Mother’s Day is a special day to celebrate everything that your mother does for you—and it’s also a time to celebrate all the amazing moms of the animal kingdom. Like human moms, animal moms love their babies, form strong bonds with them, and would do anything to protect them.
Alligator moms lay their eggs in a nest of rotting plants. This compost gives off heat, meaning that she doesn’t have to sit on her nest to keep her eggs warm all day. Get this: If the nest is 88 degrees or colder, only females will hatch. If it’s 91 degrees or warmer, the eggs will be male! The mama alligator will gently carry the babies from the nest to the water in her mouth.
Like many animals, mother cows and calves develop a strong bond right at birth. Throughout their lives, they enjoy hanging out with each other. However, if they’re separated (which happens to every mom and calf on dairy farms), mother cows have been known to escape and travel miles while searching for their babies.
Dolphin pods swim together in sync, and mothers and babies practice synchronized breathing for the first few weeks of the baby’s life. Dolphin mothers nurse their babies for up to 10 years. Mothers also have younger dolphins babysit, which helps prepare them for having babies of their own.
Elephant moms are pregnant for 22 months, and their babies weigh 200 pounds at birth. Elephants live in a matriarchal society—which means the moms are in charge! Mothers and daughters have close relationships for their entire lives.
Emperor penguin parents share the work of caring for a baby equally. The moms lay the eggs, and the dads protect them while the mom travel up to 50 miles to get food. After the babies hatch, the moms regurgitate—that means spit up food that’s already been swallowed—the food they’ve traveled so far to find and feed it to the babies. Then it’s dad’s turn to eat while mom keeps the baby warm.
Mother and baby seals can find each other out of thousands of other seals by recognizing one another’s voices. They will call out to each other back and forth until they’re united. It’s kind of like a game of Marco Polo!
Octopuses can lay up to 50,000 eggs at a time. But even with so many eggs, that doesn’t mean they don’t take special care of them. That’s motherly commitment!
Orangutan moms make a new nest high up in the trees EVERY night. Baby orangutans remain dependent on their moms the longest of any mammal—they nurse for up to seven years.
Mother polar bears put on 400 pounds when they’re going to have a baby. They give birth while hibernating. So they sleep though the whole thing! Polar bears usually give birth to twins.
Show appreciation to moms this Mother’s Day by recognizing moms of all species.