Updated: Dec 20, 2022
Since it is the season to celebrate mothers I wanted to take a look at some magnificent mothers in the animal world. Mothers from many species make big sacrifices and put a lot of energy into their offspring including humans and it is important to acknowledge that. So let's take a look at some stand out moms in the animal world.
Let's take a dive into the Pacific Ocean to find a creature that looks so alien to us. The Giant Pacific Octopus captures the curiosity of many people and for good reason. Something spectacular about these cephalopods is how much effort the mothers put into their offspring. Toward the end of their lives, which is only about 4-5 years, these moms can lay up to 74,000 eggs! Once laid, these moms stay in the small caves with their babies to circulate the water, which is important to prevent algae build up which could suffocate the eggs. These moms will do this for seven months without even eating until the eggs hatch. After that, the mom’s life ends as the babies’ lives begin.
The next mom takes a long time to give birth to the largest baby made on land! The African Elephant gestation period is on average 22 months, and part of the reason for that long period is for the development of their exceptional brain. Baby elephants are born already with an advanced brain, which helps them recognize family structure and learn feeding behaviors quickly. Combined with their large size and already well developed brain, African elephants are already 250lbs when born!
The United States has its own magnificent mom here on the east coast. The Virginia Opossum is North America’s only marsupial, which has a very interesting gestation strategy. Only about 12 days after mating, the babies are born at the size of a dime and follow a licking trail from mom to transition to her pouch. There they stay for about 2.5 months until they become too large for the pouch. This is when it gets crazy! Then the 13 babies who are much bigger now climb onto the mom’s back and stay there as she lugs them all around looking for food. There they stay for about 1-2 months, when they finally are weaned off and begin to live for themselves.
Many mothers throughout the animal kingdom put a lot of effort into their children, including our human mothers. As we celebrate our own magnificent mothers, don’t forget about the magnificent mothers in nature putting all their effort into continuing life and ensuring healthy and successful outcomes for their babies. Do you know of any other magnificent mothers in nature?