Honoring amazing animal mothers

Posted on May 07 2019 by

World Animal Protection US

in the Animals in the wild blog

Mother dolphins, pigs, elephants, otters, and grizzly bears, demonstrate some of the strongest maternal instincts in the animal kingdom. Discover a few of their amazing traits!

1. Mother dolphins sing the best "lullabies" 

Dolphin mothers sing signature whistles, usually used to identify each other, to their unborn calves.

Scientists believe that they perform this behavior in order to ensure that their offispring learn their own signature sound prior to birth, and they reinforce this sound to their calves in the weeks following.

Most female dolphins generally give birth to one calf as well, making this bond exta special and powerful.

Dolphin calves will nurse for 1-2 years, and a calf will stay alonside its mother for the next 1-7 years, before venturing off to mate (leaving the nest).

2. Mother pigs know best

Just before birth, mother pigs leave their group and begin to search for safe place to build a nest for their piglets.

This search can sometimes take them miles, but sows (mother pigs) won't settle until they find the perfect home for their babies (you go, girl!).

Once a location has been chosen, sows will build the coziest nest by digging a hole and filling it with grass, leaves and twigs, and then lining the nest with branches.

Pig herds are also matriarchal. Sows lead a herd and will take care of or even nurse one another’s piglets if needed (how sweet is this???).

A matriarchal herd of several females are enough to hold down the fort, as males are not lifelong members of their herds.

3. Mother elephants are heroes

Female elephants give birth to a 200-pound baby after nearly 2 years of gestating (um, ouch…) and nurse their calves for 2-3 years! 

Such heavy (and cute) babies require tons of food and care.

Elephant mothers must feed their babies 3 gallons of milk a day, and will continue providing milk for up to 10 years!

Male elephants are generally venture away from the herd to fulfill other purposes (sounds familiar...), so elephant mothers must do all of this alone, while also fending off dangerous predators like lion prides.

Elephant moms, you are our heroes. 

4. Mother otters are the gift that keeps on giving

Female Asian small-claw otters can have litters of up to 6 pups, twice a year, with a gestation period of just 60 days!

That's a lot of baby otters, and lot of mouths to feed. 

Luckily, all members of the family group help feed and care for the youngest otters, lightening the load for otter mothers.

Once otters are mature, they can breed year-round, but typically, each litter is born 8 or 9 months apart

5. Mother grizzly bears are so brave

There’s a reason “mama bear” is used for protective mothers—because mama grizzly bears have fierce protective natures.

While other bear species may abandon their cubs during an impending threat, grizzly bears will aggressively fight off those who look to harm her cubs.

Even other male bears.

They are the bravest of the brave, and this is certainly one of the more admirable traits that this species possesses.

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