Which species is known for having the longest pregnancies in the animal kingdom?

And the answer: elephants.    
Photo credit: public domain. 

Elephant moms go through the longest pregnancies in all of the animal kingdom, with gestation lasting anywhere from 18-22 months. That’s nearly two years of pregnancy! Baby elephants enter the world with impressively developed brains, thanks to their lengthy stays in the womb.

After a very long 18-22 months, elephant mothers will deliver a cuddly, 200-something-pound calf. These massive babies can't see very well when they’re born, but much like human babies they are able to recognize their mothers by touch, scent, and sound. Immediately, the pair begins to form an intimate and emotional bond that will last for the next sixteen years—if not longer.

Today marks annual World Elephant Day—a day to celebrate the world’s largest (and perhaps cutest) land animal. Elephants have long been recognized and celebrated in cultures across the globe as intelligent and social beings that thrive with strong familial bonds. Elephants have walked the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, the rain forests of Central and West Africa, and the Sahel desert in Mali for millenia, and thus have evolved to possess great resourcefulness and resilience as a species.

Fun fact!

Elephants’ brains can weigh as much as 10 pounds! Interestingly, elephant brain size actually co-evolved with their body size. Today, these creatures can use their intelligence to perform actions such as painting or other tricks.

Learn more about these impressive creatures here.


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