Mothers Day and Animal Moms

Mothers Day is a great day to celebrate your mom, people who held a mothering role in your life, or your own motherhood.

Mothering in the animal kingdom can be dramatically different compared to the way human moms care for their children. While we do have some things in common, there are other aspects of motherhood that we do very differently.

This Mothers Day, imagine what life would have been like if your mom was one of these animals!

If your mom was a gastric brooding frog, she would have given birth to you by vomiting you up.

Gastric brooding frogs swallow early-stage larvae and brood them in their stomachs. The actual reproductive system is not involved. When it’s time to “give birth”, she expels the fully developed froglets through a process called propulsive vomiting.

If your mom was an elephant, you would have been nursed for two to eight years!

Elephant moms typically nurse their calves until they have another baby. This can last for at least two years but can be up to eight years of lactating. It is a supplemental food source for their baby.

Elephant mother
Shutterstock

If your mom was a fallow deer, she would have left you for two or three weeks after birth!

Immediately after birth, fallow deer moms hide their newborns. She hides them in a patch of vegetation for 2-3 weeks while she spends most of her time away. Mom only returns at intermittent intervals to feed the offspring.

If your mom was a koala, she would have fed you her poop!

“Pap” is the mother koalas feces, but with higher water content and pH than normal. Newborn koalas ingest pap. This inoculates their gut microbiomes with the bacteria that is required once the baby begins to eat eucalyptus.

Koala mother
Shutterstock

If your mom was a reindeer, you would have been expected to keep up or die as a newborn!

Newborns immediately follow their mother after birth. Baby reindeer must remain in very close contact for protection. If they can’t keep up, they die.

If your mom was a rabbit, she would have visited you solely to feed you for approximately 4 minutes per day

For two weeks after birth, mom visits her newborns only once per day. This visit lasts for approximately three to four minutes and is exclusively to feed the babies. There is no cuddling, grooming, or cleaning of the offspring.  

Although there are many similarities between human and animal mothers, there are a lot of differences too!

Happy Mothers Day!


Read more about animal moms in my books!

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