The Sugar Glider is a nocturnal mammal that can live in the wilderness or captivity. If you have ever seen a Sugar Glider you already know how magnificent and breathtaking these small animals are. Like kangaroos, Sugar Gliders have a pouch to hold and feed their young until they grow up enough to become independent. Before the young gliders are safely snuggled in the pouch, the female Sugar Glider must give birth first. The period between conceiving and birth is called the gestation period, and in Sugar Gliders, it lasts between 15 and 17 days.
Read on below to find some fascinating information about the reproductive life of the adorable Sugar Glider.
Sugar Glider General Information
Sugar Gliders are nocturnal mammals that live in coastal regions or rainforests. They can mostly be found in coastal regions of eastern Australia and New Guinea. They are incredibly social animals that live in groups of up to 10. Like kangaroos, they are marsupials, meaning the females possess a pouch from where they raise the young.
Sugar Gliders are small palm-sized animals between 9.5 and 12 inches long. Male gliders are slightly larger than females, weighing between 3.5 and 5.6 ounces, while females weigh between 2.8 and 4.5 ounces. The unique name of Sugar Gliders comes from their unique dietary choices, which include nectar and sweet sap, and their ability to glide through the air. Their exceptional skills include gliding an impressive length, covering around 165 feet in one trip. The “wings” that allow them to glide through the air are actually skin, stretched over the back ankle and fifth forefinger. They use their cute bushy tails to steer while flying.
How Long Do Sugar Gliders Live?
In the wilderness, Sugar Gliders can live around 9 years, a much shorter lifespan due to natural predation and other environmental factors. Their lifespan is much longer in captivity, where they don’t have to worry about being hunted down. In a proper setting and with regular veterinary care, a Sugar Glider can live from 12 to 15 years, and the oldest reported Sugar Glider reached an impressive age of 18.
Sugar Glider Reproduction
Male and female Sugar Gliders reach sexual maturity at different ages. While a female can become sexually mature in the first year of life, males reach this only in the second year. The estrous cycle of Sugar Gliders lasts for 29 days. After a female Sugar Glider mates, it will enter a gestation period, which is the time between conception and birth. Female Sugar Gliders have only one to two litters per year, with up to two young per litter. The young Sugar Gliders spend 2 to 2.5 months inside the mother’s pouch and for several months after, remain dependent on their parents. After developing enough, the young Sugar Gliders finally become independent and go on to live their lives away from their parents.
The Gestation Period of Sugar Gliders
After the female Sugar Glider becomes pregnant, the pregnancy will last only between 15 and 17 days. This period is also known as the gestation period, which ends after the babies are born. The baby Sugar Glider’s journey doesn’t end here. They still need to make it through the challenging part—traveling from the uterus to the mother’s pouch while being the size of a rice grain. This instinct comes naturally to the babies, while the mother helps by licking her stomach and leaving a trail of saliva. The babies stay inside the pouch for the next 8 to 10 weeks, with direct access to the mother’s nipple. An average female Sugar Glider will have around 2 or 3 babies each year.
The miracle of birth is present in every species, but occasionally, an odd and unique story catches our attention. Sugar Gliders have made quite a strong impression on us. After learning about these adorable, tiny creatures, they will undoubtedly seem much more fascinating and magical to you too.
Featured Image Credit: Indra Gallery, Shutterstock