There really is no love as strong as a mother’s, and when it comes to animals, mums are just as important and involved in their baby’s life as ours are.
Our animal mums have some very cute habits, here are just some of them…
“Hold on tight!”
A baby baboon will never feel alone for the first few months after it’s born, as there will be constant contact between a mum and baby. A baboon mum will carry the infant on her under-belly until it’s big enough to ride on her back, so the bond between the two will be extremely strong. Here, mum will feed the infant, and teach it the dos and don’ts of the big wide world until the infant is ready to go it alone!
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
Rhinos are born without a horn, and since this is their defence against anything that threatens them, rhino calves are seen by their mothers as extremely vulnerable. As such, rhino mums are very protective of their little ones, and rhino calves tend to stay close to their mums at all times, learning things such as eating from them. Because of this, rhino mother and babies can often be seen to be doing similar things, such as our resident rhino mother-daughter duo Meru and Nomvula. There is nothing more important for rhino calves than to learn from their mummies!
“You’re on babysitting duty!”
An elephant calf will primarily be looked after by their mum. But in an elephant herd it is not unusual for the whole group to help look after a little one, especially the young females of the herd. You could say this is preparing them for motherhood! Elephants are also very protective and caring, always giving their young chances to learn with the protective eye of mum nearby.
“Tickle my belly, mummy!”
Lion mums are very affectionate and are protective over their young cubs. Lion mums can often be seen tickling their cubs’ bellies, just as we do with human babies when we try to make them laugh! Lion cubs love to have their belly tickled, just like cats of other sizes. They can also be heard to make purring-type noises – super cute!
“Mum, please stop now, I’m clean!”
Like humans, tiger mums are often worried about their little ones being clean. From birth, tigers are often seen to be cleaning their cubs – holding their cub with their paws and licking them clean. Baby cubs often look unimpressed by this action, but like any caring mother would do, they clean them anyway!
“Always eat your greens, son!”
Despite being able to walk within a few minutes of being born, giraffe babies are still very vulnerable and need lots of looking after by their mums. When they are first born, they drink milk from their mums, helping them to grow up to two inches in a single day – that’s huge! As they get a little older, giraffe mums will show them how to forage for food, and eat from trees and bushes. They also teach the little ones how to look out for themselves when drinking, which is the time giraffes feel most exposed to danger.
“I’ll keep an eye on you, pup!”
Baby meerkats are one animal that really need their mums, as they are born both blind and hairless! Meerkat mummies keep a close eye on their little one even though they grow up quickly, with most meerkats ready to have kids of their own by the time they are one and a half! As co-operative mammals, the whole family pitches in to raise the little pups, but mothers stay close-by their new borns at a time when they are extremely vulnerable.
Have you seen any of motherly animals caring for their young’uns? Let us know in the comments below.