Skip to Content

6 Types of Animal Eggs & the Animals That Lay Them

Several types of animal eggs, including chicken, quail, ostrich, and emu.

Eggs. There are over a hundred ways to cook them and just as many to enjoy them. They’re a staple in just about any kitchen, but have you ever been curious to learn if there’s more to them? After all, the eggs we eat aren’t the only eggs in the world. To satisfy my own curiosity, I went and trawled the world wide web for more information on how many types of eggs there are.

The most commonly-eaten eggs in the world come from birds such as:

  • chickens
  • quails
  • ducks
  • ostriches

Fish eggs are also popular, such as those used in caviar (sturgeon eggs) and sushi. Aside from birds and fish, other animals that lay eggs are:

  • reptiles
  • amphibians
  • insects
  • some mammals

If you’re curious about these types of eggs and want to know more about their unique traits and interesting trivia, then keep reading! Here are 6 types of eggs out there in the world and what kind of animals lay them…

Bird Eggs

Bird eggs are often the first to come to mind when we talk about eggs. They are hard-shelled eggs and can come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links which will take you to online retailers that sell products and services. If you click on one and buy something, I may earn from qualifying purchases. See my Affiliate Disclosure for more details.

Here are some examples:

Chicken Eggs

Chicken eggs are the most commonly-eaten eggs. They can come in shades of white or brown. In 2020, the U.S. produced 96.9 billion eggs for consumption.

Quail Eggs

Quail eggs are significantly smaller than chicken eggs, measuring around 35 mm in length and 27 mm in diameter. Their shells are white and speckled with irregular brown spots.

Despite their diminutive size, they are higher than chicken eggs in:

A basket of off white small eggs that is off white with dark brown spots.
Quail eggs are small with dark brown spots

Duck Eggs

Visually, duck eggs are similar to chicken eggs, but they are:

  • bigger
  • heavier
  • more oval in shape

The colors of duck eggs range from white to pale green to pale blue to gray. If you try cracking one open, you’ll notice that the shell is also much thicker than the average chicken egg and the yolk is bigger compared to the whites.

Ostrich Eggs

Ostrich eggs are the largest eggs in the world. They average six inches in length, 15 to 18 inches in circumference, and 3.1 pounds in weight. Their shells are 0.06 inches thick and incredibly strong, capable of bearing about 485 pounds of weight vertically.

FUN FACT: Eating an entire ostrich egg can net you 2,000 calories — the recommended daily diet for most adults.

An interesting thing to note is that while ostrich eggs are the biggest compared to other eggs, they’re the smallest egg when you compare the proportions of egg size to bird size, as the ostrich is the largest bird in the world.

Emu Eggs

Emu eggs are another large egg, laid by the second largest bird in the world. They’re typically five to six inches tall and weigh around one to two pounds.

Their most striking feature is their distinctive color — they’re a dark green that sometimes borders on black, with a somewhat rough surface, which leads to some likening them to avocados.

An emu protecting its eggs, that are almost black in color.
Emu eggs look similar to an avocado

Fish Eggs

Fish eggs are protected by a jelly-like membrane instead of a shell. Some of the most popular ones we see are:

Sturgeon Eggs

Sturgeon eggs, which are tiny and black, and used to make caviar, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world. Even just 2.2 pounds of the most expensive type, Almas Beluga caviar, can cost up to $25,000 USD.

Flying Fish Eggs

If you’re a fan of sushi, you’ve likely encountered flying fish eggs and smelt eggs (which are similar but smaller and cheaper and thus more commonly used). These small orange eggs are often found sprinkled atop Japanese dishes or spread across sushi rolls. 

Salmon Eggs

Salmon eggs are much larger than other types of fish roe, resembling bright orange tapioca pearls. They’re a popular food due to their high nutritional value, as they possess many healthy fatty acids.

Reptile Eggs

Many, but not all, reptiles lay eggs. Their eggs typically have soft, leathery shells, but some species lay eggs with tougher shells.

Here are some examples:

Snake Eggs

Snake eggs have leathery shells soft enough that some snake eggs tend to stick to each other. They are oblong in shape, which allows the baby snakes to stretch out within their eggs.

They’re mainly white, off-white, or beige and can range from one to five inches in length.

Turtle Eggs

Turtle eggs are typically buried in the sand. Sizes can vary among species, with the smallest being 3.8 cm in diameter and the largest being 5.3 cm in diameter.

A pile of soft turtle eggs, with a newborn tiny turtle that is all dark in color crawling on top of them.
Some turtle eggs are soft and leathery

They’re typically white and can be leathery or hard, depending on the environment.

Crocodile Eggs

Crocodile eggs are often hard, unlike other reptile eggs. When they’re first laid, they start out nearly clear, gradually becoming white and opaque.

Despite crocodiles’ relatively large size, some species lay eggs that are the size of large chicken eggs.

Amphibian Eggs

Amphibians, live part of their lives on land and part of their lives in water and include

  • frogs
  • toads
  • salamanders

They typically lay eggs in the water, which have a similar jelly-like membrane to fish eggs. Frog eggs, in particular, look like eyeballs — a dark orb in the center surrounded by clear, whitish jelly.

Insect Eggs

Insects are the biggest group of living things, not counting bacteria. Of the millions of different species living on Earth, many lay eggs.

Insect eggs can come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, ranging from simple blobs to intricately-patterned eggs, such as those laid by stick insects.

Mammal Eggs

Most mammals give birth to live young, with only two notable exceptions

Platypus Eggs

Platypuses are a visual mishmash of ducks, otters, and beavers native to Australia. They lay small eggs around 11 mm in diameter that have a soft, leathery shell similar to reptile eggs.

FUN FACT: When a platypus hatches, they are about the size of a lima bean!

Echidna Eggs

Echidnas, which are also native to Australia, are spiny mammals visually similar to porcupines and hedgehogs. Their eggs are also soft-shelled and leathery.

Caviar on top of toast with other ingredients.
Caviar are certain types of fish eggs

Wrap Up

That’s it for the six types of animal eggs, and the animals that lay them— hopefully, you walk away with some interesting new trivia about the varied types of eggs present in the world around us!

You might also be interested in: