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Gliding and Striped Possums: Petauridae

Behavior And Reproduction

Striped possums live alone and do not form social groups. They are believed to be territorial. This means that they stay in a particular area and defend it against other members of their species. Gliding possums are more social and live in family groups and share their nests. These groups are made up of variable numbers of adult males and females. Within these groups, both males and females develop a system of ranking known as a hierarchy (HI-uh-raar-key). Females will aggressively bother other females that are below them in this hierarchy, sometimes causing the death of their babies. Males that are high in this system tend to care for the young when the females are away. Gliding possums are also territorial, because they protect their area from other gliding possums that are not in their group.

Gliding and striped possums are marsupial mammals, which means that they do not have a well-developed placenta. The placenta is an organ that allows the mother to share food and oxygen with developing offspring in her uterus (womb) during pregnancy. As a result, marsupials like these possums are born underdeveloped and need to continue to grow in their mother's pouch for some time after birth before they can survive in the outside world.

All female members of this family have a pouch with two teats (nipples). Two young are born at a time. After the young are born, they crawl to the pouch and attach themselves to one of their mother's teats. After many days, the young emerge from the pouch and live in a nest. During this time, they may be carried around on their mother's back. Information about reproduction is not known for all species, but it is known that for the sugar glider, pregnancy lasts only sixteen days. However, the young remain in the pouch for another sixty days after birth. The young then live in the nest until they are about four months old. In this species the males that live in the group help to care for the young.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsGliding and Striped Possums: Petauridae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Gliding And Striped Possums And People, Sugar Glider (petaurus Breviceps): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, CONSERVATION STATUS