The average human pregnancy is 40 weeks. This gives mothers ample time to think of a name, get all the baby essentials, and prepare a nursery. However, there are members of the animal kingdom that carry their babies in their bellies for as short as a few weeks or as long as over a year and a half.
1. Opossum, 12 days
A species of opossums known as the Virginian opossum is known to have the shortest gestation period in the animal kingdom. Imagine having to think of your child’s name in less than 2 weeks!
2. Guinea pig, 60 days
A guinea pig’s pregnancy lasts between 59 to 72 days, which can result in a litter of 1 to 8 furry babies.
3. Cat, 63 days
A cat can get pregnant as early as 4 months old.
4. Dogs, 65 days
The pregnancy of a dog depends on its size, breed, and age. The larger the dog, the more likely it is to have more puppies.
5. Raccoon, 65 days
A raccoon’s typical mating season is during the winter sσ they can give birth to their young in the spring.
6. Tiger, 110 days
Tigers have a gestation period of about 16 weeks. When the tiger cubs are born, they’re blind and depend heavily on their mother for the first 2 months before they begin eating solid food.
7. Pig, 115 days
Pigs can give birth to up to 10 piglets, twice a year. Imagine having 20 babies in a span of 365 days!
8. Panda, 135 days
One of the reasons why pandas are considered an endangered species is because they’re unable to reproduce as quickly as other animals. They usually only give birth to one cub at a time, every 2 years.
9. Lemur, 135 days
There are over 100 different species of lemurs. Ring-tailed lemurs usually mate in April and give birth in the summer to about 1 or 2 little ones.
10. Bear, 220 days
It’s uncommon to see bears together unless it’s mating season. Cubs are born at the beginning of the year between January and February and stay with their mothers until they’re 2 to 3 years old.
11. Seal, 280 days
Like humans, seals are pregnant for about 9 months but can remain pregnant for 11 months.
12. Horse, 365 days
By the time a mare is ready to give birth, her baby is about 10% of her weight, which means the foal can be 100 pounds!
13. Beluga whale, 450 days
A female beluga whale typically gives birth to 1 calf every 2 to 3 years. Unlike humans and other domestic animals, the umbilical cord of a beluga snaps upon birth to allow the baby to swim freely beside its mother.
14. Giraffe, 465 days
With their legs as long as 6 feet, a comfortable birthing position for a giraffe is standing up. When they give birth, the baby falls straight to the ground from more than a 5-foot height.
15. Walrus, 600 days
Although walruses live in large groups on ice packs or on the shore, their mating takes place privately underwater. At birth, one walrus pup can weigh about 130 pounds.
16. Elephant, 665 days
Elephants have a gestation period of 95 weeks! That’s more than double a human pregnancy. Because of this, elephants give birth to about 4 calves in their lifetime.