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Which Mammal Has The Shortest Gestation Period? Which One Has The Longest?

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enotes | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted October 9, 2011 at 4:00 PM via web

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Which Mammal Has The Shortest Gestation Period? Which One Has The Longest?

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fact-finder | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted October 10, 2011 at 4:00 PM (Answer #1)

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Gestation is the period of time between fertilization and birth of mammals—in other words, the time spent in the mother's uterus. The shortest known gestation period is 12 to 13 days. This record is shared by three marsupials (mammals in which the young are born prematurely and finish developing in a pouch located near the mother's abdomen): the American or Virginian opossum (Didelphis marsupialis); the rare water opossum, or yapok (Chironectes minimus), of central and northern South America; and the eastern native cat (Dasyurus viverrinus) of Australia.

The longest gestation period for a mammal is that of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) with an average of 660 days, and a maximum of 760 days.

Mammal Average gestation period
Days Months
Armadillo 60 to 120 2 to 4
Ass about 11.5
Baboon 5 to 6
Bear, grizzly 210 to 265 7
Bear, American black 210 to 215 7
Beaver about 105 3.5
Boar, wild 115 3.25
Bobcat 60 to 63 2
Capybara 150 5
Cat (domestic) 52 5
Cattle about 238 9.25
Cheetah 91 to 95 3
Chimpanzee 230 to 240 7.5
Dog 53 to 71 2
Dolphin 10 to 12
Dormouse 21 to 32
Elephant, African 660 to 760 22 to 25
Ermine about 28
Fox, red 60 to 63 2
Gerbil 21 to 28
Gibbon 7 to 8
Giraffe 453 to 464 15.25
Goat 150 5
Gopher 12 to 20
Guinea pig 63 2
Hamster from 15 to 37
Hippopotamus about 240 8
Horse about 11.5
Human 9
Kangaroo 6 to 11 (in pouch)
Koala 34 to 36 1.25
Leopard 90 to 105 3.25
Lion 100 to 119 3.5
Llama 348 to 368 11.5 to 12.25
Mouse about 20 to 30
Ocelot 70 2.25
Opossum, American 12 to 13
Panda, giant 125 to 150 4.5
Pig 101 to 129 3.25
Porpoise 183 6
Rabbit 30
Raccoon 63 2
Reindeer 210 to 240 7 to 8
Rhinoceros, black 15
Sheep 135 to 160 4.5 to 5
Shrew 13 to 24
Skunk, striped 62 to 66 2
Squirrel about 40 1.33
Tiger 103 3.5
Walrus 15 to 16 including 4 to 5 months of delayed implantation
Weasel 35 to 45 1.5
Whale 305 to 365 10 to 12
Whale, beluga 14 to 15
Whale, sperm 14 to 15
Wolf 61 to 63 2
Zebra 340 about 11.5

Sources: Famighetti, Robert, ed. The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1995, p. 189; The Guinness Book of Answers, 8th ed., pp. 136-37; The Marshall Cavendish International Wildlife Encyclopedia, vol. 8, p. 842.

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