The females most commonly have twins and multiple births are frequent, suggesting an importance for having two pairs of mammary glands. The female can have two litters per year (Martin, 1972). The gestation period for this species was found to have a range from 54 to 68 days (Van Horn and Eaton, 1979). Females housed alone in captivity tended to produce more daughters as opposed to being housed in a heterosexual group where females would produce more sons (Perret, 1990). The mother carries her infants in her mouth (Fleagle, 1988). Estrous synchrony between females was found to be enhanced by the presence of sexually active males in captivity (Perret, 1995).
Mating occurs in the gray mouse lemur as follows: before peak receptivity during estrus of the female, the male will approach the female giving the trill call and tail-lashing vigorously, and the female will respond with aggression towards the male (Glatston, 1979). When peak receptivity occurs for the female she will engage with frequent anogenital rubbing and mouthwiping, and at this time when the male approaches the female she will not act aggressively towards him (Glatston, 1979). When the male approaches the female he will sometimes sniff the flanks and the anogenital area of the female (Glatston, 1979). The will groom the female before he mounts her and will continue to groom her neck once mounted (Glatston, 1979). During mating the male will utter soft trills and the female is quiet except for threat calls once mating has completed (Glatston, 1979). The position the male takes during mating is that his forearms are grasping the waist of the female and the feet are either gripping the substrate or the hocks of the female (Glatston, 1979).
The birth of an infant occurs in the following manner for the gray mouse lemur: preceding birth the female will become restless and engage in bouts of self-grooming and nesting behavior (Glatston, 1979). The position the female takes for delivery is that the female sits with the legs spread widely and she licks the infant as it emerges, and the female does take hold of the fetal head as it comes out (Glatston, 1979). After delivery the female will bite through the umbilical cord and continue to groom the infant (Glatston, 1979).
The gray mouse lemur infant will remain in the nest the entire time for the first three weeks of its life (Glatston, 1979). The mother only leaves the nest to fee, drink, urinate, or to defaecate (Glatston, 1979). Suckling bouts last on average for about 20 minutes (Glatston, 1979). Infant grooming by the mother is usually associated with suckling or the mother's entry into the nest (Glatston, 1979).
[Gray Mouse Lemur]
Last Updated: January 25, 2007.
[Primate Fact Sheets]