Which mammal can reproduce the most offspring?

The figures below represent the maximum offspring that one could expect a wild female of each species to have in her lifetime. Factors such as food availability will have an impact on these numbers for any individual.

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Black-tailed prairie dogs.
Prairie dogs live in underground burrows.

 

ORANGUTAN: 3

A female orangutan stays with her mother into her teenage years – the longest childhood dependence duration for any animal in the world, other than human beings.

GIANT PANDA: 7

Giant panda cubs are proportionately the smallest of placental mammals. At birth they are just just 0.12 per cent of their mother’s weight. It’s about 6-7 per cent for a human.

WHITE RHINO: 11

Female white rhinos usually give birth for the first time at between six and and seven years old. The calves stay with their mother for three years.

TIGER: 15

Tiger cubs are at the greatest risk from male tigers who may try to kill them to mate with the female.

AMERICAN BLACK BEAR: 20 

A young black bear requires a lot of attention and stays with its mother for the first 16-17 months.

BLACK-TAILED PRAIRIE DOG: 24

Prairie dog colonies are called towns – the largest ever discovered covered 65,000km2 and was home to 400m animals

NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO: 54

Nine-banded armadillos hit this tally by giving birth to four identical quadruplets every year of their reproductive life.

VIRGINIA OPOSSUM: 108

At birth, a baby opossum is the size of a bee and weighs just 0.13g. A female can suckle up to 13 young at the same time.

NORWAY LEMMING: 192

Norway lemmings start early. A female can get pregnant at just two weeks old.

EUROPEAN RABBIT: 360

An eye-watering number of young, but rabbits need to have lots of babies as only 15 per cent make it through the first year.

Discover more amazing wildlife facts in The Big Book of Mammals

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