The Longest Gestation Periods in the Animal Kingdom 

Eric Luis
Updated May 10, 2018 1.8k views 42 items

Motherhood is a challenge, no matter what species you are. Mammals have it a little harder than other animals though, as most give birth to live young. That means that the infants must gestate in their mother's wombs until they are ready to emerge. While birth and pregnancy are mostly mammalian practices, a few scant species of amphibians and sharks also gestate. The typical human gestation period is roughly nine months, and that certainly seems like an ordeal. But some animal moms carry their young for a much, much longer time. These dedicated mothers sometimes spend years growing their offspring before their babies are finally ready to emerge into the world. 

The animals with the longest gestation periods are typically quite large, with elephants, rhinos, and massive ocean creatures often carrying offspring for lengthy periods. However, that's not always the case. There are many factors that play into gestation length, and scientists are still working to uncover some of the miracles of childbirth in the wild. Extended animal pregnancies can often be risky, but these mothers still do what it takes to give their babies the best life imaginable. Below are the animals that are pregnant longer or as long as humans! 

Frilled Shark - 1,277 Days (42 Months)
Frilled Shark - 1,277 Da... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Longest Gestation Periods in the Animal Kingdom
Photo: Citron / CC-BY-SA-3.0/Wikimedia Commons


Alpine Salamander - 1,095 Days (36 Months)
Alpine Salamander is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Longest Gestation Periods in the Animal Kingdom
Photo: Thomas Huntke/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0 DE