How To Tell If a Sugar Glider Is Pregnant: 5 Signs to Look For
Sugar Gliders are small marsupials. This means that as well as being pregnant and carrying the young inside for a short time, they have a pouch that newborns will crawl into for several weeks before they emerge. This combination means that Sugar Gliders have a short gestation period of only about 16 days. Because this is such a short time, it can be difficult for owners to notice that their little pet is pregnant until the pouch is full.
However, if your unspayed female Sugar Glider has come into contact with an unneutered male, there is a good chance that she will have gotten pregnant, and you will need to start preparing accordingly. Fortunately, there are some signs you can look out for that will help you determine whether your Glider is pregnant or not.
Sugar Glider Pregnancy
Sugar Gliders are sexually mature when they reach 8 to 12 months old, and they can have litters two or three times a year. A litter will typically consist of two pups, but could potentially be up to four. The gestation period, which is the length of time that the female is pregnant, is approximately 16 days.
At this point, the young are born and will climb into Mom’s pouch. At 3 weeks, the joeys are visible, and at 5 weeks, they will start to stick out of the pouch. They will emerge from the pouch at around 6 or 7 weeks.
The 5 Signs To Look For
With such a short gestation period, it can be difficult to determine when a Sugar Glider is pregnant, and some owners only really notice once the joeys are visible in the pouch. Signs to look for include:
1. Swollen Abdomen
Joeys are only the size of small beans when they emerge from the mother’s cloaca and climb into the pouch. As such, the joeys themselves don’t take up a lot of room, but the mother’s organs move around to accommodate the young and to prepare for the birth, and the mother may eat more while pregnant, so you may notice a swelling of the abdomen.
2. Prominent Nipples
The nipples of your Sugar Glider may become easier to spot. However, the nipples of a Sugar Glider aren’t easy to see, so this is not a reliable method of determining or predicting pregnancy.
Sugar Gliders, like a lot of pregnant females, will start to prepare a nest for their young. They may gather nesting materials, look for a dark and secluded area in their enclosure, and start building a spot. Considering the joeys will live in the mother’s pouch, rather than in a nest, the nest building is done so that she has somewhere comfortable, clean, and safe to give birth, rather than for the babies once they emerge.
4. Mood Changes
Behavioral changes are common in pregnant Sugar Gliders. It may become uncomfortable to be held or picked up, and an otherwise bright and energetic Glider may become more lethargic and unwilling to be handled. She may not tolerate the presence of the male too close to her, either.
5. Eating Habits
A pregnant Sugar Glider may start to eat more and may start to forage food away ready for the birth and to ensure that she has sustenance when the joeys are born. This increased appetite can also lead to weight gain.
Sugar Gliders are marsupials, which means that when their joeys are born, they will spend several weeks attached to the mother’s nipple inside her pouch. This time in the pouch means that Sugar Gliders have shorter pregnancies than you might expect from an animal of this size, which can make it very difficult to identify when one is pregnant.
But, above, we have included five possible signs that indicate your Glider might be expecting a litter of pups within the next couple of weeks.
Featured Image Credit: Arif Supriyadi, Shutterstock