Reproductive biology

The coypu is generally polyestrous in captivity and sometimes in the wild, where mating occurs usually two or three times during the year. It is a very successful procreator. The estrous cycle is variable but generally lasts for about 24-26 days, with a period of receptivity lasting one to four days. The intervals between estrous cycles last from five to 60 days. Ovulation may be induced. The gestation period is long, lasting a little over four months (specifically, 127-139 days). In Chile, the young are born in the spring and in the summer. There is a post-partum estrus within one to two days of giving birth. A female usually give birth to a litter of three to six young (with an average of five, and with one to 13 having been recorded). Factors influencing the size of the litter include availability and type of food, weather conditions, enemies, and diseases. Miscarriages are unusually high in this female rodent, with about one-third of the litters being lost during pregnancy.

A well-developed newborn is born with hair and teeth, open eyes, and able to swim as soon as it dries off (usually within a few hours). Birth weight is about 7.9 oz (225 g) and a newborn is able to survive on its own after about five days of nursing, but usually remains dependent on its parents for six to 10 weeks. The youngster rapidly gains weight during the first five months. The mother's lactation period lasts some eight weeks. A young coypu is sexually mature at about three to four months if born in warmer months and at about six to seven months if born during cooler months. In the wild, there is an 80% mortality rate in the first year of life, and only a few animals live more than two to three years. However, its life span can be six to nine years and some animals have been reported to live for 10 years.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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