If you thought human pregnancy facts were surprising, YOU WERE WRONG! In this article 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.
Animal Pregnancy Facts 1-10
1. If being pregnant for 270 days sends shivers down the spine, then imagine what is the plight of the elephants whose gestation periods are 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 is her puppy.
5. Orangutans are extremely caring. They nurse their kids for six to seven years! That is the longest time for any animal to take for raising a child excluding humans.
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!
Animal Pregnancy Facts: 11-20
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 year without a break.
12. A chipmunk can give birth every 40-45 days. Its gestation period (31 days) is shorter than a woman’s menstrual cycle.
13. Male dolphins sexually assault the female dolphins. If they find one female dolphin, then a group of male dolphins encircle her and don’t leave her till she has sex with all in the group.
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.
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. This is called embryonic diapause. When the conditions become optimal for pregnancy and childbirth, 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 for 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.
Animal Pregnancy Facts 21-30
21. A female oyster gives birth to 100 million young oysters in her lifetime! Hen produces around 19 dozen eggs a year, one female cat is responsible for giving birth to 20,736 kittens in 4 years.
22. Calves of mighty blue whale nurse for only 6 to 8 months but during that nursing period they consume 150 gallons of milk every day! Human baby consumes a little over or around 3 cups of mother’s milk a day.
23. Duck billed platypus is the only mammal which produces eggs but not young ones. It doesn’t even have nipples; the milk comes out from their skin just like how sweat appears!
24. Dolphins nurse their young ones for 18-24 months. The young dolphin curls its tongue to make it like a straw and then inserts it into mammillary slits and drink milk. They do it this way just to make sure that they don’t drink salt water. Baby dolphins are voracious drinkers for the first few months, they need milk 4 times an hour.
25. Female aphids are born pregnant!
26. Surinam toads’ tale is different altogether! When the 12-hour mating is going on the male not only fertilizes the eggs but puts those eggs in holes which are present on the female’s back. After a few days, the skin grows and after 4 months (gestation period) when it is time for hatching they come out of the egg and mom’s skin by tearing them apart!
27. Horses have amazing power. We can ride female horses even when they are pregnant! They can be ridden till it is time for delivery.
28. Leopard seals dig a hole in ice and conceive there! They have a gestation period of 9 months.
29. The zebra foal gets on his own legs moments after he is born.
30. When a lioness conceives, all the females in the pride nurse the baby like their own.
Animal Pregnancy Facts 31-40
31. There is one type of a frog which swallows all the fertilized eggs and when they are ready to hatch, she just throws up and there come the young ones from the vomit!
32. Black Lace-Weaver Spiderlings don’t wait for their mother to bring them a tasty meal after birth. Right after birth, they come together and devour their mother while she is still alive. Cannibalism at its best!
33. You cry over gaining weight during pregnancy? Hold on! That’s nothing! Polar bears add 400 freaking pounds when they are pregnant!
34. Female African cichlids give birth normally as other fishes do but when it comes to rearing, they are different. The mother fish sucks them in her mouth when there is a danger and raises them. They are called mouth-brooders.
35. Female koalas eat eucalyptus leaves which are deadly. The bacteria present in the gut neutralizes the toxin and therefore the koala is left unharmed. But the joey or baby koala doesn’t have that bacteria, ears, eyes and fur. But mother koala feeds her own feces to her kids from where they slowly adjust to the eucalyptus leaves.
36. Mother alligators hide their eggs in a heap of vegetables which are rotting. The temperature is not only important for hatching but it decides whether the baby would be a girl or a boy. If it is below 88 degrees, then it is a girl. And when it is above 91 degrees, it is a boy.
37. Unlike some males in the animal kingdom, male polar bears don’t support the female polar bears in raising the kids. Female polar bears get pregnant during summers and dig a hole in ice in autumn for hibernation and conceive in winters and raise the babies for two years.
38. Luckily female polar bears are one of the few animals which have easy labor. When the female polar bears don’t get food in summers, they use up the stored fat to feed the fetus.
39. Red-knobbed hornbills make use of tree holes as nests. Their eggs are eaten by the monitor lizard and to protect their eggs from the predators they seal their entryway to the tree holes with their feces. The bird along with her eggs stays there and nurtures the eggs for two months (incubation period).
40. This is the grossest fact ever! For a female sea louse, childbirth time is death time. The male sea louse attracts a female sea louse and takes it to his burrow where there are dozens of other pregnant sea louses already present. To top this, when it is time for delivery, the young ones eat the mother inside out to come out of the womb. Isn’t there a better way to enter the world?