Big Animal Babies!

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Hippo mother and babyPhoto: Tambako the JaguarHippo mother and calf taking a well deserved nap in the sand, side by side

Would you call a 100 kg heavy, 6 ft tall creature a baby? Probably not but fact is, some animal babies are simply huge!

Baby elephants, for example, weigh in at 115 kg (250 lb) at birth and already stand 1 m (3 ft) tall. Though physically taller than most other animal babies, they are dependent on their mothers for the first two or three years, the time baby elephants nurse for (human moms, can you imagine?). Female elephants reach full maturity at 9 years of age and males at 15.

Mother and baby elephantPhoto: John Storr

Quite big but tiny compared to its mother:

After the elephant, the hippopotamus is the second largest land animal on Earth. Baby hippos weigh between 25 and 45 kg (60–110 lb) and have an average length of around 127 cm (50 in). Did you know that they are born underwater? They must then swim to the surface to take their first breath. Hippo moms nurse their young from between 6 to 12 months and female hippos are mature at the age of 3 or 4; males at around 7.5 years of age.

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Baby hippo and motherPhoto: Jennifer Jordan

Up yer go – a friendly nudge from Mommy:

After the semi-aquatic hippos, a close relative of theirs – the whale. Baby beluga whales weigh about 80 kg (180 lb) at birth and are about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) long. The calves remain dependent on their mothers for at least two years and will stay in a group of other mothers and calves during this time. Unlike the land animal males we have seen, beluga males mature faster than the females at between 4 to 7 years; the females between the ages of 6 and 9 years.

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