US

The most extreme births in the animal kingdom

Our mums aren’t the only ones on this earth who went through pain to bring us into this world. Several animals go to the extreme to give birth to their little ones. Here is why mothers on this earth deserve more than a thank you. Following is a transcript of the video.

Imagine giving birth to a 24 pound baby. That’s 3 times the size of the average human newborn. Ouch!

But for kiwi birds, giant chicks are the norm. Females lay a single egg up to 20% of their body weight. Yet, when you check out other extreme births in the animal kingdom the kiwi can consider itself lucky.

Shingleback lizards also have a tough pregnancy. These reptiles usually have 1-2 babies at a time, which doesn’t sound so bad until you realise that combined, the babies make up a third of the mother’s body weight. That’s like a human giving birth to a 7 year old.

But a baby doesn’t need to be big to be difficult. Take the porcupine. Those sharp spines protect it from predators. But they’re sometimes not so fun for mum.

You see, baby porcupines, called porcupettes, aren’t hairless like most rodent newborns. These guys are born fully quilled. Normally, this isn’t a problem for mum since the quills are soft at birth and gradually harden over the next few hours. But complications can arise when the porcupettes are facing the wrong direction because their quills can get caught in the birth canal on the way out.

Speaking of birth canals, the spotted hyena has an interesting one. Females have phallic-like genitalia. The scientific term for it is pseuodpenis. And they give birth out of this pseudopenis which will sometimes rip apart in the process. It’s not only painful. It can be lethal. In fact, about 15% of first-time mothers die giving birth.

But believe it or not, a species of velvet spider has it even worse.

You know how some animals chew up food for their babies? Well, Stegodyphus lineatus takes this to a whole new level. Right after she lays an egg sac, the mother’s tissues start to degrade. Once the spiderlings hatch, she regurgitates her own liquefied inside and the babies chow down. 9 days later, they suck up the last of her fluids, and strike out on their own leaving nothing but an empty husk. Thanks, mum.

But childbirth isn’t just dangerous or uncomfortable for mothers. With some animals, the baby has it pretty rough. Take the Tasmanian devil. The mum gives birth to up to 50 joeys at a time, each the size of a raisin. They have to crawl from the birth canal, over her body, and into her pouch, where they will snuggle up for another 4 months.

But there’s a catch. Mum only has 4 nipples in her pouch. So right from birth, the joeys are literally on a mad dash for their lives. And only the strongest four will make it. Talk about sibling rivalry, huh?

Overall, one thing’s clear, humans aren’t the only one who has it rough when it comes to giving birth. What’s the craziest animal fact you know? Tell us in the comments. And thanks for watching.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.