If you thought human pregnancy facts were surprising, YOU WERE WRONG! In this first installment of articles on surprising animal pregnancy facts, we are going to share some truly jaw-dropping facts that will, every now and then, give you ‘WHAT?’, “WTF’ types of moments. You don’t believe us? Fine! Find out yourself and you will know what we mean.
Surprising Animal Pregnancy Facts: 1-5
1. If being pregnant for 270 days send shivers down the spine, then imagine what is the plight of the elephants whose gestation periods is 730 days!
2. Human babies suck their thumbs and baby elephants suck their trunks!
3. Female dogs sometimes experience false pregnancies (after the mating period) when they couldn’t mate with the male. The reason behind this is that after the mating period is over, the dog’s ovaries secrete hormones which ready the dog for pregnancy.
4. It goes on for about a month and sometimes the dog keeps any toy or stuff and becomes protective of that toy thinking it as her puppy.
5. Orangutans are extremely caring. They nurse their kids for six to seven years! That is longest time for any animal to take for raising a child excluding humans.
Surprising Animal Pregnancy Facts: 6-10
6. Giraffes give birth standing and the baby when it comes out of the womb falls from a height of 5-7 feet from the ground. This serves two purposes. The first one being if a giraffe sits and delivers the baby, chances are that the baby giraffe gets crushed. The second reason is that it helps in cutting the umbilical cord. Though somewhat risky, most baby giraffes manage to make it to the ground.
7. Spiders can actually choose a sperm for fertilization. When a spider mates, the semen of the male spider doesn’t get into the uterus but it goes to a sac like structure where the semen is stored. Because of this, one female spider can mate with a lot of male spiders and leisurely choose the sperm for fertilization. The rest of the semen is simply dumped out. This practice is called “sperm dumping”.
8. Spiders are not the only creatures to use sperm dumping technique but animals like zebra, duck etc. use varied forms of sperm dumping.
9. Mother octopuses die after giving birth to the young ones. During the gestation period, they neither move nor eat, they simply guard their eggs.
10. Elephant tops the list when it comes to the longest gestation period in normal cases. But researchers found a deep-sea species of octopus which kept on guarding her eggs without moving or eating anything for 4.5 years!
Surprising Animal Pregnancy Facts: 11-15
11. Kangaroos may look cute and when you see them fight, they scare you to death. But we bet you don’t know that the female kangaroo has 3 vaginas which lead to 2 uteri. The outer 2 vaginas are for sexual intercourse and collecting sperm and the third one is exclusively meant for giving birth. This means the kangaroos can be pregnant all the year without a break.
12. A chipmunk can give birth every 40-45 days. Its gestation period (31 days) is shorter than woman’s mensural cycle.
14. Not just that the female dolphin’s speed greatly decreases when she is pregnant. This makes them an easy prey for the predators.
15. Female seahorses are saved from the labor pain! The male seahorses give birth to babies. The female seahorse lays eggs in male seahorse’s pouch and the male seahorse just don’t carry the eggs but his body gives nourishment and protects the babies from bacteria, virus etc. and then, he gives birth in 15-25 days.
Surprising Animal Pregnancy Facts: 16-20
16. Female ducks have corkscrew shaped vaginas and male ducks have corkscrew shaped penises. Female ducks can shove the semen into a dead end in her vagina when she doesn’t want to use it. Female ducks, like spiders, choose the sperm with which their egg would fertilize!
17. Bears and armadillos have this amazing ability to hold their pregnancy in the middle when things or surroundings are not just right which is called as embryonic diapause. When the conditions become optimal for pregnancy and child birth, they resume the process of pregnancy. For armadillos, the gestation period is just 4 months but usually, the mothers take their sweet time of 8 months to conceive.
18. Opossums take just 14 days’ gestation period. However, they carry their newborns for two to three months in their pouch.
19. Guinea pigs are way too fast! They become sexually active when they are barely 4 weeks old and even after the delivery, the females get ready another round within 2-15 hours!
20. When compared with all the animals irrespective of habitat, the frilled sharks humble down the elephants in gestation time. Their fetus grows half an inch per month and it takes 3.5 years for the embryo to get ready to get out of the womb.