The gestation period is the most important period in any mammals life to increase their family. Because through this particular phase the mammals produce the litters of the next generation who will help to proliferate the family. There are animals with a very long gestation period and some animals have shorter gestation periods. As human beings, we are aware of the 9 months of the gestation period of human beings.
But little do we know that there are some animals who go through a gestation period that lasts for only a few days like least 12 days. Isn’t it surprisingly interesting? Yes, it is. So let’s know about some of these animals with the shortest gestation period in their lifespan.
Animals with The Shortest Gestation Period
Below is a list of the top 10 animals who have a very short gestation period.
1Virginia Opossum: 12 Days
The shortest gestation period in the list – A marsupial nocturnal and solitary animal Virginia opossum also known as North American opossum or possum is a prosperous opportunist which is almost like a domestic cat in size. Male’s penis, as well as the female’s reproductive system, is bifid.
Females give birth to 1-3 litters every year from December to October and these litters don’t leave their mother before 4/5 months. Also, they can have a lifespan of a maximum of 2 years in the wild and on the other hand, 4 years in captivity.
2Hamster: 18-21 Days
Another animal with a very short gestation period is the rodent Hamster which is popular as a small house pet. Female hamster has a very short reproductive life of only 18 months whereas male hamster’s fertility lasts for a long time. Before they gain their sexual maturity, it is almost impossible to determine their sex.
When a female hamster feels that a male is near to her, she will be in estrus for about every 4 days. This process refers to a change in her genital area including some smell and vocalization emitted by her.
3Meadow/Mouse: 21 Days
Having enlarged hind foot, the meadow looks like a Kangaroo rat although it isn’t a kangaroo rat at all. It has a short pelage with some color variations and 4 mammary glands. They give birth to litters in both late summer and spring.
They start mating after both male and female emerges from hibernation and only 2 weeks posterior to emergence, the females become pregnant and their gestation period gets started.
4Rat: 21-23 Days
Amidst all rodents, the Rat is another animal that has a short gestation period. It is medium in size and has a long tail. They gain their sexual maturity at the age of six and can have a lifespan of one year but in some cases more than that if they don’t get attacked by predators.
These working Rats can detect the odor and spread disease. They are called pest and an invasive species. they have shown intelligence as they are able to learn how to measure.
5Gerbils: 25 Days
Previously known as desert rats, the Gerbil is a diurnal and omnivorous mammal who are likely to be related to rat and mice. When a male gerbil gets allowed by female gerbils to get hold of her, they then start mating and this mating often lasts for several hours.
Their gestation period lasts for about 25 days only and for which they have made a place in the list of animals that have the shortest gestation period in the entire animal kingdom.
6Wombat: 26-28 Days
A mammal Wombat is a four-footed, muscly animal which has short feet. It is an adaptable marsupial animal which has a tiny, stumpy tail. This nocturnal and herbivorous animal give birth to their single offspring in spring and this offspring stay in their pouches for about 6-7 months since their birth and then they leave it.
Besides, they get accustomed to food after 15 months and attain sexual maturity not before at the age of 18 months.
7Muskrat: 28-30 Days
A semi-aquatic rodent animal Muskrat is medium in size and has great importance to human beings as a mean of fur and food. In addition to this, wetlands ecology gets greatly affected by this animal. Female Muskrats give birth to tiny glabrate 2/3 litters in a year. They are undoubtedly prolific breeders.
It is important to note that, they are considered to be a very important animal by native Americans and a food source for the North Americans. This gregarious animal helps the aquatic birds to get habitat.
8Rabbit (Domestic): 28-35 Days
Rabbit/pet rabbit/bunny/bunny rabbit, whatever you call it has a very short gestation period of about 28-35 days. Young, female and male rabbits are called kit/kitten, doe and buck respectively. They are also prolific breeders like muskrats.
Bucks or males usually take more time to become sexually mature. Females produce milk for their young children which has a richness of fat. The milk is produced for 4 months after giving birth to the children and helps them to grow.
9Squirrel (Gray): 30-40 Days
Squirrel is another one of the top 10 animals with the shortest gestation period that lasts about 30 to 40 days. Squirrel is a medium-sized rodent that has a slender body, soft and shiny fur, big eyes and a bushy tail. This herbivorous animal could be found in almost all habitats except dry deserts and high polar areas.
They can be both social and solitary, male and female squirrel mate and give birth to altricial bare-bodied children who are not only toothless but also has no eyesight. Again, they become sexually mature at the end of the first year of their lifespan.
10Chipmunk: 31 Days
A barred rodent chipmunk is an omnivorous animal. They mate in both early summer and spring and produce 4/5 young twice in every year. The young become independent in 8 months right after their birth. 3 years of lifespan is observed in them but sometimes in captivity, they can live up to 9 years long.
In the list of animals with the shortest gestation period, chipmunk holds the position ten having a pregnancy of 31 days. Surprisingly they sleep in hiding for 15 hours in a day.
The term gestation period refers to the time that starts with the conception and lasts until the birth of the child. Almost all mammals give birth to children and go through this important phase in their life. It is undoubtedly the most significant period in any mammals life. The short gestation period is something that astonishes us with the fact that how a new child is born in only a few days?
But during this short pregnancy, some newborns are undeveloped and they get properly developed after a few days of their delivery, whereas some of them are born with proper development. Again, some mammal parents keep their litters to themselves after their birth and don’t let them go anywhere else. They let them live freely when the litters become capable enough to live independently. And