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13 Examples of Iteroparous Animals

There are many different examples of iteroparous animals, ranging from fish to mammals. Quite simply, iteroparous animals are those that produce offspring more than once in their lifetime. This is in contrast to semelparous animals, which only reproduce once and then die.

This article gives you 15 examples of iteroparous animals.

13 Iteroparous Animals

Iteroparous animals are animals that can reproduce more than once during their lifetime. This means that they can have more than one litter of offspring, or more than one clutch of eggs, during their lifetime. Keep reading for examples of iteroparous animals.

1. Mouse

House mouse
House mouse

The mouse is a small rodent that can be found in nearly every corner of the world. They are known for their ability to reproduce quickly and for their relatively short lifespan.

Mice are able to have litters of up to 12 babies or pups at a time. They can have multiple litters in a year. Because they reproduce so quickly, populations swell rapidly if there is an abundance of food and shelter.

2. Sea Turtle

Green sea turtle underwater
Green sea turtle underwater

Sea turtles are one of the most fascinating examples of iteroparous animals. These reptiles can live to be over 100 years old and can lay hundreds, even thousands, of eggs during their lifetime.

After mating at sea, the female turtle comes ashore to dig a nest in the sand with her hind flippers. Some turtles return to the same beach they hatched on. She then lays her eggs in the nest and covers them up with more sand before returning to the ocean.

Green sea turtles can lay over a hundred eggs every two weeks over several months. Kemp’s Ridley nest in groups called arribadas, which is Spanish for “arrivals.”

3. Great White Shark

A great white shark
A great white shark

Great white sharks are mysterious creatures and not a lot is known about their mating habits. What is known is that female great white gestation period is a year, and she can give birth to up to 12 pups at a time.

The lifespan of a female great white can be 60 years or more, so she can have a lot of babies in that time period. Most baby sharks don’t survive their first year, so multiple reproduction cycles are necessary to maintain the population.

4. Rabbit

Resting rabbit in a grassy field
Resting rabbit in a grassy field | Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Rabbits are one of the most popular examples of iteroparous animals. As prey animals, they must be able to reproduce quickly in order to ensure the survival of their species.

A female rabbit can have up to 7 litters in a year, with each litter containing anywhere from two to twelve babies. They average about 5 kittens per litter.

Domestic rabbits live much longer than wild rabbits. A domestic female rabbit can live over 10 years and reproduce for a majority of those years.

5. Arctic Fox

Arctic fox
Arctic fox

The Arctic fox reproduces several times to make the most of its short lifespan. In the wild, Arctic foxes live on average from 3 to 4 years, and up to 14 years in captivitiy.

They usually have between 6 and 12 kits in a litter. However, they can give birth to up to 25 babies in one litter. Arctic foxes are also monogamous and mate for life.

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6. Hamster

Hamsters eating food
Hamsters eating food | Image by Christine Trewer from Pixabay

If you’ve ever had a mating pair of pet hamsters, you know how many times they can reproduce in a short period. They can reach sexual maturity in under a month of age, but typically begin reproducing after 10 weeks.

Hamsters can have 6 to 12 babies in a litter and even as many as 20. The babies are ready to wean after just 3 to 4 weeks. Female hamsters go into heat every 3 to 4 days so it won’t be long until she’s pregnant again after weaning.

7. Canadian Goose

Canadian geese have pretty long lifespans. They can live over 20 years. They are not always monogamous but they will mate for life with a partner.

A female goose can lay several eggs over a few days. They lay 4 to 9 eggs a year, and they will mate once a year.

8.  Elephant

Family of elephants
Family of elephants

Elephants have a gestation period of around 22 months, and give birth to a single calf. The calf is then cared for by its mother and other members of the herd, until it is old enough to fend for itself.

Many times a mother will care for a juvenile calf and newborn at the same time. A female elephant can have over 10 calves in her lifetime.

9. Rattlesnake

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake F. Muhammad from Pixabay

Rattlesnakes typically mate in the spring and give birth to live young in the summer. Litters can range in size from just a few snakes to over a dozen.

Once born, the young snakes are on their own, as the parents do not provide any care. Female rattlesnakes mate once every couple of years and live to be over 20 years old.

10. Seahorse

A sea horse
A sea horse

Seahorses are fascinating creatures because of their unique breeding habits. Unlike most other fish, it is the male seahorse that carries the eggs of their young.

The female will deposit her eggs into the male’s pouch, where they will be fertilized and incubated until they are ready to hatch. Once the eggs have hatched, the male will give birth to live young. They do this a couple of times a month.

11. Coyote

Coyotes 
Coyote | Image by David Mark from Pixabay

When coyotes find their partner, they mate for life. Coyote pairs bond with each other and become like a married couple in their territory. They’ll have 3 to 7 pups in a litter once a year.

Coyote litter sizes will depend on food sources in the area. When food is scarce, litter sizes tend to be smaller. Conversely when food is abundant, females tend to have more pups.

12. Manatee

A manatee underwater
A manatee underwater | Image by PublicDomainImages from Pixabay

Manatees will form large mating herds when it comes time for breeding. Females might mate with several males in a group. Bulls compete for a cow and will follow her for weeks until she is ready to mate.

Manatees live for up to 30 years and can have a calf every 3 years. A manatee cow can have up to 8 or 9 calves in her lifetime.

13. Tiger

Bengal tiger
Bengal tiger

Tigers can live over 25 years and have several litters in that time. The average female tiger rears about 6 to 8 litters in her lifetime.

Female tigers give birth to 2 to 4 cubs at a time, but they’ve been known to have up to 7. Unfortunately, it’s very common for a few cubs in the litter to die.