Reproductive biology

Most species produce young between January-March and June, with the anestrus period extending for 6-8 months thereafter. The estrus cycle is 23-25 days and the gestation period 55-56 days. The litter size is 1-3 and most species apparently produce only one litter per year. The one exception to this seasonal cycle is Speke's pectinator, which appears to be a more opportunistic breeder, captive females being in anestrus only in July.

The young are born fully furred with their eyes open and are brought out into the open within a few hours of birth. They are left in a rock shelter while the mother forages and their continuous chirruping helps the mother relocate them in their temporary shelter. The female has been observed to carry small young in her mouth by the skin of their necks.

There are few opportunities to suckle, and young are fed chewed leaves from the start. They are weaned at about 4 weeks of age. Weaning probably starts early because the mother can produce little milk in the dry heat of the desert. Sexual maturity is attained at 8-12 months.

Longveity in the wild is estimated at 3-4 years; in captivity longevity of 10 years is recorded for Speke's pectinator.

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