Animals are always a fascinating study. Being able to see them up close and personal with an x-ray view while they're pregnant? Awesome.

Let’s take a brief moment to state the obvious: animals copulate. They have offspring. Some of which are, by generalized human standards, cute. Others are ugly ducklings. Unless you happen to work in a specific field where knowing as much about all things living on this planet is part of the job (zoologists, ecologists and ornithologists, we’re looking at you), the exact details of animal reproduction isn’t something you’re probably spending much time pondering.

Even if your train of thought as it applies to animals like raccoons is one of consternation over their ability to pry the lid off your outdoor garbage can, there is something striking about an x-ray of a pregnant raccoon mother. Or the surreal visual of one of nature’s stealthiest hunters, the boa constrictor, along with its unborn brood that can number close to sixty. The black and white perspective animal x-rays provide isn’t limited to purely medical study, either. Medical physicist and artist Arie van ’t Riet doesn’t feature pregnant mothers-to-be in his artwork, but his x-ray photographs still offer a look at animals from the inside out that is rarely seen.

Maybe this will act as a little reminder that the natural world, on so many levels, is beyond impressive. Thankfully, we’ve got the technology and imagery to prove it.

Story by Jay Moon