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12 animals with the longest gestation period

By: Bryan Nelson on April 28, 2010, 1:22 p.m.
A young giraffe and its parent

Photo: Shchipkova Elena/Shutterstock

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Giraffes have gestation periods anywhere from 400 to 460 days. Despite being the tallest land animal in the world, the mother gives birth standing up — so the baby needs to be big enough to brace for a long fall. (Interestingly, the fall is typically what bursts the embryonic sack.) With lions and other predators abound, the world is a dangerous place for baby giraffes when they first come into the world — part of the reason for the long delay.