouch to feed on one of the four teats.
A joey typically weighs 0.19g at birth. It’s born with a sense of smell and well-developed limbs for crawling.
Female sugar gliders will have 1 or 2 litters every year. They usually have the second if the first litter weans early or dies.
How Parents Care For Their Young
Sugar glider joeys grow quickly, but they still need their parent’s care to survive in the wild. The first 70 days between birth and weaning are the most crucial parts.
When they exit the womb, joeys don’t have fur; it only starts growing after 30 days in the pouch. After 70 days, the joey becomes too big and needs to exit the bag.
The joey will stay in the group nest while the mother forages for food. The young still suckle during this stage, so the mother must eat several insects to produce high-protein milk.
The adults in the group will protect the offspring from danger. Sometimes, the father may even play an active role in raising the joey.
After 80 days, the joey’s eyes will open. It starts becoming territorial after 90 days, and it voluntarily leaves the nest after 120 days to be independent.
It’s always a spectacle to witness sugar gliders reproduction. These marsupials go through an exciting growth timeline that shows their unique characteristics.