We have all heard wonderful stories about animals' maternal instincts. Many mothers find resources to protect their young and to continue their species. Here are a few animal parents who aren't so exemplary!
The giant teddy thought to be harmless is actually a negligent parent! Pandas usually give birth to twins, but even so, they almost never take care of more than one cub. When the mother gives birth to two little ones, she leaves the weaker cub in favour of the stronger sibling.
The black eagle
Any mother knows the struggles with sibling squabbles. For black eagles, instead of breaking up the fight, the mother lets them get on with it, even if one sibling ends up getting badly hurt or even dies.
The harp seal
For the first twelve days of the pup's life, the mother seal stays highly dedicated to her little ones, but as soon as that time has gone, she leaves her pups and is ready to mate again. They are left stranded and vulnerable to predators. For the next month and a half they lose half of their body weight until they are ready to swim and catch their own food. Sadly, 30% of harp seal pups die during the first year of their lives.
Fortunately, there are also the exemplary mothers, for example the groundhog. Infants stick around home for about two to three months after being born. The mother stays close to her babies to keep them warm and even kisses them, but also ‘pats’ the more restless ones on the nose!
Orangutan mothers and their babies have a special bond. During the first two years, the babies rely entirely on their mothers for food and transportation. The mothers stay with their young for six to seven years and teach them how to find food, build nests, and how to eat.
The wolf spider
Another example is the wolf spider. She carries her young on her back until they are developed enough to be able to walk alone. It is not uncommon to see a big spider with a ‘wiggling’ back full of hundreds of little spiders! She may be a good mother, but not exactly a good partner...Some aggressive female wolf spiders eat their partners before mating!
What do you think about these different animal parents?