The Secret Life of Animals: Types of Animals That Give Live Births

Some animals give birth to live young rather than laying eggs. This method of reproduction is called viviparity. Here are some examples of animals that have live births:

1. Mammals

Mammals are the most well-known group of animals that give birth to live young. They have specialized reproductive systems that allow for internal fertilization and gestation of the embryo within the mother’s body. After a period of development, the offspring are born alive. Mammals include a wide range of species, from humans and dogs to elephants and whales.

2. Sharks and Rays

Some species of sharks and rays exhibit viviparity. These animals have internal fertilization, and the embryos develop within the mother’s body. The developing young receive nourishment from the mother through a placenta-like structure or yolk sac placenta. When fully developed, the pups are born alive.

3. Some Reptiles

Although most reptiles lay eggs, certain reptile species exhibit viviparity. For example, some species of snakes, such as vipers and boas, give birth to live young. The embryos develop within the mother’s body, and the young are born alive. Certain lizards and geckos also demonstrate viviparity.

4. Some Fish

While most fish lay eggs, a few species are known to have live births. Examples include some species of guppies, mollies, and swordtails. These fish exhibit internal fertilization, and the embryos develop within the mother’s body. The young fish are born alive and fully formed.

5. Some Invertebrates

Although less common, there are a few invertebrates that exhibit viviparity. Certain species of insects, such as aphids and some beetles, give birth to live young. Additionally, some species of squids and octopuses also demonstrate viviparity, with the embryos developing inside the mother’s body until they are born.


While the majority of animals reproduce through egg-laying (oviparity), there are several fascinating examples of animals that give birth to live young (viviparity). Mammals, including humans, are the most notable group that practices viviparity. However, there are also sharks, rays, reptiles, fish, and even a few invertebrates that have evolved the ability to bear live offspring. This reproductive strategy offers unique advantages and contributes to the diversity and complexity of the animal kingdom.