If your female sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) isn't spayed and has recently been in contact with an intact male sugar glider, then there's a strong chance that she's pregnant. Since sugar glider pregnancies are so brief, however, detecting them isn't always the easiest task for human caretakers.
When female sugar gliders are pregnant and nursing, it takes a lot out of their bodies. This, in turn, sometimes makes them have bigger appetites. If your sugar glider seems to be consuming a bit more food than normal, she might indeed be expecting, so take her to an exotic veterinarian for a checkup. Pregnant sugar gliders require more calcium than normal, so it's important that you ensure your pet receives a sufficient amount of the mineral. If she doesn't, she could potentially fall ill.
While you might be able to figure out that your sugar glider is pregnant by analyzing her feeding patterns, it's still pretty hard. Since sugar gliders are marsupials, their pregnancies are extremely brief, usually around 16 days. As with all young marsupials, the little ones -- or "joeys" -- do a significant amount of growing inside of their mothers' pouches, after being born. Your sugar glider could easily have given birth to one or two youngsters without you ever noticing she was even pregnant. Many sugar glider owners can't even tell when their pets are caring for newborns in their pouches. If you ever notice tiny protuberances on your sugar glider's pouch, however, she might just be nurturing her babies. This lasts for roughly 10 weeks. Avoid attempting to peer into her pouch to check for young, as it not only could bother her, it could also potentially be detrimental to the joeys.
Consider Her Age
Considering your sugar glider's age might be helpful for figuring out if she's indeed pregnant. Female gliders typically achieve reproductive capabilities when they get to between 8 months and 1 year old. Male gliders usually mature slightly later, usually anywhere between a year and 15 months in age. If your female is at least that age, she could definitely be pregnant. Also consider the age of any males she might have been around recently, too.
Uncommon Parturition Sightings
Sightings of female sugar gliders birthing their babies are few and far between. If you miss your sugar glider giving birth, it's no big surprise. It isn't too uncommon for humans to see female sugar gliders diligently cleaning their bodies post-parturition, however. Once sugar gliders give birth, they generally eat their placentas and then proceed in grooming themselves.
- Sugar Gliders; Caroline Wightman
- SmallAnimalChannel.com: Is My Sugar Glider Pregnant?
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Petaurus Breviceps
- SeaWorld Animal Bytes: Sugar Glider
- Hilltop Animal Hospital: A Guide to Medicine and Surgery in Sugar Gliders
- Exotic Animal Medicine for the Veterinary Technician; Bonnie Ballard and Ryan Cheek
- Behavior of Exotic Pets; Valarie V. Tynes
- Sugar Gliders; Peggy Brewer
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