Making your world a better place

Learn more

Mums of the Animal Kingdom – Mother’s Day Special


ow does your mother compare to the mums of the animal kingdom?

Mums are pretty great; they feed us, teach us, nurture and love us. It's much the same with mothers of the animal kingdom.

Just in time for Mother's Day in Australia - we look at the different types of mums across all species and compare the similarities and differences to our own.

Animal mothers are born with similar maternal instincts as humans. They teach their young survival skills before releasing them on their own, independent journey.

Animals are also known to adopt and foster other animals that aren't their own – including animals from other species, just like humans do.Elephant mothers are known as one of the most dedicated species to their young. This begins from the 22-months they spend being pregnant with their calves. In the droughts of the African desert, calves sometimes don’t survive and although the herd has to move on for a chance to find food and water, elephant mums are known to stay with their young until the very last breath. She loves her young so much she is willing to sacrifice her own chance of survival to make sure her baby is never left alone.

Elephant's passion to protect their young doesn’t stop at the mothers either. Moving in herds, elephants have a comprehensive support network of other female elephants, better known to us as aunts, sisters and grandmothers. It really does take a herd of elephants to raise a calf!

Chimpanzees are one of our closest evolutionary relatives. Just like humans, mother chimps teach their young how to catch termites and teach them which ones are good to eat. Baby chimps are just like baby humans as well - if they lose sight of their mums, they will whimper and cry until the mum comes back.

The strawberry poison dart frog is an interesting one, and not just because of its name. The mother frog is committed enough to find a different plant for each one of her tadpoles to ensure their chance of survival. She is devoted to doing this because intuitively she knows that if she doesn’t, they will eat each other. Yikes!

In the underwater world, octopus mums are at the top of the list. Once she lays her eggs, she stays with her babies out of protective intuition, a lot of the time to the point where she will starve herself to death. Not only are octopus mums highly dedicated to their offspring, but the fact she nurtures thousands, upon thousands of baby octopuses at once, definitely deserves a gold star on our list.

We couldn’t end the list without including one of our own native animal supermums – the koala. We are not entirely sure about how we feel about the way she cares for her young, but we are definitely intrigued by it. Koalas feed on highly poisonous eucalyptus leaves, which they have built up tolerance to. As her young haven’t developed these powers, the mother builds up her young’s tolerance through feeding her own faeces to them. She also cares for her babies inside her pouch for six months, making her one pretty awesome mum.