Here’s some interesting animals and how they give birth.
Horses are pregnant for about 11 months. They usually ‘foal’ at night and it can take anywhere from 30 minutes up to a few hours for them to give birth. When delivery is imminent, she will become restless and paw at the ground while lying down and getting up repeatedly. The foal is usually born with it’s nose and front hooves first.
The male seahorse carries the pregnancy (why wasn’t I born a seahorse?) and gestation usually lasts between 4 and 6 weeks. They can release between 100 and 1000 young in one delivery, with the help of muscular contractions. This usually occurs at night. The young aren’t nurtured after birth, and go it alone from the start.
Some sharks lay eggs, some give birth to live young and some carry the eggs inside their bodies until they hatch. Most sharks are ovoviviparous which means they carry the eggs inside their bodies, and give birth to live young. Some shark pups display cannibalism by either eating the other eggs or the other embryos in the womb. They give birth in sheltered areas, after being pregnant for around 18 months.
Elephants are pregnant for almost two years, and calves weigh about 120kg at birth – usually one calf for each pregnancy. The calf will drop 2-3 feet in birth, but is cushioned by the amniotic sac that then bursts when it hits the floor. Often, the mother will kick the calf in an effort to help it move out of the sac and avoid suffocation. Watch this.
Once an egg is fertilised, the neonate emerges after about 33 days. It is blind, hairless and only a few centimetres long. It’s hindlegs are stumps, and it has to use it’s forelegs to claw it’s way through the mother’s thick hair to find the pouch (this takes about 5 minutes). Once in the pouch, it fastens onto a teat and starts to feed. This joey grows for about 190 days before it is ready to emerge. It usually permanently leaves the pouch after 235 days, once it feels safe.