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For mammals the gestation period is the time in which a fetus develops, beginning with fertilization and ending at the embryo stage. The duration of this period varies between species.


For most species, the amount a fetus grows before birth determines the length of the gestation period. Smaller species normally have a shorter gestation period than larger animals. For example, a cat's gestation normally takes 58–65 days while an elephant's gestation takes 645 days. However, growth does not necessarily determine the length of gestation for all species, especially for those with a breeding season. Species that use a breeding season usually give birth during a specific time of year when food is available.

Various other factors can come into play in determining the duration of gestation. For humans, males normally gestate several days longer than females and multiple pregnancies gestate for a shorter period. Ethnicity may also lengthen or shorten gestation. Some events, such as preterm birth, can greatly shorten the length of gestation.

Gestation periods

Animal Gestation period (days)
baboon 187
bear (black) 210
bear (grizzly) 225
bear (polar) 240
beaver 122
buffalo (Americanmarker) 270
camel (Bactrian) ~410
cat (domestic) 58–65
chimpanzee 230–250
chinchilla 110–120
chipmunk 31
cow 279–292
deer (white-tailed) 201
dog (domestic) 58–70
donkey 365
elephant (Asian) 645
elk (Wapiti) 240–250
fox (red) 52
giraffe 420–450
goat (domestic) 145–155
gorilla 257
guinea pig 68
hippopotamus 225–250
horse 330–342
human 254-294
kangaroo 42
leopard 92–95
lion 108
llama 330
mink 40–75
monkey (rhesus) 164
moose 240–250
mouse (domestic white) 19
mouse (meadow) 21
muskrat 28–30
opossum (Americanmarker) 12–13
otter 270–300
pig (domestic) 112–115
porcupine 112
puma 90
rabbit (domestic) 30–35
raccoon 63
rhinoceros (black) 450
seal 330
sea lion (Californiamarker) 350
sheep (domestic) 144–151
squirrel (gray) 30–40
tiger 105–113
whale (sperm) 480–500
wolf 60–68
wombat 26–28
zebra (Grant's) 365
chicken 20–22
duck 26–28
finch 11–14
goose 25–28
ostrich 35-45
parrot 17–31
pheasant 24
pigeon 10–18
quail 21–23
swan 33–36
turkeymarker 28

See also



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