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Meet 9 amazing animal moms

 

Photo by Eric Kilby licensed CC BY-SA 2.0


Sure, your mom may be the best around. But these animal mothers are a close second when it comes to caring for their kids.


Alligators

animal mom alligator

Photo by Purple Tulips licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When a cow's (female alligator) eggs begin to hatch, an alligator mother often helps her hatchlings (baby alligators) by breaking the shells with her mouth.

She gently carries them in her mouth to the water where she protects the small alligators whenever they call out to her. She even lets them ride on her head or back when they need a lift.


Elephants live in a matriarchal (run by females) society. So all the females in the group help the calf (baby elephant) learn to nurse, give it affection and even babysit.


Emperor penguins

Animal mom emperor penguins

Photo by Martha de Jong-Lantink licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A mother penguin leaves her egg with her mate and sets out on a two-month journey to the ocean where she will hunt for fish and squid.

After returning home to feed her newly-hatched chick, her mate makes the journey to the ocean. While he's away, the mother penguin stays to care for her chick, protecting it from the extreme cold by covering it with her warm, feathered skin.


Koalas eat the leaves of a plant called the eucalyptus, which are highly poisonous. Luckily, adult koalas can safely digest these leaves, but their joeys (baby koalas) can't. So, mother koalas chew their own poop and feed it to their joeys.


Giant Pacific Octopus

animal mom octopus

Photo by prilfish licensed CC BY 2.0

After a hen (female octopus) lays up to 200,000 eggs (wow!), she fiercely guards them for weeks or months to prevent an attack by a predator.

In fact, she never leaves the eggs alone, even to get food for herself. Because of this sacrifice, the mother octopus usually dies after her larvae (baby octopus) hatch.


Female red-knobbed hornbills are very protective of their eggs. To make sure that no predators can get to them, the mother hornbill will seal herself into her nest using her own poop, mud and food until the eggs hatch.


Orangutans

animal mom orangutan

Photo by chem7 licensed CC BY 2.0

During its first two years, a young orangutan relies entirely on its mother for food and transportation, travelling by piggyback. As it grows, a mother orangutan teaches its young many lessons, including where to find fruit and how to build a sleeping nest.

Most orangutans leave their mom by the age of 10, but females still like to visit their moms until they're about 15 years old.


Mother giraffes are always on their guard, protecting their calves (baby giraffes). They will only get about 30 minutes of sleep a day, and just for a few minutes at a time!


Wolf spiders

animal mom wolf spider

Photo by Tom Houslay licensed CC BY-NC 2.0

While most spiders wrap their eggs in a silken pouch and leave them behind, a wolf spider straps her egg sac to her body. She carries the sac along wherever she goes. If it happens to fall off, the wolf spider frantically searches for it.

And once her eggs hatch, her work isn’t done. She cares for the spiderlings (baby spiders) and lets them ride on her back until they are ready for life on their own.