Best animal parents in the world

Posted on Aug 5, 2008 in Size

Best Mum – The orangutan

Orangutans are devoted mums and carry their babies continuously for a year, with many juveniles spending a further year (or two) riding on their mother’s back. Every night, mum makes a fresh nest from sticks and leaves for them to sleep in.

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Best family – The Elephant

Elephants live in a very strong matriarchal society. When a new baby elephant is born, the other “ladies” in the herd all lend a hand, including grandmothers, sisters, aunts and even cousins. These full-time baby sitters are called “allomothers,” and they help in every aspect of rearing the young calves -- so in this case, it really does take a village to raise an elephant!

 

Worst dad – The Japanese cardinalfish

Male Japanese cardinalfish keep their young safely in their mouth until they are mature enough to be released into the ocean. So far, so good. The trouble starts when he spots a good-looking female. Figuring that a single dad isn’t what she’s after, he promptly eats his children and sets off to flirt with the new fish in his life.

 

Worst mum – The Egret

Egret mum breeds three chicks knowing she is going to lose one. She is only capable of raising two chicks but has three as an insurance policy. When she is sure the first two born are healthy and will survive - she lets them kill the third sibling.

 

Best dad – The Emperor penguin

For two months, the male Emperor penguin protects a single egg, allowing it to incubate under his body in the face of the harsh Antarctic winter. Males bulk up for his job and weigh around 40 kilos when they start their epic egg-watch. By the end, they are half this size.

 

Biggest maternal sacrifice – The Octopus

The females giant Pacific octupus (not pictured) makes the ultimate sacrifice for her young. After finding a safe place, she lays tens of thousands of eggs and for the next seven months (or more) she protects them from predators and blows currents of water over them to provide oxygen. But such protective behaviour prevents her from hunting for herself - and she dies shortly after her young emerge.

 

Worst stepdad – The Lion

Male lions are ruthless when they join a pride that is unprotected by other males. They immediately kill all the cubs in that pride. The tactic ensures that the females get back into season eight months sooner than if she’d carried on nursing her cubs - allowing the male lion to produce his own cubs as soon as possible.

 

Best creche – The giraffe

After giving birth a giraffe will closely guard her baby for the first few weeks. She will then join a herd where all the young are cared for in a creche! Each female takes it in turns to do the babysitting while the other females dine out on acacia leaves.

 

Worst stepmum – The Sparrow

Beware sparrow second wives. Because a bigamous male will tend to care only for the chicks he  had with his first partner, the second wife takes drastic action. She kills her lover rival’s children.

 

Why aren’t bats birds?

Answer : In case you haven’t guessed, bats are not birds because they don’t have feathers.

Holy guacamole! I really want to...