How Long is an Elephant Pregnant?

Posted by Crystal Long
Elephant and calf walk through the grasslands.

As the largest land animal, it only makes sense that elephants do everything jumbo-sized -- That includes elephant pregnancies! 

We love all baby animals, and that of course includes baby elephants. Elephants are quite special indeed: other than being the world's largest land mammals, especially the African elephant, these gentle giants are also highly intelligent. In fact, elephant calves (like cows, a baby elephant is called a calf) are born with advanced brain development, giving them enough brainpower to survive from birth.

Fun fact: when there is an elephant birth, others in the herd form a protective circle around the mama female elephant during delivery. (Oh my goodness! How sweet is that?!)

In order to give the elephant calf enough time to develop in the womb, elephants have the longest gestation period of all mammals. Of course, it's important to note that the different species of elephants have slightly different gestation periods, although it's still a very large number!

How Long is an Elephant Pregnant For?

These jumbo-sized mammals in the animal kingdom have the longest gestation period; the average gestation period of an elephant is about 640 to 660 days, or about 18 to 22 months -- that's a year and a half to two years! Talk about a long pregnancy!

There are two species of elephant in the world: the Asian Elephant and the African Elephant. Asian Elephants are typically pregnant for 18 to 22 months; African Elephants, such as the African Bush Elephant, have a really long gestation period of 22 months.

One thing we know is that elephants spend a lot of their time being pregnant! While elephants have a lifespan of 60 to 70 years, female elephants can only give birth every four to five years and usually have about four to five elephant calves throughout their lifetime. Given the sparsity of elephant pregnancies, that might be a reason why male elephants will fight over a potential mate in the wild.

Have you witnessed an elephant birth before? Share your story on the Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

READ MORE: 10 Exotic Pets and Where They Are Legal to Own

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How Long is an Elephant Pregnant?