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Friday, March 16, 2012

animals and their young

Animals and Their Young: How Animals Produce and Care for Their Babies

Bringing up baby in the animal kingdom takes many forms, from the sea turtles ,who’ve barely hatched their way into a hostile world before they’re engaged in a race for their lives to the sea, to our fellow primates, who keep close ties with their parents right through adolescence.
There are no bad parents in the animal kingdom, according to naturalist Janine Benyus “Beastly Behaviors…. but some aren’t exactly candidates for parent of the year, either.


Elephant calf
  • After a twenty-two-month pregnancy, the female elephant will give birth to a calf that weighs about 113 kg (250 lb) and stand over 76 cm (2.5 ft) tall.
  • Elephants have a very long childhood, with fewer survival instincts than many other animals.
  • The baby is born nearly blind and at first relies, almost completely, on its trunk to discover the world around it.
  • After the initial excitement, the mother will usually select several full-time baby-sitters, or “allomothers”, from her group.
  • These allomothers will help in all aspects of raising the calf. They walk with the young as the herd travels, helping the calves along if they fall or get stuck in the mud.


Loin Cub
  • The average gestation period is around 110 days.
  • The female gives birth to a litter of one to four cubs in a secluded den, usually away from the rest of the pride.
  • The den which is selected to give birth will be be .
  • The mother does not integrate herself and her cubs back into the pride until the cubs are six to eight weeks old.
  • The cubs themselves are born blind—their eyes do not open until roughly a week after birth. They weigh 1.2–2.1 kg (2.6–4.6 lb) at birth and are almost helpless, beginning to crawl a day or two after birth and walking around three weeks of age.
  • Weaning occurs after six to seven months. In the wild, competition for food is fierce, and as many as 80 percent of the cubs will die before the age of two.


Rhinoceros calf
  • Rhinos always have a single calf, born after a gestation period of 15 to 18 months.
  • The calf may feed on its mother’s milk for up to two years, and it usually remains with its mother until she is about to give birth once more.
  • While the female is nursing, the bond formed with her calf is a strong one, and the two animals are rarely far apart.
  • A rhino’s early years are normally the only time when it is at risk to natural predators.
  • In Africa, black rhinos have been known to kill lions when defending their young, and in Asia, female Indian rhinos guarding their young are responsible for the deaths of several people each year.


Tiger And cub
  • The gestation period is 16 weeks and 3–4 cubs of about 1 kg (2 lb) each are born.
  • The females rear them alone. Wandering male tigers may kill cubs to make the female receptive.
  • At 8 weeks, the cubs are ready to follow their mother out of the den.
  • The cubs become independent around 18 months of age, but it is not until they are around 2–2½ years old that they leave their mother.
  • The cubs reach sexual maturity by 3–4 years of age.
  • Over the course of her life, a female tiger will give birth to an approximately equal number of male and female cubs.


Snow leopard cub
  • The gestation period of snow leopard is 14-15 weeksand 1-5 cubs are born in a den lined with fur.
  • The female will use the same den site year after year. They open their eyes after nine days, and are weaned at 2 months.
  • They eat their first solid food after two months and follow their mother around at 3 months.
  • Cubs hunt with their mother at their first winter.
  • After about 18 months cubs leave their mother to live alone.


Cheetah Cubs
  • The female cheetah gestation period is 90 to 95 days, after which she will give birth to a litter of up to 6 cubs.
  • She will find a quiet, hidden spot in the tall grass, under a low tree, in thick underbrush, or in a clump of rock.
  • Cheetah cubs weigh between 9 to 15 ounces when born.
  • Although cheetah cubs are blind and completely helpless at birth, they develop rapidly.
  • At 4 to 10 days of age, their eyes open, and they begin to crawl around the nest area; at 3 weeks their teeth break through their gums.
  • The cubs begin to follow their mother at 6 weeks old, and begin to eat meat from her kills.


Bear cub
  • The bear’s courtship period is very brief. Bears in northern climates reproduce seasonally, usually after a period of inactivity similar to hibernation, although tropical species breed all year round.
  • Cubs are born toothless, blind, and bald.
  • The cubs of brown bears, usually born in litters of 1–3, will typically stay with the mother for two full seasons.
  • They feed on their mother’s milk through the duration of their relationship with their mother.
  • They will remain with the mother for approximately three years, until she enters the next cycle of estrus and drives the cubs off.


Panda Cub
  • The whole gestation period ranges from 95 to 160 days.Usually, the female panda gives birth to one or two panda cubs.
  • Baby pandas weigh only 90 to 130 grams (3.2 to 4.6 ounces), which is about 1/900 of the mother’s weight.
  • Since baby pandas are born very small and helpless, they need the mother’s undivided attention, so she is able to care for only one of her cubs.
  • She usually abandons one of her cubs, and it dies soon after birth. At this time, scientists do not know how the female chooses which cub to raise, and this is a topic of ongoing research.
  • The cub begins to crawl at 75 to 90 days. Mothers play with their cubs by rolling and wrestling with them.
  • The cubs are able to eat small quantities of bamboo after six months, though mother’s milk remains the primary food source for most of the first year.
  • Giant panda cubs weigh 45 kg (99.2 pounds) at one year, and live with their mothers until they are 18 months to two years old.

Polar bear-cub:

Polar Bear Cub
  • Cubs of polar bear are born blind and are covered with a light down fur, and weighing less than 0.9 kg (2 lb).
  • On average, each litter has two cubs. At that time the whole family stays in the den made by them and the mother maintains her fast while nursing her cubs on a fat-rich milk.
  • The mother breaks the entrance to the den when her cubs weigh about 10 to 15 kg (25 to 30 lb).
  • For about 12 to 15 days, the family spends time outside the den while remaining in its vicinity, the mother grazing on vegetation while the cubs become used to walking and playing.
  • Female polar bears are noted for both their affection towards their offspring, and their valiance in protecting them.


Fox And Kit
  • The fox will reach sexual maturity after 10 months.
  • Breeding occurs between December and February.
  • Gestation takes 52-53 days.
  • The red fox has 4-5 cubs once a year in spring.
  • Cubs are born naked, blind and helpless.
  • Usually only 2-3 cubs survive.


Jackal Pup
  • Jackals have one mate for life, mating occurs once a year, anytime of the year.
  • The parents will build a den for the babies which are born after a gestation period of sixty days.
  • A litter usually has two to six babies that weight less than a pound, they grow quickly and within three weeks they are able to leave the den.
  • When they reach three months of age they start to learn how to hunt and by six months they are efficient hunters and by a year old they are able to go off on their own.
  • Occasionally one or two may stay with their parents to help raise their younger siblings.


Gorilla Infant
  • Gestation is 8½ months.
  • There are typically 3 to 4 years between births.
  • Infants stay with their mothers for 3–4 years.
  • Females mature at 10–12 years (earlier in captivity); males at 11–13 years.
  • Lifespan is between 30–50 years. The Dallas Zoo’s Jenny is still alive at age 55.

Squirrel monkey-infant:

Squirrel Monkey
  • The gestation is about 147 days.
  • Most of the births take place at night. Labour takes about 88 to 165 minutes. The baby will cling to the back of the mother from birth.
  • They always give birth of 1 baby.
  • The weight of the infant is approximately 112g for males and 106g for females.
  • The infants are completely weaned after a period of 5 to 6 months.


Camel Calf
  • The female camel bears one calf at a time, about 13 months after breeding.
  • The newborn calf stands about 3 feet (1 meter) high on long and thin legs.
  • It will be so weak and wobbly that it can scarcely walk.
  • A day after birth, however, it can follow its mother to pasture.
  • If the mother has to go with a caravan, the helpless calf is put into a hammock and carried on one side of a big freight camel.


Horse Foal
  • Pregnancy of horse lasts for approximately 335-340 days and usually results in one foal. Twins are rare. Colts are carried on average about 4 days longer than fillies.
  • Horses, particularly colts, may sometimes be physically capable of reproduction at approximately 18 months but in practice are rarely allowed to breed until a minimum age of 3 years, especially females.
  • Horses four years old are considered mature, though the skeleton usually finishes developing at the age of six, and the precise time of completion of development also depends on the horse’s size (therefore a connection to breed exists), gender, and the quality of care provided by its owner.
  • Depending on maturity, breed and the tasks expected, young horses are usually put under saddle and trained to be ridden between the ages of two and four.
  • Thoroughbred race horses are put on the track at as young as two years old in some countries, horses specifically bred for sports such as dressage are generally not entered into top-level competition until a minimum age of four years old.
  • As their bones and muscles are not solidly developed, nor is their advanced training complete. For endurance riding competition, horses may not compete until they are a full 60 calendar months (5 years) old.


Giraffe Baby
  • Giraffe gestation lasts between 14 and 15 months, after which a single calf is born.
  • Newborn giraffes are about 1.8 m (6 ft) tall. Within a few hours of being born, calves can run around and are indistinguishable from a week-old calf.
  • For the first two weeks, they spend most of their time lying down, guarded by the mother.
  • The young can fall prey to lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, and wild dogs. It has been speculated that their characteristic spotted pattern provides a certain degree of camouflage.
  • Only 25 to 50% of giraffe calves reach adulthood; the life expectancy is between 20 and 25 years in the wild and 28 years in captivity (Encyclopedia of Animals).


Deer Fawn
  • A deer generally has one or two fawns at a time (triplets, while not unknown, are uncommon). The gestation period is anywhere up to ten months.
  • Most fawns are born with their fur covered with white spots, though they lose their spots once they get older (excluding the Fallow Deer who keeps its spots for life).
  • In the first twenty minutes of a fawn’s life, the fawn begins to take its first steps. Its mother licks it clean until it is almost free of scent, so predators will not find it.
  • Its mother leaves often, and the fawn does not like to be left behind. Sometimes its mother must gently push it down with her foot.
  • The fawn stays hidden in the grass for one week until it is strong enough to walk with its mother. The fawn and its mother stay together for about one year.
  • A male usually never sees his mother again, but females sometimes come back with their own fawns and form small herds.


Zebra Foal
  • Like most animal species, female zebras mature earlier than the males and a mare may have her first foal by the age of three.
  • Females may give birth to one foal every twelve months. She nurses the foal for up to a year.
  • Like horses, zebras are able to stand, walk and suckle shortly after they’re born. A zebra foal is brown and white instead of black and white at birth.
  • Plains and Mountain zebra foals are protected by their mother as well as the head stallion and the other mares in their group.
  • Grevy’s zebra foals have only their mother as a regular protector since, as noted above, Grevy’s zebra groups often disband after a few months.


Kangaroo Joey
  • Kangaroos have developed a number of adaptations to a dry, infertile continent and highly variable climate.
  • As with all marsupials, the young are born at a very early stage of development – after a gestation of 31–36 days.
  • At this stage, only the forelimbs are somewhat developed, to allow the newborn to climb to the pouch and attach to a teat.
  • When the Joey is born, it is about the size of a lima bean.
  • The Joey will usually stay in the pouch for about nine months (180–320 days for the Western Grey) before starting to leave the pouch for small periods of time.
  • Joey is usually fed by its mother until reaching 18 months.


Meerkat Pup
  • The gestational period is 70 days resulting in a litter of usually five to six.
  • The pregnant female will increase her body weigh approximately 40% gestation (see – Meerkats are a type of mongoose).
  • The babies, called pups, are born with sparse fur and eyes closed.
  • For the first two weeks they stay in the sleeping chamber and drink their mothers or milk producing females. The third week they will venture outside and stay around the burrow system with a babysitter.
  • From week 4 to week 6 the pups will forage with their elders getting nourishment from both milk and insects.
  • At 6 weeks to 16 weeks they will find their own food as well as be supplemented by the elders, and no longer getting milk.
  • After sixteen weeks they are on there own to find there food Each pup will be taken on by a adult Meerkat which will act as a mentor, who will take the responsibility to teach the pup necessary skills for foraging for food as well as responding to danger.
  • Male Meerkats tend to mentor male pups and female Meerkats tend to mentor the female pups.
  • Many of skills Meerkats have are taught by the mentors rather then being instinctual.

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