While whales may give birth to multiple calves during their lifetime, they usually only give birth to one calf per gestation period. There have, however, been some records of females giving birth to more than one calf at a time. Having one calf allows the mother to focus all her energy and protection on the young. The gestation period for most whales is around one year. That being said, whales can give birth several times. Humpback whales, for instance, can give birth every one to three years.
It is very rare for whales to give birth to more than one calf at a time (less than 1% typically). This is not surprising in whale species since females carry their calves for long periods of time and they require a lot of energy and nutrients for development. Humpback whale calves, for example, are typically 13 feet in length and weigh about 2 tons. There have been a few documented instances in which killer whales have produced twins.
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