birth


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Female sugar gliders are able to conceive young at about 7 to 10 months. After about 16 days in the mother, the baby is born, blind, weak, under-developed and with a weight of only 0.2 grams. It must then find its way to the mother's pouch where it will finish its development attached to one of four nipples for about 70 days. Eighty one percent of all litters will consist of two joeys. Joeys are weaned 110 to 120 days after emerging from the pouch, which is about 16 to 17 weeks (Kahn, 1656).

For many years it has been generally accepted that baby sugar gliders are weaned and ready to be pulled from mom at the age of 8 weeks. Although most joeys can survive when removed at this age, especially with human help, this is NOT a good age to separate them from their family. Mom will continue to feed them for weeks and they will wean themselves eventually on their own. During this time the joeys will learn to eat real foods from their family and they will learn skills needed to survive in their world through their continuing interactions with their family.

I have found that joeys removed at an early age will often go through a biting phase as they begin to test the world around them much like a teenager would. When the animal is alone, this biting can escalate and cause all sorts of problems for both the owner and the single animal. When left with family, the adults tend to teach their kids how to interact with things and biting is much less of a problem.

My suggestion is to leave joeys with the family unit for a minimum of 12 weeks, and forever if possible. A colony cage is the best way to keep sugar gliders.

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References

Kahn, Cynthia M., ed. The Merck Veterinary Manual. 9th ed. Whitehouse Station: Merck, 2005.
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Last Edited March 7, 2012



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