Reproductive biology

Breeding is probably promiscuous and is seasonal with most young born in summer, after a 14-day gestation. Males as well as females show an annual cycle of fertility. The female usually carries the full complement of four young that, in the ab-

Foraging on the forest floor, the numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) unearths insects. (Photo by H. & J. Beste/Nature Focus, Australian Museum. Reproduced by permission.)
A numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) searches for termites. (Photo by Frans Lanting/Minden Pictures. Reproduced by permission.)

sence of a pouch, maintain attachment orally and by entwining the forelimbs in the crimped fur of the mammary region. Development is slow and young are carried for six to seven months, after which they are deposited in a nest. At this stage they are furred with visible stripes, but their eyes are not yet open. The young are suckled for another three months, until at least late October. During this time they gradually explore and forage within their mother's home range. The female may move them to another nest, particularly in response to disturbance, and does so by carrying small young on her back.

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