Carrying a baby for nine months, and then delivering it safe and sound into this world is a huge accomplishment for a woman. Nine months of pregnancy for a woman is more than enough. A statistical comparison shows that this is a very long period even when compared with the majority of animals. However, there are a few animals which have an even longer gestation period – and trust me, its tougher when you don’t have the luxury of hospitals, doctors, and the relief given by medication.
Manatees – 13 months :
The chubby little sea animal carries its young for 13 months. The manatee mother-to-be spends it’s time relaxing in the water to gain some relief.
Camels – 13 to 15 months:
The kings of the desert, the female camel also remains pregnant for 13 to 15 months (410 days to be approximate), and usually delivers more than one calf at a time!
Giraffes – 13 to 16 months
These gracefully tall creatures deliver their babies standing up! The newborn has to be big enough to brace the fall from the mother to the ground, hence the average of 13 to 16 months.
Velvet worm – 15 months
Who said that all the longest pregnancies occur in animals relatively big in size? Meet the female Velvet Worm which also stays pregnant for 15 months. The name is an idiosyncrasy – the creature is not actually a worm, and neither is it made of velvet. The numerous hair present just give them a velvety look.
Rhinoceros – 15 months
These huge single horned animals are endangered precisely because of their long gestation period.
Walruses – 15 to 16 months
These sea mammals have the lowest reproductive rate, and spend 16 long months lounge in and out of water until the time to deliver.
Whales and Dolphins – 17 to 19months
These extremely intelligent and peaceful sea living animals spend 17 to 19 months to bear their young. Long development periods are very common in intelligent animals, as we’ll see for the elephants in the next heading.
Elephants – 22 to 24 months
The elephant is one of the biggest brained and largest of land animals. With so much development to take place in the baby elephant, no wonder the mother needs two years of gestation period!
Black alpine salamanders – 24 to 36 months
These amphibians live in the Central and Eastern Alps, and deliver two young salamanders at a time. Depending on the height they live on, their pregnancy can vary between two to three years.
Sharks – 12 to 42 months
Sharks will not deliver their babies unless and until they are sure that the baby shark has been developed completely. Sharks will deliver a small number of well developed baby sharks as opposed to many poorly developed babies. Depending on the species of shark, their gestation period varies from 1 to 3.5 years.
Note: the pictures are not mine, but from the Internet. If the photographer of any of these pics sees his/her work, please leave a comment and we will be happy to give the credit to you.