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15 of the Best Mothers in the Animal Kingdom

best mothers in the animal kingdom
Image via Depositphotos

There’s one thing that connects all species on our planet, humans and animals alike: the lengths that mothers will go to to protect their beloved babies. Here’s 15 of the best mothers in the animal kingdom and what makes them so incredible.

#1 Elephants

Elephant Spraying Water.
Image by fouroaks via Depositphotos.

Elephant mothers carry their unborn for nearly 22 months, the longest gestation period of any land animal, and their calves are nurtured and protected by the entire herd.

#2 Orangutans

Orangutan
By Sadarachmat – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=100415395

As one of the most attentive parents in the wild, orangutan mothers typically care for their young for about eight years, teaching them vital survival skills such as foraging and nest-building.

#3 Polar Bears

Polar bear with her cubs.
Polar bear with her cubs. Image by SURZet via Depositphotos

Polar bear mothers brave harsh Arctic conditions to build a den and give birth, then spend two years teaching their cubs to hunt and survive in one of the world’s toughest environments.

#4 Octopuses

octopus
By Sylke Rohrlach – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46787489

A female octopus lays thousands of eggs and then guards them tirelessly without eating, sacrificing her own life to ensure they hatch safely.

#5 Alligators

Alligator
Image via Depositphotos

Despite their reputation as lethal predators, they’re also one of the best mothers in the animal kingdom. Alligator mothers fiercely guard their nests before the eggs hatch and continue to protect their young from predators for up to a year.

#6 Wolves

wolf pup
Image by Havranka via Depositphotos

Wolf mothers not only feed and protect their pups, but also teach them the complex social structures and hunting techniques necessary for pack life.

#7 Cheetahs

Cheetah cub walks through grass on savannah
Image via Depositphotos

Cheetah mothers are solitary animals that raise their cubs in environments full of predators, constantly relocating to keep them safe until they can fend for themselves.

#8 Killer Whales

orca
A Bigg’s orca whale jumping out of the sea in Vancouver Island, Canada. Image by Wirestock via Depositphotos

Killer whale mothers live in matrilineal societies, where they help raise and teach not only their own calves but also the young of other females in their pod.

#9 African Wild Dogs

Wild dogs
Image by Bayazed via Depositphotos

Known for their cooperative pack structure, female African wild dogs often assist each other during birthing and help feed and care for pups that are not their own.

#10 Kangaroos

Baby Kangaroo
Image by Melanie de Coster via Unsplash

Kangaroo mothers carry their joeys in their pouches for up to a year. This not only provides shelter but also transportation and protection as the joeys grow and develop.

#11 Lions

Tiny lion cubs with mother.
Tiny lion cubs with mother. Image by lifeonwhite via Depositphotos

Lionesses in a pride often synchronize their breeding to share the responsibilities of nursing and protecting each other’s cubs. Isn’t it incredible to think that they purposefully create a communal environment for the young?

#12 Giraffes

giraffe
Image via Depositphotos

Giraffe mothers give birth standing up, requiring the newborns to endure a six-foot drop into the world, after which mothers fiercely defend their calves from predators.

#13 Bison

bison
Bison calf sucking its mother. Image by wrangel via Depositphotos

Bison mothers are vigilant protectors. They use their massive size and strength to shield their calves from predators and lead them through the herd to ensure safety.

#14 Emperor Penguins

new emperor penguin colonies
Image by Iherphoto via Depositphotos

Female emperor penguins lay a single egg and then bravely endure the harsh Antarctic winter to forage for food, returning to feed their newly hatched chicks amid some of the coldest climates on Earth.

#15 Sea Otters

Sea otter (Enhydra lutris) swimming in the sea.
Sea otter (Enhydra lutris) swimming in the sea. Image by wrangel via Depositphotos

Sea otter mothers are known for their tenderness, floating on their backs while holding their pups on their chests to keep them warm and safe from ocean dangers.

Wrapping Up

Lion cubs in a morning light at Amboseli
Lion cubs in the morning light at Amboseli, Kenya. Image by RealityImages via DepositPhotos

Looking at this list, we’re reminded that mothers across the world and all sorts of species have one thing that connects them: their powerful love for their babies that will make them protect them at all costs.

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