Reprosductive Systems of the Gorilla and the Black Rat Snake

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Submitted: March 24, 2017

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Submitted: March 24, 2017

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In this research paper, I will be finding out about the reproductive systems of two very different animals: a gorilla (scientific name: gorilla beringei) and a black rat snake (scientific name: Elaphe obsoleta obsolete). Even though they are totally distinct species, one a mammal and one a reptile, these two animals actually have common ways of giving birth to their young.

Let us start with Gorillas’ reproductive system. I’ll be explaining its time for development, a number of young born in one offspring and its fertilisation. The Gorilla (primate and a mammal) needs around eight and a half months to develop internally (inside the mother’s body). This is after the egg cell has been fertilised by the sperm cell of the male primate and it is starting to grow. Gorillas are quite similar to humans actually, humans on average need nine months to develop. This large mammal can give birth to only one young in an offspring.  The reproductive cycle is 30-33 days. A gorilla undergoes internal fertilisation which means the sperm and egg cell fuse inside of the female’s body after mating.

 

I’ll now talk about the Gorilla’s aftercare, development, survival rate and mating. Females become sexually mature at 10-12 years old, while males at 11-13 years. There is not a specific mating season so that they can mate during any time of the year. Females are in heat during 1 or 2 days a month, but before they start having sex partners they must be separated from their born troop and start searching for a “silverback” male from another group. Females are the ones who attract male gorillas with body movements: slowly and leisurely they approach the “silverback” with uninterrupted eye contact while puckering their lips. Then, they have to assess the male’s response to take the next step. If the male courted does not react at her movements, she gets closer and can even touch him. If this still does not work, she hardly hits the ground in a final attempt to draw his attention once and for all. Usually, only the “silverback” leader has the right to mate with the females. For its aftercare, a gorilla takes two and a half years to care for their young before letting them survive on their own. The baby grows inside (internal development) their mother (like humans) before they are born. Additionally, 60% of the babies per offspring normally survive to become adults.

 

Now that we’ve learned a bunch about the gorilla’s reproducing system, we’re moving onto the reptile’s reproductive system: we’ll be looking at the black rat snake. Let us start with the Black Rat Snakes’ mating, number of young in one offspring and survival rate information. Black rat snakes will mate once a year. It involves both the males and females releasing a unique smell around mating time which causes both parties to become prepared for the process. When mating occurs, males will often mate with multiple females. The female will remain pregnant for up to the three months and can give birth to as little as 3 snakes and as much as 80 snakes. On average they give birth 20 eggs. At birth the snake is independent from the mother. In fact, in some cases, if there is a food shortage, the mother may eat its offspring. Depending on the region, as well as the amount of snakes born, many snakes will die within the first few weeks. This is due to a few reasons such as there not being enough food, to the environment not being completely suitable. The males tend to wait for the females. They will fight each other for the right to be with females. Once mating has occurred they will go their separate ways. They are usually laid between May and early June with the young being born from August through October. They are born ready to care or themselves from the start. They will have to find shelter and food to survive. Their survival rate is 50%.

 

I will now explain the black rat snakes’ time for development, fertilisation and their development growth. A black rat snake needs an approximately three months for developing. In addition to that, it undergoes external development. Nearly all types of snake species including the Black Rat Snake undergo external development and internal fertilisation.

 

I think the gorilla has a more efficient and better way of reproducing even if they can give birth to one baby per offspring. Their survival rate is larger than that of the Black Rat Snake and they don't devour their own young. Also, gorillas care for their young after they’re born unlike the snake. Finally, Gorillas are humans’ ancestors and so they’re more related to us.

Sources:

  1. http://www.gorillas-world.com/gorilla-reproduction/

  2. http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/factsheets/entry/gorilla/behav

  3. https://seaworld.org/en/animal-info/animal-infobooks/gorilla/reproduction

  4. https://seaworld.org/en/animal-info/animal-infobooks/gorilla/birth-and-care-of-young

  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorilla#Reproduction_and_parenting

  6. http://library.sandiegozoo.org/factsheets/gorilla/gorilla.htm#repro

  7. http://www.livescience.com/53855-rat-snake.html

  8. http://www.snake-removal.com/blackratsnake.html

  9. https://www.jcu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/202663/How-to-write-a-Science-Esssay.pdf

  10. http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Pantherophis_obsoletus/

  11. http://www.psu.edu/dept/nkbiology/naturetrail/speciespages/blackratsnake.htm

  12. https://www.google.com.hk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=gorilla%20scientific%20name&*


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