Back to Basics- Babies!
As we continue our back to basics month, we are talking about reproduction today! All animals have offspring, but how they have babies is very different! We are going to learn those different ways!
Viviparous: when an animal gives live birth. Animals that give live birth include, mammals, some fish and insects (ex- scorpions), some reptiles and amphibians. There are two mammals who lay eggs- the platypus & the echidna. Marsupials also are viviparous, they give live birth to underdeveloped babies who grow in the mother’s pouch.
Oviparous: when an animal lays an egg that the offspring hatches from. Animals that lay eggs include birds, fish, our two mammal friends, reptiles, insects and most amphibians. Eggs are laid externally . Some sharks and ray lay eggs called mermaids purses.
Ovoviparous: when an animal’s offspring develop inside an egg, that is incubated inside the mother’s body. It then gives live birth. Animals that give birth this way include fish (some sharks- like the great white), some fish, some insects and some snakes. The most famous ovoviparous animal is actually not a female, it’s the male seahorse. Male seahorses incubate the eggs and then give birth to live young! Some ovoviparous animals, can store sperm and incubate their eggs months later.
Some fun reproduction facts:
- Elephants have the longest gestation period of any animal- 22 months.
- Many insects die not long after giving birth or mating.
- Female giant pacific octopus protect their eggs over the 6-7 months they are incubating. During this time the octopus doesn’t eat or leave her eggs. She dies soon after her babies are hatched.
- Female alligators and crocodiles are one of the few reptiles that protect their nests and offspring after they hatch.
- Male anglerfish attach to the much larger female and absorb in to her.
- Suriname toads incubate their eggs on their backs. Tiny little frogs explode out of the skin on her back.
The animal world is full of some crazy mating stories and even more crazy birth stories! It just makes each animal that much more awesome!