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Nature’s Meanest Mommies

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One bit of advice to female house sparrows: watch your backs, girls. Male sparrows, known for their randy polyamory, mate with a variety of females–and like any raging two-timed female, mommy house sparrows don’t take too kindly to it. Female house sparrows will often seek out the nest of another female that her partner has mated with, and will then proceed to kill that female’s young–removing the “competition” to ensure that the male spends as much time as possible helping to raise her babies instead. Ultimately she is doing right for her own offspring, but, so much for the step-daughters.

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Read more: Cute Pet Photos, Nature & Wildlife, Other Holidays, Pets

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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5:21PM PDT on Jul 22, 2014

noted, but also wonder how many offspring would survive if they weren't this way.

8:26AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

interestingto see how nature goes for the stronger to preserve teh species even if it's at the cost of actual lives....yet then you find animals from different species that adopt one another or befriend one another

9:13PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Auuuugh. Not exactly a feel good article, but fascinating!

2:13AM PST on Jan 28, 2012

Oh my, and most of them looked so cute and sweet--I guess that's REALLY nature in the raw!!

10:36AM PST on Jan 26, 2012

Thanks for introducing us to the Joan Crawfords of the animal world.

10:34AM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

o.m.g. T-T

10:36PM PDT on Aug 26, 2011

i swear i thought humans were going to be somewhere on the list...

8:41AM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

Proving once again that people are NOT animals. Animals do not know good and evil only man. (but kill offspring for the next new male? Sounds like America today. Isn't that what Oboma is doing? Killing our freedom na dthose who support it to bring in his 'offspring'?)

7:09PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

I can't imagine a hamster being much meaner than nibbling on my fingers!

11:13AM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

Very interesting and wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing.

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