Reproductive biology

Female pangolins have a bicornuate uterus (a heart shaped uterus with two horns) and two pectoral (breast) nipples. Males have inguinal (near the groin) testes. Several research studies suggest that some populations are capable of breeding throughout the year but most species are believed to be born between November and March. The gestation period is 120-150 days. Females usually give birth to one young, sometimes two, and rarely three, with a birth weight of 3-18 oz (90-500 g). Newborns have soft scales that do not overlap. The scales are lighter in color than in the adult, and harden after a couple of days.

There is no reliable information available on weaning or sexual maturity, but weaning is believed to begin at three months and sexual maturity believed to occur at two years. While sleeping and when alarmed, the mother rolls up around the young, which also rolls up. Beginning in the first few days, the baby makes short excursions with the mother, riding at the base of the tail or on the back and grabbing onto the scales. The mother will occasionally leave the baby behind on a branch, while feeding, and then pick it up later. The juvenile first eats insects found between the mother's scales, and later picks insects while the mother is breaking open a nest. Closer to maturity, it will dig for itself. At five months of age, the youngster will leave its mother. Females will readily take over orphans of other females. Males share a burrow with females and young ones. Life span in the wild in not known, but they can live up to 12 years in captivity. The mating system is not known.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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