Think you had it hard as a baby? Ha! Think again. Human babies have it easy compared to some of the animal kingdom’s most extreme.
Barnacle goose hatchlings, for example, jump off the edge of treacherous cliffs just days after birth to find food. Many are injured or killed during the leap, while only the lightest survive the fall.
Marine iguanas are another great example. After the babies hatch from their eggs, they leave the underground burrows created by their mothers. Upon emerging, wild snakes threaten to eat them, and only those fast enough run away and survive.
Baby greater guinea pigs are also rather extreme because they mature so quickly. These babies can give birth to their own young as soon as one month after birth. Furthermore, babies are born with furry bodies and open eyes from the moment they emerge.
But that’s not all; braconid wasp babies are also rather extreme in this sense. Mothers lay their eggs underneath the skin of caterpillars, enabling the offspring to hatch inside the caterpillar and devour it from the inside out.
And finally, you might consider the sand tiger shark to be a valuable addition to this list. The mother copulates with several males at a time, and each one fertilizes her many eggs. Intriguingly, some of the eggs mature faster than others, and the most mature frequently feast on the least mature before ever being born.
Thank goodness human babies never have to deal with any of this stuff.