There is a wide variety and range of parental care seen throughout the fauna that make up our planet. There are some that abandon their eggs once they are laid, and those that occasionally eat their offspring. On the other end of the spectrum, there are mothers that give their all to ensure their young have the best chance at a healthy life. From extra long gestation, to extreme protection, to sacrificing everything, even their life, motherhood is a strong bond that is ingrained in the DNA of many.
Elephant - The Champion Mom
Elephant mothers deserve a huge prize. In human terms, it would be a week long, all-inclusive, kid-free, stay at the most luxurious resort and spa. Not only do elephants mothers carry their baby for almost 2 YEARS (around a 22 month gestation), they also give birth to the largest babies on earth. Their young average out at around 200 pounds! (That would be a big diaper genie.) Once the baby is born, it is all hands on deck. Elephants live in a matriarchal society, so there are plenty of grandmas, aunts, sisters, and cousins to lend a hand, or in this case a trunk. These full-time baby-sitters are called "Allomothers," and they help in every aspect of rearing the young calves. It really does take a village.
Mommy & Me Eles Craft
Nothing is better, or cuter, then remembering how little your little one is with a handprint. Make it even more special by adding your hand with it. You can make your own herd depending on how many you have in your family. All you need is an appropriate sized canvas, some paint, and whatever brushes or markers you want to use to decorate it after. This could also make a mother’s day card for kids.
Red-knobbed Hornbills - The Laid Back Mom
This species of hornbill is only found in the evergreen forests of Indonesia. Some may call their mothering techniques lazy, but we consider them innovative. Generally believed to be monogamous, when pairs have mated, the female will then seal herself inside a tree hole with her eggs. Using her feces. While the first reaction may be to be grossed out, it does create a space to keep her offspring safe. Not only that, but the male will continue to provide food for the female and the chicks through a slit in the seal. Not a bad deal once you get used to a little smell.
Orangutan - The Best Friend Mom
An orangutan baby has one of the longest childhood dependence on it’s mother than almost any other animal in the world, and because of that they form an extremely strong bond. For the first two years of life, the young rely completely on their mothers for food and transportation, and she will continue to nurse until they are around 6 or 7. Orangutan mother’s must teach their offspring how to build nests, how to eat, what areas to avoid, and different tools they can use to help them survive. Female orangutans are also known to “visit” and hang around their mothers until they reach 15 or 16 years old to watch her have another baby, and then learn how to then be the great mother that raised them.
Orangutan Toes Game
Alligator - The Scaley Helicopter Mom
What is common throughout the animal kingdom with reptiles is generally little to no parental care. Besides trying to find a good place to nest, most mothers will lay their eggs and leave the rest up to fate. Alligator mothers however, make sure to stick around to give their little ones the best chance at survival.
Alligator mothers start by making a safe nest with surrounding plant matter to make sure her eggs stay camouflaged and warm during their two-month incubation period. Females can lay between 35 to 50 eggs, and while not all of them are likely to hatch or survive, she will stick close to ensure their protection. Once they emerge from their shells, the mother gently carries them in her jaw to the water, and will continue to protect them from potential predators for up to two years.
Octopus - The Ultimate Sacrifice Mom
Octopus mothers make the ultimate sacrifice. Death. Female octopuses can lay over 50,000 eggs. She will generally find a den, usually some rock and crevice where she can safely watch all of her eggs at a time. She will then spend the rest of her life never leaving their side. For anywhere from 40 days to 10 months, depending on the species and temperature of the water, she is on 24-hour watch. Not only protecting them from any other animal that might try to make them an easy snack, but also continuing to gently blow water and create a current over them to provide oxygen and keep them clean from any parasites. Once her offspring emerge, she will give them one last push to send them on their way to the vast ocean, and by the end of it she is now smaller and weak from starving herself, and will usually pass on, since her work is now done.
This craft doesn’t take much and can be used with any scraps of construction paper, paper plates, even cupcake holders, and some cheerios. Depending on the age of your child, you can adjust it into a fun and interactive counting game. Let them color and decorate their octopus to their imagination’s desire, as many species are able to modify their coloration to help them camouflage to their environment. Then, have some fun glueing on their legs and making their own cheerio suction cups. Did you know that each sucker moves independently and has chemical receptors so that the octopus is able to touch, smell, and even taste where it goes. See suckers in action with the octopus from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Whichever amazing animal mother you relate to more, we at Wildlife Tree wish all the mothers out there a safe and happy Mother’s Day. We hope you are showered with all the love and affection you desire, and maybe get a little peace and quiet too if that is what you need as well. Check out our Facebook and Instagram and let us know if you try out any of the Mother’s Day activities and how you spend the day in the comments below.