Motherhood is an tremendous responsibility for both human moms and moms in the wild. Mothers in the wild devote themselves to their offspring, just like human moms. These determined mothers work hard to provide housing, protection, and food for their babies. Just because these moms aren’t human mothers, it doesn’t mean they are any less dedicated to their young.
Wildlife moms behave very differently from one another to care for their offspring. In most cases, these different types of behaviors are designed to provide the best level of care possible for each type of environment moms and babies live in and the type of predators they face.
Hungry as a Mother Bear
Many human moms go on diets after giving birth. However, in the wild, many moms go on extreme fasts before giving birth so that their babies can have the best possible start in life. In fact, female bears don’t get to eat for weeks after giving birth in their dens during the winter. This is one of the reasons why female bears gorge themselves on food prior to the winter season.
As Gentle as an Alligator’s Jaws
Alligators have sharp teeth located inside powerful jaws. These jaws are used to clamp down on prey with over 2000lbs of pressure. However, alligator moms use their jaws to pick up their own tiny hatchlings and transport them safely to the water.
No Strollers Necessary for Surinam Toads
Surinam toads are unique creatures that will never have the need for a stroller or carriage. Instead, these toads carry their eggs on their backs. Surinam moms place their eggs into the honeycomb-like skin located on their backs. There, the eggs hatch and grow. Surprisingly, the entire metamorphic process is completed on their mom’s backs before the young toads strike out on their own. This way, the young get to take advantage of their mom’s speed and experience while they are young and vulnerable.
Extended Families for Elephants
Elephants live in social groups. Their herds are matriarchal and comprised of a dominant female, her siblings and all of their offspring. Baby elephants are cared for by the entire herd, and may be watched by a designated female while the other members are foraging for food.
Quantity Over Quality for Sea Turtles
Many mothers invest a great deal of time and care into their young. However, Sea Turtles have evolved to have many young instead of just one or two offspring. This is one tactic wild moms use to ensure the survival of their species. They have as many babies as possible to increase the chances that a few will make it to adulthood.
Emperor Penguins: Mr. Moms of the Antarctic
Female Emperor Penguins lay a single egg and pass that egg on to their mates to care for before heading back to the sea. Males incubate the eggs by holding the eggs atop their feet and underneath a flap on their abdomen to prevent the eggs from freezing. During the whole ordeal, the fathers don’t eat until the mom’s return just prior to the time when the eggs hatch.
Moms and dads work hard to care for their young. Many moms in the wild have to go to great lengths to ensure the safety and well-being of their offspring. Just like human moms, these moms are completely devoted to their young.