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Which Animal Has the Shortest Gestation?

The opossum has the shortest gestation period of just 12 to 13 days. Human gestation takes about 280 days, for comparison. In humans, males often require a longer gestation period of a few days than females.

More Reproduction Facts:

  • Elephants have the longest gestation periods: 616 to 645 days.

  • In a human, a baby born in less than 37 weeks — 3 fewer weeks than the average 40 — is considered premature. Five of every 100 human babies is over due, or taking more than 42 weeks to come out.

  • Doctors give women an estimated due date when they get pregnant. Only 4% of women actually give birth on that day.
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