1. Mother dolphins sing the best “lullabies”
Dolphin mothers sing signature whistles–usually for the purpose of identifying each other–to their unborn calves.
Scientists believe that dolphins perform this behavior to ensure that their offspring learn their own signature sound prior to birth, and they reinforce this sound to their calves in the weeks following.
Additionally, most dolphins generally give birth to one calf, making this bond particularly powerful.
Dolphin calves will nurse for 1-2 years, and a calf will stay alongside their mother for the next 1-7 years before leaving the nest and venturing off to mate.
2. Mother pigs know best
Just before birth, mother pigs leave their group and begin to search for a safe place to build a nest for their piglets.
This search can sometimes take them miles, but mother pigs won’t settle until they find the perfect home for their babies.
Once a location has been chosen, mother pigs will build the coziest nest by digging a hole and filling it with grass, leaves, and twigs, and then lining the nest with branches.
Pig herds are also matriarchal. Mother pigs lead a herd and will take care of and even nurse one another’s piglets if needed.
A matriarchal herd of several females are enough to hold down the fort as males are not lifelong members of their herds.
Female elephants give birth to a 200-pound baby after nearly 2 years of gestating and nurse their calves for 2-3 years!
Such heavy (and cute) babies require tons of food and care.
Elephant mothers must feed their babies 3 gallons of milk a day, and will continue providing milk for up to 10 years.
Male elephants generallyventure away from the herd to fulfill other purposes, so elephant mothers must raise their babies alone while also fending off predators like prides of lions.
Elephant moms, you are our heroes!
4. Mother otters are the gift that keeps on giving
Female Asian small-claw otters can have litters of up to 6 pups twice a year with a gestation period of just 60 days!
That’s a lot of baby otters, and a lot of mouths to feed.
Luckily, all members of the family group help feed and care for the youngest otters, lightening the load for otter mothers.
Once otters are mature, they can breed year-round, but typically, each litter is born8 or 9 months apart.
5. Mother grizzly bears are brave
There’s a reason “mama bear” is used to describe protective mothers—mama grizzly bears have fierce protective natures.
While other bear species may leave their cubs during an impending threat, a mama grizzly bear will aggressively fight off those who look to harm their cubs, even other male bears: