It's Mother's Day! If you haven't called your mom/grandma/aunt yet to thank her for raising you to be the fantastic person you are, get on it!
Mothers are incredible beings, and I'm not just talking about the human ones. There are great moms all over the animal kingdom as well! True, not all animal moms stick around to watch their offspring grow up (I'm looking at you, sharks) but many of these animals show the same care and dedication to their young that your mom showed to you! Below are just a few of my favorite animal moms.
Octopus moms give up everything, and I do mean everything, for their babies. For example, a mother Giant Pacific octopus breeds and lays up to 100,000 eggs near the end of her lifetime. She hangs her eggs on the ceiling of her den and spends the rest of her life protecting her eggs from predators, blowing water over the eggs through her siphon (a straw-like tube on the side of her mantle) and forgoing food. After the eggs hatch, she dies. Motherhood is a huge sacrifice for octopus mamas!
("Surinam toad", n.d.)
Surinam toads have babies in a fantastically freaky way. Once the male toad fertilizes the female's eggs, he pushes them back onto her skin, which they stick to ("Surinam toad", n.d.). The female toad's skin closes around the eggs and eventually the baby toads will emerge from her back! Once all of her young are born, the mother toad will shed this layer of skin.
Kangaroo moms can raise three babies at one time! Due to a marsupial's unique reproductive system, a mature female kangaroo can be almost constantly pregnant! As Ed Yong (2012) puts it, "While one joey is developing inside the pouch, another embryo is held in reserve in a uterus, waiting for its sibling to grow up and leave". Imagine all of those baby showers!
Elephant gestation lasts a lengthy 20 months! The mother elephant will often give birth surrounded by the rest of her family who protect her from any predators ("Elephants", 2017). Once the (at least) 200 pound baby elephant is born the entire herd slows their pace so that the newborn can keep up ("Elephants", 2017). Mom then teaches her calf about which plants are good to eat and how to gather them.
So thanks to all moms, human or not, for all of the hard work they put into raising their babies. What other animal moms do you admire? Let me know in the comments and happy Mother's Day! Love you, Mom!
Elephants: Birth & Care of Young. (2017). Retrieved May 14, 2017, from https://seaworld.org/en/animal-info/animal-infobooks/elephants/birth-and-care-of-young
Surinam Toad. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2017, from http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/surinam-toad
Yong, E. (2012, April 17). Kangaroos have three vaginas. Retrieved May 14, 2017, from http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/04/17/kangaroos-have-three-vaginas/#.WRjey-vyuM8