April 10th is all about family! It's Siblings Day — a day to celebrate your brothers and sisters. They're the ones who can be your best friend and drive you crazy all at the same time. (What a skill!) To celebrate, we've searched high and low through the animal kingdom to find creatures who appreciate their siblings.
These siblings get to know each other as tadpoles before turning into frogs and heading off on their own. But it turns out Cascades frogs never forget their brothers and sisters. In fact, this frog will recognize its sibling even if it hasn't seen them since they were an egg! Scientists think that Cascades frogs from the same parents release a similar smell, which helps the siblings identify each other. And, if the frogs meet up when they're adults, they often stay together and live as one big happy family!
If there's one thing siblings like to do together, it's play. And it seems peregrine falcons are no different. These birds of prey play with their siblings while they're flying. It's a way for them to practice their hunting skills. Normally, falcons swoop down through the air at high speeds to capture prey. To practice, the falcon siblings go airborne and take turns being the hunter and the prey. Of course, the birds are careful not to hurt each other during their hunting game.
While male elephants live on their own, females and their calves stay together as a family for life. And the older sisters take care of their younger siblings. They babysit the calves and keep them safe. Besides being a big help to the adult females in the herd, this babysitting is important for the older sisters, too. It helps them learn what it takes to be a good mom, so they’re ready for the job when it’s their turn.
Shrew siblings sure know how to stick together as a family. The furry mammals form one long line to get around, so no one gets lost. Called a caravan, it begins with mom. One young shrew uses its teeth to hold on to the fur above her tail. Then a brother or sister hangs on to the back of that shrew. Another sibling does the same. And so on and so on, until they form one quick-moving line of shrews. The siblings walk like this to escape danger together. Sometimes they even travel in a line-up to explore their habitat.
Wikimedia/US Department of Agriculture
Termites live in huge colonies together. And it seems older siblings are always around for their younger ones. At least that's the case with a species called subterranean termites. While parents stay close for their hatchlings' early lives, the adult termites eventually leave. So it's up to the older termite kids to raise their younger siblings. The bugs take care of their brothers and sisters, making sure to feed and groom the little ones until they're ready to set out on their own lives.