Elephant pregnancy is the longest in the animal kingdom. It lasts from 18 to 22 months (variations up to 25 months are possible), although the fetus is already fully developed by 19 months, and then it only increases in size. Such a long gestation period is due to the poorly understood hormonal mechanism of elephants, which has not previously been observed in any animal species. But nothing indicates the pregnancy of the female (practically, outwardly, nothing changes).
There is a misconception that the duration of pregnancy depends directly on the sex of the baby, but this has not yet been scientifically proven. At the moment, a test has been developed that allows you to predict the sex of the embryo in an elephant. To do this, use the mother's blood serum, which measures the testosterone level in the developing fetus. However, none of the sex determination systems are reliable, as there is not enough data to make this possible.
It is interesting to know that, unlike other animals, female elephants give birth while standing (at birth, a small baby elephant falls from a height of one meter).
Research results show that newborn elephants already have a sufficiently developed brain so that the baby is able to survive on its own after birth. In 30 - 40 minutes after birth, the baby elephant is already mobile (newborns quickly gain strength and rise to their feet). Some within a few weeks begin to tirelessly explore the surroundings, others are not one step behind their mothers. The care of the baby by the elephant lasts several years, as a rule, the females relate to the small generation with patience and tenderness.
The female gives birth to 1 developed cub, twins are extremely rare. The weight of a newborn baby elephant is 90-120 kg (due to the too large weight of the female elephant, her baby can be very large).
At six months, the elephants no longer resemble a newborn at all. The clear forms and proportions of the elephant appear.
Elephants have not only the longest gestation period, but also the longest interval between births of babies (about 5 years). The entire reproductive system of these animals is very unhurried.