Animals with the Longest Gestation Period

Gestation is a vital part of reproduction. It is the period of time when the development of the fetus or baby occurs inside the female animal.

However, all animals do not have the same gestation periods. Some animals carry their fetuses inside them for a few days while others for longer periods.

Some animals with the longest gestation period are listed below:

1. Whale (12 – 16 months)

Mother Blue Whale and Calf

Are you still looking for more animals with long gestation periods? If yes, you should think about whales. When it comes down to it, these creatures can carry their unborn young for many months.

2. Tapir (13 months)

Tapirs do not reproduce as quickly as many animals. After mating successfully, the animal stays pregnant for 13 months. Moreover, this animal does not give birth to more than one offspring at a time.

3. Manatee (13 months)

Manatees or sea cows are large mammals found in aquatic habitats. Like most names on our list, these animals have long gestation periods.

After a 13 month pregnancy, the mother animal stays with its young for two years. However, the male parent does not join this family unit.

4. Donkey (14 months)

Jennet and foal

Donkeys have longer lifespans and memories. Besides, they also have incredibly long gestation periods.

After mating, a female donkey will have to wait for 14 months before giving birth. Although this gestation period might take time, the animal is ready to mate within a few months.

5. Giraffe (14 – 15 months)

Mother and Baby Giraffe

Giraffes carry their pregnancies for as long as 15 months. Even if the time looks extreme, it helps the unborn animal develop strong features for surviving its habitat. When it’s time for the delivery, the giraffe gives birth while standing.

Apart from having long gestation periods, giraffes also have large-sized calves. Normally, a newborn giraffe stands at six feet while adding a few centimeters weekly.

6. Walrus (15 – 16 months)

Walruses might be social and friendly creatures, but when it comes to mating, they can be aggressive.  After the mating season, female walruses become pregnant for 15 to 16 months. As they have long gestation periods, these animals tend to mate once in two or more years.

7. White Rhino (15 – 16 months)

These rhinos are some of the largest animals in the world. Even if they have intimidating features, they are more social than other types of rhinos.

When it comes to pregnancies, white rhinos have some of the longest periods ever. After mating, the female animal goes into a 15 to 16-month pregnancy. At this rate, the animal gives birth to a calf every 2 – 3 years.

8. Dolphin (15 – 18 months)

Before dolphins give birth, they carry their young for at least 15 months. At the end of this period, they produce a single baby at a time. Although the birthing season occurs at any time, this event mainly falls within early fall, spring or summer.

Most whales have long gestation periods. However, some whales stay pregnant for longer than others. For instance, sperm whales can carry their young for 14 – 16 months while the blue whale stays in this condition for at least 10 months.

9. Camel (15 – 18 months)

Camels have long gestation periods. However, the length of this stage depends on the species of camel.

For instance, dromedaries have gestation periods of up to 15 months. As for the Bactrian camel, it stays for 13 months before giving birth. Before any of these camels get pregnant, the male will have to mate with many females at the same time.

10. Elephant (18 – 22 months)

Elephants can also boast of lengthy pregnancies. For instance, the African bush elephant stays pregnant for 22 months while the Asian cousin stays in this condition for at least 18 months.

Some experts believe that the extended gestation period has its benefits. According to them, this amount of time allows the unborn young to develop its brainpower properly before birth.