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13 Animals That Lay Eggs (Some Might Surprise You!)

By Charles J. Sharp - Own work, from Sharp Photography,, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Do you want to learn about Animals that lay eggs?

Nature’s way of sustaining ecological balance on Earth is somewhat peculiar. Mother nature has granted viviparous animals the ability to undergo a labor process to give birth to their kind directly. In contrast, oviparous animals lay eggs that birth their offspring when hatched.

Primarily, birds cannot fly while carrying the weight of their babies inside. Thus, they keep themselves and their little ones safe by laying eggs in a secluded place. 

If you are now curious to learn about the oviparous species of the animal kingdom, keep reading to explore more about the complex egg-laying process and a description of the top 13 animals that lay eggs. 

What’s Inside Those Eggs?

animals that lay eggs
Image via Unsplash.

The egg you typically see in your kitchen every day is precisely the one from which a baby chick is born. It is fascinating how an egg white and yolk transform into a whole living chicken! 

The anatomy of an egg is the same for all oviparous animals. The egg yolk contains the embryo that transforms into a baby. The egg white aids this process by providing water to the tiny embryo.

Once the baby fully develops inside the egg, it hatches, and the little one forges out of the shell. 

How Do Oviparous Animals Differ From Viviparous Animals?

baby chicken
Image by Prince Abid via Unsplash

As mentioned earlier, the significant difference between the two animal categories is that the oviparous are egg-laying animals, while the viviparous are animals that give live birth. 

Once the species completes the mating process, the eggs in an oviparous female become fertilized and are laid outside her body to wait until the offspring develops inside. 

However, in the case of viviparous animals, the eggs fertilized in the female body remain and develop inside her womb until they are ready to be born alive.

#1 Birds

Ostrich on desert landscape. Image via Depositphotos

The most giant birds alive at present are the ostriches of North Africa, with their height ranging up to 9 feet and weight up to 350 pounds. An ostrich egg is the largest among every other bird species.

On the other hand, the smallest extant birds are the bee hummingbirds indigenous to Cuba that weigh less than 3 grams. 

#2 Crocodiles

An large alligator look up the see if there are any food ready, with the sharp teeth via DepostiPhotos
Image via Depositphotos

Crocodiles are among the most giant and vicious reptiles on earth. They are closely related to their somewhat lookalikes, the alligators, and are the descendants of the ancient families of dinosaurs. 

As soon as these species mate, the females lay several eggs in a leaf-covered nest made of soil and plants to provide warmth to the eggs during incubation until they hatch. 

Quite interestingly, the shell of a crocodile egg is thin and leathery, which protects them from drying out in extremely dry atmospheres and safeguards them from predator attacks. 

#3 Turtles/Tortoise

sea turtle
Image via Pixabay

Turtles are aquatic lovers who spend much of their lives in water. Sea turtles are especially the ones who only arrive at the shore to lay their eggs and return to the water instantly. 

On the other hand, tortoises are land-lovers who prefer dwelling on land and even in deep burrows on hot days. 

In addition, all turtles are oviparous and lay eggs in nests on sand beaches. The females travel to the shore to lay eggs, usually around 110 eggs at a time, and cover them with sand to immediately leave back without guarding them.  

 #4 Frogs

green frog
European green frog. Image via Depositphotos

The way these animals produce their offspring is unique. A male frog hops on a female immersed in water. She immediately lays the eggs in water fertilized by the sperm released by the male at the same instant. 

A tadpole emerges from the egg around 20 days after undergoing incubation. The number of these tadpoles hatching simultaneously can be approximately 5000 or even more, depending on the number of eggs the female lays.

#5 Fish

Mandarin fish does not have scales. Image via lez, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are two methods of reproduction incorporated by fish populations: the egg-laying method and the live birth method, where the offspring develops in an egg inside the female body and hatches inside too. Such animal species are called ovoviviparous. 

A female fish is capable of releasing several thousands of eggs in the water that are fertilized by male sperm immediately as they are released. However, only a few of these fish mature into adults, while the rest either die or are consumed by potential predators. 

#6 Snakes

Green anaconda
Green anaconda. Image via Depositphotos

Some species, like rattlesnakes, are ovoviviparous that give live birth. However, the maximum ratio of the population of these reptiles is oviparous.

A female lays around 15-30 eggs at a time and offers protection by hiding them in nests made in isolated areas or by coiling over them to attack any potential predators. 

#7 Lizards

A baby salvator monitor lizard (Varanus salvator)
A baby salvator monitor lizard (Varanus salvator). Image by iwayansumatika via

The most giant lizard on the planet at present is the Komodo Dragon weighing more than 350 pounds, with their length being approximately 10 feet. On the contrary, the smallest living lizard is the nano chameleon, which is less than an inch long!

The female lizards lay their eggs in a secluded area, abandoning them to mature independently. The number of eggs may vary according to the size of the lizard, ranging from around 35-40 small eggs or a few large eggs. 

#8 Duck-billed Platypus

baby platypus
Image via Unsplash

Quite surprisingly, they are one of a few mammals that can produce venom, mostly through their feet, that is not considered fatal to human beings but can lead to severe pain.

A point of fascination about these species is that they are one out of the five mammals capable of laying eggs to produce their offspring. Their hatching period is ten days, during which she curls around the eggs to protect them until the babies are safe and sound.

#9 Spiny Ant-Eaters (Echidnas)

A wild shortbeak echidna, taken in Swifts Creek, Victoria. Image via User:Fir0002, GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

These critters have a long tube-like beak from which they breathe and eat. Their spiny body consists of a muscular layer of skin that gives them immense amounts of strength to make their way through tough terrains easily. 

Their reproductive chain starts after the mating season ends. The females develop an extra layer of skin that works as a pouch to store their leathery eggs. The infant remains in the pouch even after hatching to feed from the mother’s body until it develops spines irritating the mother.

#10 Seahorses

Pacific Seahorse
Pacific seahorse Hippocampus ingens inhabit coral reefs and cling to structures using the tail. Image via Deposit Photos

The way this fish species mate is so fascinating. They perform a greeting dance with their mate by wrapping their prehensile tails with one another and twisting and turning around in the water. 

Moreover, these unique species have a male that gives birth. The female drops eggs into a pouch found on the male’s abdomen, which is then fertilized by the male and left for incubation.

#11 Insects

dead or sleeping cockroach
Image via Pexels

The modes of reproduction in insects vary. However, a large number of these species are oviparous, including cockroaches and fleas) and mate actively to produce fertilized eggs that carry their offspring.

Once the eggs hatch, the baby insects undergo molting, where they shed their skin to grow and develop new and larger bodies.

#12 Hermit Crabs

By H. Zell – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Like seahorses, hermit crabs are fond of living in shallow waters near coral reefs. However, some land-loving hermit crab species also exist.

Female hermit crabs have abdominal pleopods where they attach their developed eggs and carry them along. An average female is capable of laying thousands of eggs in water. Another interesting one for Animals That Lay Eggs.

#13 Spiders

Image via Depositphotos

These oviparous animals mate to fertilize the female eggs bearing their offspring. The female lays thousands of eggs and tangles them into a single sac made of woven silk.

Spider eggs are mostly left to hatch and grow independently without being cared for by their parents. 

Summary of Animals That Lay Eggs

Image by Linda Robert via Unsplash

Exploring the different qualities and behaviors of animals is rather exciting. The way these creatures make their way and proceed in this human-dominated world is simply praiseworthy.  

If you enjoyed this blog and learning about different Animals that Lay Eggs, check out these other blogs below:

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