Essay

11 Animals That Have The Largest Babies

Giving birth is a normal part of life’s cycle. With some enormous kids, however, some women have it worse than others. Six mammal species in the animal kingdom give birth to enormous children that weigh at least 100 pounds at birth. Some mothers give birth to kids that are among the largest in relation to the mother’s body size, but yet not very huge.

Why are these infants so large? It’s true that Dr. Sabrina Kong of WeLoveDoodles has a strong affinity for wildlife. She gave AZ Animals some of her insight on why some animals have larger-than-life kids by combining her experience with her knowledge of veterinary medicine.

Blue Whale

A single kid of a blue whale is carried by its mother for 10 to 12 months, which is longer than a human pregnancy! The mother will give birth to a calf that is up to 25 feet long and three tons heavy when they are ready to give birth.

These babies’ enormous size is a reflection of their mother’s bulk, which is essential to their survival in the deep, wide ocean. These calves have a big advantage in the open ocean because of their size at birth, according to Dr. Kong, from evading predators to regulating body temperature in chilly waters.

In an attempt to gain 200 pounds on its birth weight, a blue whale calf would consume up to 50 gallons of its mother’s milk each day in order to grow into a full-sized blue whale, the largest animal in the world.

Orca

The infant orca is noticeably smaller, yet it is still larger than animals that live on land. The birth weight of the whale calves kept in captivity at SeaWorld ranged from an astounding 265 to 353 pounds! They are undoubtedly among the biggest newborns in nature because they are over eight feet long upon birth.

African Elephant

The African elephant reigns supreme on land, whereas the blue whale rules the ocean in terms of huge mammals. A second crown belongs to the African elephant since it is the animal with the longest known gestation period. These hulking mothers, like Asian elephants, will raise their offspring for almost two years—a pregnancy can take up to 22 months!

“The fetus can develop fully and be born at a size that can quickly adapt to life in the savanna or forest because elephants have a long gestation period,” Dr. Kong noted.

African elephant babies often weigh between 200 and 300 pounds when they are born. Similar to blue whales, elephants are only able to give birth to one youngster at a time. It is quite uncommon to witness an elephant giving birth to multiple offspring during a single pregnancy.

Giraffes

The animals on this list have prolonged gestation periods for a purpose: it allows the mother and child ample time to exchange nutrients, resulting in an exceptionally large and healthy newborn. In addition, giraffes require all of their fifteen months of pregnancy. These more than 150-pound newborns are able to see, smell, hear, taste, and even walk on their own without assistance.

A mother giraffe will give birth to her young while standing. The baby falls from the birth canal to the ground because to gravity, although that lengthy fall is expected to occur. The shock helps to promote the baby’s breathing once it touches the ground.

According to Dr. Kong, “their size is essential for quickly adapting to a life where predators are a constant threat.” “A vital survival trait, their height and strength enable them to stand and run with the herd shortly after birth.”

Rhinoceros

Giraffes and rhinoceroses, or “rhinos,” share comparable gestation periods. They will continue to be pregnant for another 15 to 16 months, or until the calf has grown to the point where it can thrive without its mother. The newborn weight of a rhino will vary depending on its species. All things considered, a typical rhino calf is born weighing roughly 100 pounds.

An instance of a rhino calf that is relatively new comes from the Tanganyika Wildlife Park. MarJon was born in February 2023 to Monica, one of the captive Indian rhinos. At birth, MarJon weighed between 80 and 90 pounds.

Hippopotamus

The growth pattern of the hippopodocus (sometimes known as the “hippo”) is intriguing. Hippos are among the mammals that give birth to the largest infants; a calf’s birth weight can range from 50 to 100 pounds. They do not, however, consume as much food as a blue whale does in order to reach adulthood in a matter of weeks. Rather, young hippos will develop over the course of the next 25 years in order to attain adulthood and full maturity weight.

Largest Babies Relative to Body Size

Large babies may not always need to weigh many tons. The mothers of the animals in the following species are remarkably similar in size to themselves.

Shingleback Lizards

Sadly, shingleback lizard moms will give birth to live offspring that account for an amazing—and agonizing—one-third of their own body weight. A shingleback lizard often gives birth to twins, though triplets are also possible. The lizard’s ratio can be compared to a mother giving birth to a child who is seven or eight years old in human terms.

BAT

Uniparous animals such as whales and elephants often give birth to just one pup at a time. The bat baby occupying approximately one-fourth of the mother’s body means that’s all the room there is in the mother. That size comparison is comparable to a human giving birth to a 3.5-month-old, if that makes sense.

Horse

A foal is roughly the size of a bowling ball given birth by a human. While mares can carry their babies for almost a year, the most often reported “normal” gestation length appears to be eleven months. Once more, horses are uniparous creatures that typically only give birth to one child at a time.

Kiwi Bird

Based on the size of its eggs, the surprisingly diminutive kiwi bird enters the list; yet, even scientists are baffled as to why the kiwi bird’s eggs are so large. Kiwi birds lay the largest eggs of any known bird species, despite being the smallest members of the flightless bird family.

Although they don’t give birth to live offspring, kiwi birds do deposit enormous eggs in relation to their own bodies. About 15% of a mother’s whole body weight is made up of the size of a kiwi egg. Their clutch size is therefore limited to one egg.

Human

Yes, we were included on the list of animals with the biggest offspring! When it comes to infants, humans have relatively large ones compared to other animals. Like kangaroos, giant panda cubs can weigh as little as a few ounces. Furthermore, Bengal tiger pups are smaller than human newborns in relation to their mothers!

The Biggest Babies in the World

Many earthly creatures, from the sea to the land and the sky, bear remarkably huge progeny. When compared to the mother’s body size, the shingleback lizard has the largest baby, the African elephant has the longest gestation period, and the blue whale is the mammal with the largest babies overall.