10 Amazing Animal Moms
Mother's Day is almost here, giving us a perfect reason to celebrate some of the most amazing animal moms in the world.
- Polar Bears
A pregnant polar bear puts on up to 200 pounds and then digs out a den in a deep snow bank in which to give birth. Here she will stay tucked away inside for 3 months with her newborn cubs until springtime. For the next two and a half years, the polar bear cubs will stay close by mom as she teaches them all the skills they need before they go out on their own.
Baby orangutans seem to be attached to their moms like velcro, even when they play! The bond between mother and baby orangutans is one of the most intense and longest in duration in the animal kingdom. Orangutans spend 7-9 years with their moms, learning everything they need to know, like how to find food and build nests. Even after orangutans leave the nest, sometimes they will still visit their mom in the forest, until they’re about 15 or 16 years old.
Sea Otter babies, called 'pups', stay with their mom for the first 8 months of life. While they're young, their fur holds in air to help keep them afloat, so they can't actually dive for food. So moms wrap the pups up in kelp to keep them from floating away while they hunt. You frequently see mom snuggling her pup on her chest while she grooms them. Around 4 weeks old the pups start to learn to swim and mom will teach them how to survive.
Elephants are pregnant for 22 months - that’s almost 2 years! This is the longest gestation period for any mammal. Calves nurse for 4 to 6 years. Females will stay with their herd for the rest of their lives, while the males will eventually leave the herd and go off on their own. Another amazing fact about elephant moms, is that they all work together in what’s called, “allomothering” - this is where all the females in a herd will help care for the baby too.
Similarly, meerkats live in family groups of around 20 members. In that group there is only one dominant pair who have babies. Mom meerkats can’t handle them all alone, so all the members of the group will help teach them the skills they need and raise them. Reminding us, to thank any of the people in our lives who help raise us.
Cheetah moms are constantly on the move with their litter - which typically has 2 to 6 cubs. Every 4 days or so, mom moves the cubs to a new den to make it harder for predators to track them. They spend the next 18 months with mom learning how to hunt, and building muscle and coordination in order to become the fastest land animal on earth.
A baby koala is the size of a jellybean at birth. It will spend the first 6 months of life safely tucked away inside mom’s pouch. Baby koalas, also called joeys, have to develop the ability to digest the one thing they will eat - highly toxic eucalyptus leaves. When they’re born, they don’t have the tolerance in their digestive tract to eat it yet. Mom helps them develop it by feeding them her poop!
A mother proboscis monkey will nurse her baby for the first 6 weeks before it begins eating solid foods. Similar to elephants, proboscis monkeys also practice 'allomothering'. That means the mom will allow other adult females in their family group help care for the baby. By 7 months the baby is weaned and around a year old they're ready to leave mom. Females stay with their group, but males leave to join a bachelor group.
Imagine having a 6 foot tall baby. That's how tall giraffe calves when born! After only about an hour, the baby giraffe, encouraged by mom, takes its first steps. Baby giraffes can’t run fast, and mother giraffes are very protective. Always on guard, she will only sleep for about 30 minutes a day, in spurts of only a few minutes at a time.
Dolphins are such great moms that a human parenting style has now become named after them. In the human world, to be considered a 'dolphin mom' means you are a parent that has rules and expectations but also values creativity and independence. 'Dolphin parents' are collaborative and use guiding and role modeling to raise their kids. When dolphin calves are born they don’t have the necessary skills to protect or take care of themselves and the first lesson their mother teaches them is how to breathe.
A Perfect Mother’s Day Gift
Celebrate and thank your amazing mom, or other special mother figures in your life, with a print of their favorite animal mom. Shop the Baby Animal Print store and receive 20% off with code: Mom2020. Visit the Baby Animal Print Store HERE.
- Racquel Nevers