May 12, 2013
Mommy Knows Best…Or Worst
Happy Mother’s Day! Yes, it is that time of year again when we celebrate our mothers, wives, grandmothers, sisters, and friends. Hopefully our mothers are honored more than just this one day a year, but this day is special for them. Today we honor their roles in our lives and the love they gave us. In celebration of Mother’s Day, I thought I would write a blog about the best and worst animal mothers. National Geographic inspired this blog with its own article and videos about the best and worst animal mothers. Let’s take a look at some of those.
I like to end on a good note, so let’s get the worst one out of the way. The worst mother as recognized by National Geographic is the burying beetle. Okay, so let me make this very clear. The burying beetle raises her kids inside a corpse, often a rodent. She prepares the corpse so that it will provide food. The mom secretes chemicals all over the dead body to preserve it so that it does not spoil. This turns it into a perfect feeding place as well as a nursery for the offspring.
Now, even though she raises her young in a corpse, it is so that they have food, which is kind of a good mom move. It is still a dying, rotting being, though. Oh, and did I mention that she also eats her offspring. Yeah, if there is not enough food, the burying beetle mother will eat the weaker young so that the stronger offspring will live. Gross, I know. That is why she is the worst animal mom.
National Geographic acknowledged three animals as good moms: kangaroos, polar bears, and walruses. Of the three, you might be surprised that they deemed the walrus as a “world-class” mom, so that is the animal I am going to talk about here.
Now you may not have realized it, but the walrus really is the best mom—nurturing, motherly, loving, and cuddly. Yep, walrus moms actually hug and cuddle with their babies despite the fact that at birth baby weighs in at 100 pounds. Nonetheless, Mom still is cuddly and nurturing. The whiskers that both mom and baby have help mother and baby memorize each others’ faces so that they always know when they are together. This is important because often other female walrus will join mother and baby to help protect the calf as it grows.
Walrus moms nurse for up to two years, which means she also teaches the baby walrus much. One important lesson is teaching how to get out of the water, which is not easy since babies start life at 100 pounds. Because of her intense protection and long nurturing, walrus moms win as best animal mom. Plus, the hugging is pretty darn cute.
To all the mothers out there, may you have a wonderful day and a beautiful year. Thank you for your hugs, your lessons, your protection, and even your feedings. You have sacrificed much for your babies, but we have not forgotten it. Today, we honor you. Know that your love helped us become who we are, whether that be animal, insect, or human. Happy Mother’s Day!
Image Credit: Yalcin Sonat / Shutterstock