For a mother, nothing more valuable in the world than her child. You could find countless reasons for it. But the starting point of this magical relation is the gestation period. Because it’s quite long in humans – 40 weeks or 9 months. It’s a solid reason. Isn’t it?. But do you know some animals have much longer gestation period than human’s. Check out the list of animals with longest gestation period.
10 Zebra – 10 – 12 Months
There are three different species of zebras in the world – plain zebra, mountain zebra and grevy’s zebra. Female zebras can breed by the age of three. Based on the species, gestation period can vary. It can last from 10 to 12 months.
One zebra foal born at a time. Shortly after the birth, a zebra foal could stand and walk. It becomes mature at the age of three. Until then, young zebras live under the protection of the mother.
9 Manatee – 12 Months
The marine mammal manatee is also known as the sea cow. Their gestation period can last about 12 months. Usually, give birth to only one calf, and it’s born underwater. An adult manatee comes to the surface every 3 – 5 minute to breathe air. So, when a calf is born, it must be taken by the mother to the surface to breathe. Surprisingly, the calf could swim within an hour after the birth.
8 Donkey – 11 – 15 Months
A female donkey or jenny carry its baby for 11 to 15 months. Donkeys give birth to a single baby or a foal. At birth, a donkey foal weighs between 8 to 13.5 kg. Within half an hour, a donkey foal would stand walk. The maturity comes at the age of two.
7 Giraffe – 13 – 15 Months
The tallest and one of the largest living animal on Earth. The gestation period of giraffes is as fascinating as their size. Because it can last for 13 to 15 months. A single baby giraffe or calf would be born after that. Surprisingly, the female giraffe gives birth by standing up. At birth, a giraffe calf measures up to 6 feet in height. Baby giraffes can also stand up and run after few hours of their birth.
6 Camel – 13 – 15 Months
Adaptability is the thing for which camels are most famous for. But this amazing animal deserves the same respect for one more thing – carrying its baby for 13 – 15 months. Pregnancy period can vary by the species. There are two types of camels in the world – Bactrian and dromedary. The gestation period of these species is 13 and 15 months respectively.
Female camel delivers one baby camel or a calf. But chances for twins are not so rare. At birth, a camel calf could weigh around 40 kg. The calf would also stand and begin to walk within half an hour after the birth.
5 Walrus – 15 – 16 Months
This amazing, long tusked marine mammal found mainly within the Arctic circle. Along with the iconic tusks and incredible adaptation, walruses are known for their long pregnancy period – last for 15 – 16 months. One calf will be born. There are also chances for the twins.
Right after the birth, a walrus calf could swim, and it would weigh between 45 and 75 kg. The calf takes about a year to wean. Until maturity comes (at the age of 3) the calf live under the protection of the mother.
4 Rhino – 15 to 16 Months
Known for the iconic horns, there are five different types of rhinos in the world – white, black, Sumatran, Javan and great one horned rhino. These incredible large mammals carry their calf for 15 to 16 months. Among the five species, white rhinos have the longest gestation period – can last for more than 16 months or more.
Female rhinos deliver only one calf at a time. At the birth itself, a rhino calf weighs between 40 and 65 kg; The protective female rhinos would take care of their calves until the age of 3.
3 Whales – 12 – 16 Months
Whales, the largest living creatures on Earth also have one of the longest gestation period – estimated between 12 and 16 months. This period is not same for all species of whales. It varies depending on the species. Among the diverse group of whales, the sperm whales have longest pregnancy period – about 16 months. The second position goes for narwhal (toothed whale ) – 14 months.
Only one whale calf born at a time. The nurturing and maturity period of whales also varies depending on the species. But it can be quite long.
2 Dolphins – 15 – 18 Months
Dolphins have known to amaze us by their incredible intelligence. May be the little known but surprising fact about dolphins is their long pregnancy period. Yes, these amazing marine mammals carry their baby for 15 to 18 months. It’s not same for a diverse group like dolphins, varies by the species.
Among the all known species of dolphins, killer whales have the longest gestation period – 17 to 18 months. Yes, the killer whale is not a whale but a dolphin, the largest of all living dolphins. Like whales, female dolphins delivers only one calf.
1 Elephants – 18 – 22 Months
The largest of all land animals have the longest gestation period of all living mammals. Yes, the gestation period of elephants lasts for 18 to 22 months. That’s nearly two years. Among the two main species of elephants – African and Asian, it changes by a few months. For an African elephant, the gestation period is 22 months where the Asian elephant’s is between 18 and 22 months.
The female elephant gives birth to only one calf at a time. Even a newborn elephant would weigh between 90 and 115 kg. The sexual maturity for elephants comes at the age of 8 to 13. But their physical growth only becomes complete at the age of 20. As a highly social creature, not just the mother elephant but the full members of the herd take care of a newborn elephant.