The killer whale, 15 to 18 months
The orca lives in matriarchal societies.
Females reach sexual maturity at around 10 years old and are at their peak of fertility at around 20 years old.
Males can mate from the age of 15 but generally wait until at least the age of 21.
Knowing that their life expectancy in the wild is around 29 years, they have only a short time to have offspring, especially since the ovulation of females can be spaced from 3 to 16 months apart.
Gestation lasts on average between 15 and 18 months, and the young are born all year round, with a peak in winter.
Killer whales give birth underwater, and are sometimes assisted by another female.
Despite his height of 2.6 m and his weight of 136 to 181 kg at birth, the little one is very vulnerable.
The elephant, 20 to 22 months
Male elephants start breeding long after reaching sexual maturity;
they are able to mate at around 10 to 15 years old but usually wait until they are 30 years old.
Females are ready at around 9 to 15 years old.
Males in heat secrete a pheromone that attracts fertile females.
For three days, several copulations of only 20 to 30 seconds take place.
The elephant's gestation is the longest of all land mammals: it lasts between 20 and 22 months, or almost two years.
From birth, the baby elephant, weighing between 90 and 120 kg on average depending on the species, is active and stands up to develop its muscles, having to be reactive in the event of a predator attack.
He can suckle his mother until he is 5 years old and lives in the matriarchal horde until he is 10 years old if he is a male;
the females remain within the group all their life.
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The lizard shark, 42 months old
The lizard shark generally lives in the great depths of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, down to -1570 m, and is therefore only rarely observed.
Like the manta ray or the thresher shark, this species is ovoviviparous: the embryos come out of their eggs inside their mother's uterus, and are brought to term by consuming the yolk produced by her.
Although few pregnancies have been studied, we know that lizard shark litters have 2 to 15 young.
When the embryos reach 6 to 8 cm in length, the capsules which contain them are expelled by the female;
the little ones, which have not finished their development, already have perfectly functional gills.
They grow only 1.4 cm per month, the intense cold of the depths slowing down metabolic processes,
and measure on average 50 cm at birth;
their slow growth explains this incredible gestation period of three and a half years.
The little ones come into the world being able to fend for themselves, and leave to live their life immediately.
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