Awesome Animals That Lay Eggs: How Many Did You Know?

Anamika Balouria
Jul 12, 2024 By Anamika Balouria
Originally Published on Oct 09, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Hens on a wooden floor with many eggs.

The reproduction of animals by laying eggs or giving birth to live offspring has been evolutionary, and faunal life and scientific development are interesting topics to learn about.

You must be very inquisitive to learn about animal egg-laying and birth-giving procedures. Wildlife fauna has undergone significant evolution and it produces young babies and offspring by either process.

Animals, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects, fish, and mammals, lay eggs and are known as oviparous animals.

While the ones that give birth to young babies are known as viviparous animals. The difference between the two types is just the way they reproduce, and the young ones are born, either growing within the mother's body or outside in eggs.

The National Academy of Sciences, USA, the National University of Australia in Canberra, and the National Geographic Society have played a key role in understanding faunal reproduction in a more enhanced way.

Though it is not only limited to these institutions, they have made a lot of contributions to our knowledge. Science as a mainstream subject really helps us o learn more in-depth about different animals' behavior, including their environment.

Oviparous animals are considered to be primitive species that have evolved over time with the environment, making differences in their living and reproducing ways since the existence of dinosaurs.

If you enjoyed reading this article about animal egg-laying behavior, you might be interested in some related fun facts about animals that hibernate and animals that fly.

What are animals that lay eggs called?

Animals that lay eggs are known as oviparous animals. Egg-laying behavior has been considered a primitive survival technique from the time of dinosaurs.

According to the science of oviparous animals, the female mother lays eggs in their nest, depending upon their different environment. Sometimes, the eggs are laid on the water surface, except in animals living on land.

The female mother protects the eggs until the babies hatch out of the eggs because eggs need a warm temperature in order to grow out of the embryo.

There are animals known to produce young babies in their natural environment and these are known as viviparous animals. In this, the female mother keeps the baby inside her body, and at last, direct birth is given to the newborn baby. It depends from animal to animal on the number of babies that can be reproduced.

The significant difference between oviparous and viviparous animals is that in oviparous animals, fertilization occurs outside the mothers' body, while in viviparous animals, it is just the opposite as it occurs internally. In exceptional cases, it has been known that oviparous animals' embryos grow within or outside the body of their female mother.

Some male animals that lay eggs are known to give birth such as seahorses and sea dragons. Yes, this might sound odd to you, but nature has many unraveling facts that are still unknown to the world around us.

How many animal species lay eggs?

The list of animals that lay eggs is long, and nearly half of all wildlife animals in the world, including birds, insects, fish, reptiles, and mammals, are known to produce their young by laying eggs.

It is common to hear about species of fish, birds, insects, and reptiles laying eggs because they are classified as oviparous animals. However, mammals are mostly known for viviparous reproduction, with the exception of a few animal species.

Oviparous animals are primitive in comparison to viviparous animals. It is an evolutionary change that has taken place and reproduction has evolved in animals, from external to internal in regard to the development of the embryo.

Most small species of animals are known to reproduce by laying eggs, including amphibians such as frogs, fish, and salamanders. These species are known to fertilize their eggs externally, meaning no mating takes place between the animals. They can live on both land and water. The survival rate of viviparous animals' babies is higher in comparison to oviparous animals.

Birds are known for their different nest-building techniques on trees and lay two to three eggs. Reptiles, such as snakes and turtles, are known to burrow holes in the ground to protect their eggs. Many times, snakes are known to eat their own eggs.

The eggs laid might vary from 5-12. Turtles lay their eggs near the seashore, but the eggs have a difficult time surviving if they are not cared for by their parents. Before the eggs hatch, they are preyed upon by other animals.

Mammals That Lay Eggs

There are only two species of mammals known to lay eggs, the duck-billed platypus and the echidna, or spiny anteater.

Among the echidna, there are four species which are the western long-beaked echidna, eastern long-beaked echidna, short-beaked echidna, and Sir David's long-beaked echidna. These species, along with the duck-billed platypus, were once known to live in Australia in large numbers.

About 71 and 54 million years ago, respectively, their pouch-bearing cousins known as marsupials intruded the land. Marsupials are known to have migrated before they came and started to live in Australia.

A puggle baby platypus is born almost the size of a human hand and is protected by the mother in its protective pouch in the initial days from predators once the eggs hatch. For the time being, they try to hide away and live in separate burrows.

With the passage of time, they grow into young ones in the burrows under the ground in a pack. By four to five months, the baby learns to swim.

Among all the species of echidna, the female short-beaked echidna is known to lay eggs in their pouch. The eggs are incubated for 10-20 days, and once the eggs hatch, the mother is known to feed the newborn for a time period of almost a month.

According to the science of this echidna, they lay eggs after three weeks of mating and conceiving. Once the baby grows, they start to live in the burrows.

Reptiles That Lay Eggs

Reptiles such as snakes, turtles, lizards, and crocodiles are well known for their egg-laying behavior.

Snakes lay eggs in their burrows and the eggs are often abandoned by the parents, similar to the behavior of lizards. They are known to be deadly predators and when there is a scarcity of food, they prey on their own eggs to satisfy their hunger.

Turtles are known to dig deep, large hole-like burrows near the seashore where they lay eggs in a dozen or more clutches, depending on the turtle species.

They are also known to abandon their eggs, but before leaving their nest, they cover up the big hole burrow with soil around to protect them from the sight of predators. These eggs are either swiped away by the high tides of the sea or eaten up by predators.

Turtles live on both land and water, but they are commonly known to live in water.

Crocodiles are aggressive in their behavior and are often spotted protecting their nests. They never like intruders or any of their rivals who prey on eggs.

The egg size of a crocodile is 3 in (7.6 cm) long and 2 in (5 cm) wide. The embryo grows and the incubation of the egg lasts for 80-90 days. During this time period, these primitive reptile species protect their eggs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly factsfor everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for animals that lay eggs, then why not take a look at how big are hummingbird eggs, or how are chicken eggs fertilized.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Anamika Balouria

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in Secondary Education and Teaching, Master of Arts specializing in English

Anamika Balouria picture

Anamika BalouriaBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in Secondary Education and Teaching, Master of Arts specializing in English

A dedicated and enthusiastic learner, Anamika is committed to the growth and development of her team and organization. She holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in English from Daulat Ram University and Indira Gandhi Institute for Open Learning respectively, as well as a Bachelor of Education from Amity University, Noida. Anamika is a skilled writer and editor with a passion for continual learning and development.
Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

Read full bio >