8 Strangest Ways That Animals Give Birth

Discover the strange ways that some animals give birth and how this can benefit their babies.

Jun 7, 2023By Donna Hobson
strangest ways animals give birth

Animals give birth in a variety of strange and fascinating ways. From the frog that gives birth through its skin to the fish that gives birth through its mouth, animals have evolved to find some truly bizarre ways of bringing their young into the world.

In this article, we'll explore some of the most unusual methods animals use to give birth and how these strategies have enabled them to survive in their respective environments.


giraffe and baby
Image Source: Five things you probably didn't know about Giraffe births (monartosafari.com.au)

Giraffes are known for black tongues, long necks, and gentle personalities, but did you know they also have a strange way of giving birth? Unlike most mammals, giraffes give birth standing up. This means the calf drops around 6 feet to the ground when it is ready to be born. This helps break the umbilical cord and can sometimes even shock the calf into taking its first breath. Another reason giraffes give birth standing up is so they don't damage the neck of their newly born calf.

Giraffes are pregnant for around 15 months, allowing the calf to walk and move by itself. Newborns may look tiny, but they are about six feet tall at birth! During the first week of their lives, they can grow up to 2.5 cm per day, and they will double in size by the time they reach the age of one.

Suriname Toads

suriname toad giving birth
Image Source: A toad gives birth by the back! - WILD ZAPPING - YouTube

If you're trypophobic, look away now because the Suriname toad gives birth through holes in the skin of her back!

Suriname toads have a unique way of giving birth, unlike any other species. During coitus, both frogs perform acrobatic-like feats as they complete amplexus. The male fertilizes the eggs and then places them on the female's back, where her skin grows over the top of them. Once the babies are ready to be born, they push their way out of the skin, emerging from their mother's back. This unorthodox method of giving birth is one of nature's most fascinating phenomena, and scientists have studied it for many years.

Duck-Billed Platypus

duck billed platypus giving birth eggs
Image Source: Great Mom Platypuses Laying Eggs and Cute Platypuses Moments - YouTube

The duck-billed platypus is one of the five mammals in the world that lay eggs and has a unique way of giving birth. The mother platypus lays its eggs in a burrow and incubates them for about ten days before hatching. At hatching, the baby platypuses have an egg tooth that helps them break out from their shells. This egg tooth then falls off once they are free from their shells. The mother will care for her young until they can go out independently.

Interestingly, the duck-billed platypus is one of only a few mammals that secretes venom; they have venomous spurs on each leg that can eject this toxin with a single kick.


seahorse giving birth
Image Source: Amazing Male Seahorse Giving Birth To Thousands Of Babies Underwater - YouTube

Seahorses are one of the most unique creatures in the ocean because they have a strange way of giving birth. Unlike other animals, the male seahorse is responsible for giving birth. The female will lay her eggs in the male's brood pouch, remaining there until they hatch. The male then gives birth to up to 1000 seahorses at a time! This impressive feat has fascinated scientists and marine biologists for years. It's truly remarkable how such a small creature can simultaneously give birth to so many babies!

Unlike other pouch-born creatures -or marsupials - seahorses must fend for themselves as soon as they're born, though they do cling to each other with their tails, which is pretty cute.

Spotted Hyena

spotted hyena giving birth
Image Source: Hyena Birth – Moment of Magic - Africa Geographic

The spotted hyena is an animal that has long fascinated scientists with its unique way of giving birth. Unlike other animals, the spotted hyena gives birth through its clitoris, which acts as a pseudo penis. This organ is only one inch wide and poses a severe risk of suffocating the baby during delivery. In this article, we will explore the strange way spotted hyenas give birth and how it affects their survival in the wild.

During reproduction, a female hyena inverts this penis-like structure so that a male may insert his appendage. Because of this tricky birth, 60% of first cubs sadly die, while 15% of female hyenas lose their lives during the birth of their first child.


cichlid giving birth from mouth
Image Source: Mouthbrooding Fish - Curious Creatures - YouTube

Cichlids are a strange species of fish known for their unique way of giving birth. Instead of laying eggs in the water like most other fish, cichlids engage in a "mouth brooding" process. In this process, the male cichlid will take the fertilized eggs into its mouth; the female then reabsorbs the babies into her own mouth until they are ready to hatch. This strange behavior has been observed in many species of cichlids and is thought to be an adaptation that increases the chance of survival for their offspring.

Spider Wasp

wasp attacking spider
Image Source: Huntsman spiders – Everything you need to know! - PestXpert

Spider wasps have a unique and strange way of giving birth. They hunt and paralyze the huntsman spider and then lay eggs in its stomach. Once she has paralyzed her prey, the female huntsman will lay her eggs in its stomach and leave the spider to be devoured by her offspring when they hatch. This is an unusual way of giving birth and serves as nutrition for the larvae as they feed on their host before emerging as adults.

Spider wasps possess a painful sting but are unlikely to attack humans unless they're provoked.


Image Source: Flatworm-inspired medical adhesives stop blood loss - McGill University

Flatworms have several ways of reproducing, one of which is pretty strange! Rather than laying eggs, some species of flatworms can reproduce by splitting off a piece of their own body, which then grows into a second worm.

Most flatworms are hermaphroditic, which means they can mate with any other flatworm as long as they are of the same species.

Donna Hobson
By Donna Hobson

Donna believes that keeping a pet is the key to a happy life. Over the years, many creatures have passed through her home - Sooty the cat, Millie the rabbit, Stuart (Little) the guinea pig, and Trixie the tortoise, alongside her pet goldfish, Zippy, who lived to the grand old age of 24 years! She currently resides with her black kitten Jinx and an aquarium full of fish and snails to entrance them both. When she is not looking after her pets, Donna enjoys researching and writing the answers to all your pet-related wonders.