Elephants, one of the largest terrestrial animals of the animal kingdom that have the longest pregnancy among all the mammals. The reason lies in the fact that a lot of development takes place inside the womb of mother elephant as elephants are bigger and need maturation to develop.
The average lifespan of their pregnancy is around one and a half years to two years.
Elephants are the largest surviving land animals of the animal kingdom of the family Elephantidae. 3 species of elephants are recognized: The African Bush Elephant, The African Forest Elephant, and Asian Elephant.
As elephants are one of the amazing creations of nature, it has some amazing features and here are some fun facts to learn about. Let’s take a tour of some key points about the giant beast.
What you need to know about elephants:
- The word elephant comes from the geek word elephas, which means ivory.
- The animal’s gestation period is 22 months which longest of any animal in the world.
- The average lifespan of elephants is 50-70 years. The longest surviving elephant lived for 86 years.
- The tusks of the elephant grow throughout its lifetime. They use it to dig saltwater and roots, to clear ways and sometimes for defence. Also, they are used for marking on trees to create an elephant’s territory.
- The elephant’s trunk forms its upper lip and nose. The trunk is strong enough to rip off the trunk of the tree and sensitive enough to pick up a blade of grass.
- They also use it for drinking water. It can hold up to 14litres of water at a time and blow it directly into the mouth.
- The elephants use their tongue for bathing and spread water all over their skin to dry up by the heat of the sun.
- The elephant’s ears are really large and throw away a large amount of heat from the body.
- The females usually survive in groups with their female ancestors and descendants. Males are the loners.
- Elephant’s behaviour signifies compassion, altruism, and calmness. They are quiet and live on their own. When attacked or hunted, they only defend themselves by their trunk.
List of 7 animals with longest pregnancy period:
The gestation period of a species depends on its type, body structure and the time needed for the healthy development of the child inside the womb. Let’s take a look at some different creatures with varying gestation period:
The gestation period of a manatee is 13 months long, which is one of the longest pregnancy periods in an animal. One cannot identify only by looking at the creature whether it is pregnant or not. Manatees put up some extra fats which maintain a balance for to and fro movement in the water. The manatee mother is respected for her patience in carrying a child for such a long period.
These are the residents of deserts and considered a little lazy and stubborn. However, the pregnancy period of the animal is about 13-14 months or around 410 days. Other camelids like llamas also have a long gestation period of about 330 days.
Giraffes are the tallest terrestrial animals in the ecosystem and are one of the charming species of the animal kingdom. They have a gestation period of 400-460 days. The mother gives birth standing at a place- so the baby needs to be big enough to brace for a long tail. Giraffe’s young ones are prone to many predators out there in the wild. This is the reason for a longer delay.
Unlike other mammals who are large and big enough, these are small worms who interestingly carries their child in the womb for 15 months, one of the longest pregnancy period in an animal. They are interesting creatures of the mammal kingdom and are close relatives to both arthropods and true worms. They are covered with sensory hair which gives them the velvety appearance.
Rhinos are one of the largest animals. In correspondence to the size, they have a long gestation period of about 450 days so that development takes place properly. The long gestation period is an obstacle to their growing population which goes up at a very slow pace. Presently, the rhinos are vulnerable to getting extinct.
Whales and Dolphins:
Both whales and dolphins take a longer time to develop their child in the womb for mature development. The gestation period of a dolphin is 15months and of a whale is about 19 months. Both are one of the most patient, calm and peaceful personalities.
Tapirs are closely related to horses and rhinos and similarly have a long gestation period according to their body size and development. The animal has one of the longest pregnancy period of 13 months. The young ones have brown and beige stripes which fade away as they grow up and become more mobile. These stripes them camouflage from their predators but eventually fades away.
What animals die after giving birth?
Male Octopus mates and dies:
A male Octopus dies as soon as he donates sperm to its female partner. Some will either fertilize a female’s egg or will keep until her eggs are fertilized. Soon after this process, the octopus dies. The female octopus lives longer than the male. They die after a while after giving birth to their young ones.
Squids die after giving birth:
Squids follow a similar process as an octopus. Males die after mating or donating their sperm while females die shortly checking upon their young ones alive and healthy. This process can take up to 30 days to 12 months depending upon the species.
Salmon dies after their process of giving birth also known as spawning. Every year, the species travel 2000 miles to the place where they were born to lay eggs. Male Salmon can spawn with thousands of females while a female can only spawn with one male. Females guard their babies for the next weeks or so but exhausted out of their long journey, they die and are washed downstream as food for predators.
Giving birth is a natural process while the development cycle of a creature depends on its type of species.
Some of them have a longer gestation period depending on their body type. For example elephants and rhinos as we saw have much larger bodies. Therefore the maturation period of the baby inside the mother’s womb depends on the size.
Also, some animals possess less endurance power and die as soon as they give birth.
All these natural processes of the ecosystem are fascinating to know about. While research continues to find out some more amazing facts about these beautiful creations of the ecosystem about their well being.