The Truth About The Animal That Spends Its Whole Adult Life Pregnant

Between overwhelmed aunts, the folks at your church, and coworkers who won't stop pumping in the break room, there's a good chance that you know somebody who seems perpetually pregnant. Now, researchers from the University of Melbourne and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research have discovered nature's answer to these brave souls: A two-foot tall marsupial that double-bunks its pregnancies like it's running a shady overseas hostel for fetuses in its womb.

The reproductive cycles of marsupials, from kangaroos to koalas, are — at the best of times — an absolute monster mash. All of the bits and pieces associated with the act of creating more life? Marsupials lean towards having too many of them, and they use them to pop out undeveloped leech-looking babies that crawl through their fur and into their pouches until they're done cooking. No part of the process comes off as fun or attractive, but proving that there's no accounting for taste, the female swamp wallaby has apparently opted to make a lifelong habit of it.

Swamp wallabies are nature's Duggars

Yes, the name of the creature that spends its whole life pregnant is the "swamp wallaby," and no, that's not a slur meaning "trailer trash from Auckland." At least we don't think it is. Australian slang is a tough nut to crack.

Utilizing high-resolution ultrasounds, scientists from Australia and Germany have discovered that swamp wallabies are capable of carrying overlapping pregnancies, developing an embryo in the last stages of a previously conceived fetus' growth. It's likely, they claim, that this means the creatures spend their entire adult lives pregnant and, by extension, explaining to their frantic husbands that the doctor said an occasional glass of wine was "fine." Talk about an insanely hard life

"We have shown," the researchers state in their findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "that female swamp wallabies ovulate, mate, and form a new embryo prepartum thereby continuously supporting conceptuses and young at different development stages before and after birth. This system is unique compared to the normal staged system of reproduction in mammals so that swamp wallabies are normally pregnant and lactating throughout their reproductive life."