Photos Of Pregnant Animals Will Leave You In Awe Of The Circle Of Life

Pregnancy is often considered a beautiful thing but that idea isn’t exclusive to humans. Nearly every creature in the circle of life experiences pregnancy in one form or another and that means they have to deal with bulging bellies and painful labor just like everyone else. Amazingly, some animals can be pregnant for as little as two weeks or as long as two years! These members of the animal kingdom have quite a lot to show for the lives that they bring into this world and you’ll be in awe of what that process looks like.

One favorite household pet looks like an eggplant when it’s pregnant!

Giraffes Give Birth Standing Up

pregnant-giraffe
Steve Garvie/Flickr

The photographer who saw this giraffe on the East African safari found her all alone and quickly realized it was because she was pregnant and in labor. Her bulging belly is moments away from unleashing a calf.

Giraffes have a gestation period that can last anywhere from 400 to 460 days, the end of which will usually result in a single calf. Giraffes give birth standing up and when the calf falls out of its mother, she grooms it and helps it stand on its new legs. It’s able to run around within a few hours.

Jaguars Carry For Three And A Half Months

pregnant-jaguar
Aakanksha Singh/Wikimedia Commons

This jaguar momma is staring down the photographer that took this photo, likely looking out for any apparent threats. Because she appears to be expecting, she might need to spend more time nesting than trying to defend herself.

Female jaguars reach maturity at two years of age and when they are fertile, they will let males know by leaving urinary scent marks and by making noise. Their gestation period lasts for up to 105 days. Jaguars can give birth to up to four cubs at once, but on average will deliver two. Females raise the cubs on their own.

Lionesses Can Deliver Up To Four Cubs At Once

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Robin Alasdair Frederick Hutton/Wikimedia Commons

This pregnant lioness is walking with a friend. They’re probably looking for a place to nest since this lioness is about to give birth after 110 days of carrying her cubs. Female lions deliver and raise their cubs in a secluded den, such as a thicket or a cave, away from the rest of the pride.

Like jaguars, lionesses raise the cubs all on their own and don’t tolerate a male presence due to infanticide. After the cubs are born, the lioness will move them one-by-one to a new den site several times a month to avoid predators.

Guinea Pigs Are Pregnant For Two Months

pregnant-guinea-pig
WhatNowChamaa/Imgur

Female guinea pigs become fertile as early as four weeks old, which means they can carry litters before they’re even adults. The gestation period for a guinea pig lasts from 59 to 72 days. Due to the size of the pups, pregnant guinea pigs become very large and eggplant-shaped.

On average, a litter will contain three pups. They can have as many as five litters a year and their pups are readily able to move on their own, having well-developed hair, teeth, and claws. However, the pups are partially blind upon birth.

Coming up, would you believe that the males of a certain species are the ones to get pregnant?

Prairie Dogs Have A Mating Call To Get To This State

pregnant-prairie-dog
Donovan Watson/Flickr

Prairie dogs carry their litter for a month on average, depending on which breed they are. These rodents aren’t actually in the canine family despite their name, yet their mating call consists of barking two to 25 times at three- to 15-second intervals.

The mother prairie dogs will nurse their young in a nursery chamber underground for about six weeks. They also spend this time defending the nursery and gathering grass for the nest. It has been argued that young prairie dogs will sleep in chambers with other mothers, but others say they will be killed to protect the territory.

Monk Seal Gestation Lasts Almost A Year

pregnant-seal
Kanaka Rastamon/Flickr

This is a monk seal that looks so done with being pregnant. The gestation period of a monk seal ranges around 11 long months. Like most pinnipeds, monk seals are polygynous. This means that one male will mate with a group of females to protect his territory and assert his dominance.

Many seal species breed on land and will return to the same sites every year for that specific purpose. Monk seal pups don’t make their first contact with water until two weeks after their birth. They are finally weaned at around 19 weeks of age.

Goats Can Have Triplet Births

pregnant-goat
Olive Egg Farm/Facebook

This pregnant goat looks like she’s ready to get her kid(s) out of her! Gestation for goats is approximately 150 days, after which they typically give birth to twins. But based on the size of this goat we wouldn’t be surprised if she had triplets, which is also common along with single births.

A goat is ready to deliver when the area around her tail and hip become sunken. She may also start breathing heavily, look worried, and become restless. After the birth, the female goat will eat her own placenta for the nutrients that she needs.

Seahorses Let The Men Do All The Work

pregnant-seahorse
Adam/Flickr

When it comes to seahorses, it’s the male that has to deal with the tribulations of pregnancy. Male seahorses have a pouch on the front side of their tails that gets filled with up to 1,500 eggs deposited by a female seahorse.

Before this transaction, the seahorses spend time courting each other to synchronize their reproductive states. The male seahorse carries the babies anywhere from nine to 45 days until the baby seahorses are fully developed but tiny. A male seahorse can release as many as 1,000 young, expelling them with muscular contractions.

Coming up, you see these animals everywhere but we bet you didn’t know that they have babies in as little as three weeks.

Many Cows Don’t See Their Babies After Birth

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VirtualWolf/Flickr

The gestation period for a cow can last as long as a human’s at nine months, but the precise length of that period really depends on the breed of the cow and the gender of the calf she’s carrying.

Many calves are taken from their mothers within 24 hours of birth and unfortunately aren’t nurtured by their own mother’s milk, which is instead harvested for human consumption. This primarily applies to cows on dairy farms, but studies have shown that calves who are reared by their mothers tend to be more sociable as adults.

Ponies Have Complications During Pregnancy

pregnant-pony
Virginia State Parks staff/Wikimedia Commons

This pregnant pony is carrying quite a load for being such a small horse. All horse breeds, ponies included, typically carry their foals for a gestation period that lasts around 11 months. For a pony or miniature horse, in particular, gestation lasts around 330 days.

Sadly, mini horses are more susceptible to miscarrying foals or may experience difficulties during delivery. Still, when a pony or mini horse successfully gives birth, the results are beautiful. The foal is weaned from their mothers between four to six months.

Zebra Moms Spend A Year Being Pregnant

pregnant-zebra
Arno Meintjes/Flickr

This zebra mare looks like her foal is about to pop out at any moment! Though they come from the same genus as horses, zebras will typically carry for a little over a year. Zebra foals are also capable of standing and walking almost immediately after they’re born. Unlike their parents, however, baby zebras are brown and white at birth.

Mare zebras will give birth to one foal at a time and can do so every twelve months. They stay with their babies for up to a year, during which time they protect them from predators.

Squirrels Only Have A Few Weeks To Prepare

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Dawn Scranton/Flickr

Hopefully this squirrel gathered enough food to keep her well nourished for the gift of motherhood she is about to receive! Squirrels don’t have much time to prepare since their gestation is pretty short at three to six weeks.

After that time, they will give birth to babies that are naked, toothless, and blind. Female squirrels tend to their babies entirely by themselves. After six to ten weeks, infant squirrels are weaned from their mothers but take an entire year to venture out on their own, at which point they can start making their own babies.

If you thought three weeks was fast, there’s another animal coming up that has their babies even faster than that.

Cats Can Get Pregnant Up To Three Times A Year

pregnant-cat
megatick/Flickr

This cat can probably relate to mothers who say they’re "tired of being pregnant" towards the end of their term. Cats probably feel that on a whole different level, considering they can have up to six kittens in one litter!

Cats will be pregnant for a little over two months, which also means that they can give birth up to three times a year. Their first litters will typically be smaller than any subsequent litters. Six to seven weeks after they’re born, kittens are weaned from their mothers but aren’t fully prepared to leave them until 12 weeks.

Macaques Are Attached To Their Offspring

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Sebastian Niedlich/Flickr

This toque macaque is a type of monkey found in Sri Lanka and she must be excited to give birth considering how tenderly she cradles her baby bump. This species of macaque will carry for around five to six months before giving birth to a single offspring.

Just like this mom holds onto her belly, her offspring will hold on to her for about two months after it arrives. Within this time frame, the baby macaque is taught necessary survival and social skills. Infant macaques’ social status is determined by their mother’s position in the troop.

Sheep Will Endure Labor For Up To Three Hours

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Carly & Art/Wikimedia Commons

Sheep are herd animals and as a result, a group of ewes will mate with a single ram. Ewes can start reproducing when they’re just six to eight months old and will indicate this to nearby rams by emitting a scent during their estrus cycle.

After a gestation for about five months, ewes can be in labor for up to three hours. Most sheep typically will have single or twin lambs, though some have been known to give birth to large litters. The lambs will stand within an hour of being born and start nursing.

Opposums Are Pregnant For Just Two Weeks

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National Park Service/Flickr

This expectant opossum is probably looking for a safe place to deliver the siblings of the little guy on her back. Because they’re marsupials, the joeys usually spend time in the mother’s pouch but will hang onto her back when being traveling to a safe place.

Opossum joeys are born at an early stage since the gestation period lasts for a mere 12 to 14 days! After being born, the joeys have to find their way to the pouch in order to nurse. Opossums usually have large litters but many do not survive when they fail to attach to their mother’s teat.

Coming up is another animal whose pregnancy drives it to pull out its own hair!

Pigs Need A Special Spot For Their Piglets

pregnant-pig
aarontberg/Flickr

A sow will carry for three to four months before it is ready to give birth to a litter of piglets. Wild hogs and domesticated pigs typically need to farrow, or give birth, in a dry, warm location. Domesticated pigs, for example, will have farrowing pens that are clean and filled with straw.

When it is ready to deliver, the sow will go to its pen and lie on its side. Piglets are born feet first and will come out in their own sacs. Piglets have trouble staying warm on their own, which is why the pen is necessary.

Elephants Are Pregnant For Two Years

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Paul Williams/Flickr

This pregnant elephant has a wide load and already has her maternal instincts down, taking care of another young calf. Elephants usually have a gestation period of two years, after which they typically bear one calf, though sometimes they can have twins.

Because calves spend so much time in utero, they can usually stand and walk from the moment they’re born. When a newborn calf arrives, all the adults and other young elephants in the herd will gather around and caress it with their trunks. It takes about a year for an elephant calf to fully develop.

Dogs Don’t Have To Wait That Long

pregnant-dog
Gopal Aggarwal/Wikimedia Commons

This dog is looking forward to the day she will get to meet her puppies. Dogs will be pregnant for around two to three months, depending on when exactly they become pregnant. Most people say that a dog will have half as many puppies as the number of teats she has, but the litter size varies depending on the size and age of the dog.

Typically, the average litter will have five to six puppies. If a dog has ten teats, that doesn’t necessarily mean she can provide a sufficient amount of nourishment for ten puppies at once.

Pregnancy Makes Ferrets Pull Their Hair Out

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cclecombe/Reddit

If you look real close, this ferret has a growing baby bump in the works! She doesn’t have to wait that long to meet her babies since the gestation of a ferret only lasts around six weeks. When a female ferret, also called a jill, is preparing to give birth, she will start pulling out her own fur in order to build a nest.

When a jill is finally in labor, it’s imperative that she be left alone. Experts say that if a ferret is bothered during labor, the agitation will lead her to kill and eat her own kits.