If you’re reading this, you’re probably a human. (If you’re not a human, for the love of Thor call me! We’ll win a Nobel Prize!) As humans, we like to celebrate things. Hey, anything to have cake at work, am I right? Sometimes those things we decide to celebrate are actually worth it. Like Mother’s Day. Come on. This person gave birth to you. Give her a day. (Hi Mom! Love you!)
But it’s very anthropocentric of us to focus exclusively on human moms. There are so many mothers elsewhere in the animal kingdom that deserve a shout-out.
1. Giant Pacific Octopus
Talk about a devoted mom! The Giant Pacific Octopus will cannibalize herself rather than abandon her lair full of eggs. She almost starves herself to death in order to make sure her offspring hatch. Just hatch. Once the little guys burst forth, she wanders away, weak and vulnerable to predators.
Female seahorses famously don’t give birth to baby seahorses. The fertilized eggs are implanted in the male and the male gives birth 9-45 days later. But mother seahorses get props for bucking gender roles!
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
We tend to think of non-human animal life as nasty, brutish, and short. Once you can ambulate on your own, you get kicked out of the nest, so to speak. However, this isn’t true for all animals. For example, orca mothers seem to be crucial to the survival of their sons. Researchers have found that, for male orcas over 30, the death of his mother makes it 14 times more likely that the male offspring will die in the next year. The female orca is one of the few species to have a significant life after reproduction, and this seems to be to ensure that their sons get some action, thereby ensuring the continuation of their genes.
No list of sea creatures of any kind is complete without a mention of manatees. (What can I say? They’re the best. And very calming.) The Florida manatee only has one baby every two to five years, so it has to count. Even though baby manatees are weaned about a year after birth, they hang around with mom for up to two years. During that time they learn all the tricks of the trade, like learning where all the good food and warm water is.
5. Bottlenose Dolphins
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Not only are bottlenose dolphins wicked smart, but they are good mothers, too. Sometimes, after the birth of the calf, an “auntie dolphin” will assist the mother and the calf. This dolphin is the only one the mother will allow around the calf. The mom also spends a lot of time directing the calf’s movements by allowing the calf to swim in the slip stream created in her wake.
Those are just a few awesome moms to celebrate on Mother’s Day!