Sunday, 21 March 2010

Baby animals!!

Once again I’ve been thinking about all the ways animals are totally different and my favourite is in how they reproduce! That sounds a bit weird but when it comes to things like gestation animals do some totally strange stuff!! Plus we all know that baby animals are the cutest things in the world!

I’m going to start with one I found really fascinating when I first learnt about it. I am talking about the kangaroo. Did you know that kangaroos sort of have 2 uteruses and 2 penises? Yes it’s true. This allows the male to fertilise 2 eggs at one. One egg then begins to develop whilst the other’s development is halted and they remain in the uterus until the first joey is out of the pouch. Now back to the other fertilised egg, this develops into a neonate (also called a foetus) and is born at just 33 days. The offspring is only a few centimetres long, hairless, blind and has only stumps for hind legs. This miniscule creature then has to climb up its mother’s belly and into her pouch. The mother normally helps by licking a pathway through her fur for it to climb up. This takes about five minutes, but it must seem like forever to that tiny creature. The baby then attaches itself to a nipple and stays attached for the next 190 days and develops into a joey. To begin with it’ll only stick it’s head out to have a look around but when it feels safe enough it will get out periodically but return to the pouch. Eventually after about 235 days it leave the pouch all together and the mother can then allow the second embryo to develop. To be honest I thought this was a pretty efficient way of doing things!!

Next I just want to say a little something about snake reproduction. Like a lot of animals they are seasonal breeders but they will only become sexually recipient if environmental conditions are correct. In pet trade the breeders will begin to reduce the temperature, light period and food intake to bring them into what is called brumation (like being in heat with dogs). Now you all know it’s very hard to tell what gender a snake is just by looking as they have entirely internal reproductive organs, the only way to be sure is have a vet probe them.

Now I just thought I’d give you some lengths of gestation periods, as you’ll guess the bigger the animal the longer the gestation but some of these will surprise you:

  • Domestic mouse is 19 days.
  • Rabbit is 30-35 days.
  • Guinea pig is 68 days.
  • Chinchilla is 110-120 days.
  • Puma (a type of big cat) is only 90 days.
  • Horse is 330-342 days.
  • Giraffe is 420-450 days.
  • Polar bear is 240 days.
  • Elephant is 645 days (that’s nearing 2 years!!).
  • And humans are 254-294 days.

This post is also an excuse to post my favourite picture at the moment, which is of my friend’s 4 month old daughter who is just lovely!!


  1. Awwww, she is lovely isn't she? Currently my fave pic as well. And she is definitely cuter than a bloody panda. :-)