With the average human pregnancy lasting 40 weeks (280 days) you might start to understand why our population is growing so fast when you take a look at these ten. They are the top 10 mammals with the longest gestation periods and they make us humans look like baby producing machines…
The Top 10 Mammals With the Longest Gestation Periods
10 – Llama – Average Gestation Period: 360 Days
The gestation period of a llama is 11.5 months (350 days). Dams (female llamas) do not lick off their babies as they have an attached tongue that does not reach outside of the mouth more than half an inch (1.3 cm). Rather, they will nuzzle and hum to their newborns.
9 – Fin Whale – Average Gestation Period: 370 Days
Mating occurs in temperate, low-latitude seas during the winter, followed by an 11- to 12-month gestation period. Females reproduce every 2 or 3 years, with as many as six fetuses being reported, but single births are far more common as they also remain with their mothers for about one year.
8 – Arabian Camel (Dromedary) – Average Gestation Period: 390 Days
Dromedaries are mainly active during daylight hours. They form herds of about 20 individuals, which are led by a dominant male. This camel feeds on foliage and desert vegetation; several adaptations, such as the ability to tolerate losing more than 30% of its total water content, allow it to thrive in its desert habitat. Mating occurs annually and peaks in the rainy season; females bear a single calf after a gestation of 12-15 months.
7 – Tapir – Average Gestation Period: 400 Days
Young tapirs reach sexual maturity between three and five years of age, with females maturing earlier than males. The natural lifespan of a tapir is about 25 to 30 years, both in the wild and in zoos. Apart from mothers and their young offspring, tapirs lead almost exclusively solitary lives.
6 – Giraffe – Average Gestation Period: 460 Days
The mother gives birth standing up. The calf emerges head and front legs first, having broken through the fetal membranes, and falls to the ground, severing the umbilical cord. The mother then grooms the newborn and helps it stand up. Within a few hours of birth, the calf can run around and is almost indistinguishable from a one-week-old.
5 – Walrus – Average Gestation Period: 480 Days
The first three to four months are spent with the blastula in suspended development before it implants itself in the uterus. This strategy of delayed implantation, common among pinnipeds, presumably evolved to optimize both the mating season and the birthing season, determined by ecological conditions that promote newborn survival. Calves are born during the spring migration, from April to June.
4 – White Rhinoceros – Average Gestation Period: 490 Days
single calf is born and usually weighs between 40 and 65 kg (88 and 143 lb). Calves are unsteady for their first two to three days of life. When threatened, the baby will run in front of the mother, which is very protective of her calf and will fight for it vigorously. Weaning starts at two months, but the calf may continue suckling for over 12 months. The birth interval for the white rhino is between two and three years. Before giving birth, the mother will chase off her current calf. White rhinos can live to be up to 40–50 years old.
3 – Giant Beaked Whale – Average Gestation Period: 520 Days
Researchers have debated over whether the northern and southern populations represent distinct species or whether they are simply geographic variants. Several morphological characters have been suggested to distinguish them, but the validity of each has been disputed. Currently, it seems that there are no significant skeletal or external differences between the two forms, except for the smaller size of the southern specimens known to date
2 – Asian Elephant – Average Gestation Period: 600 Days
The calf is fully developed by the 19th month but stays in the womb to grow so that it can reach its mother to feed. At birth, the calf weighs about 100 kg (220 lb) and is suckled for up to three years. Once a female gives birth, she usually does not breed again until the first calf is weaned, resulting in a four to five year birth interval. Females stay on with the herd, but mature males are chased away.
1 – African Elephant – Average Gestation Period: 660 Days
Elephants are at their most fertile between the ages of 25 and 45. Calves are born after a gestation period of up to nearly two years. The calves are cared for by their mother and other young females in the group, known as allomothers.