Over the centuries, humankind has continued to drift further from nature, with insular technologies and social media among the culprits behind our increasingly antisocial behavior. We as humans are fortunate to have the means to create comfort, entertainment, and innovation. Even amidst all of the artifices that surround us, we are still primal at our innermost core. Perhaps the greatest example of this is the bond between mother and child.
There is something truly extraordinary about where we begin our lives and how much we can do throughout them. Without the dedication, sacrifice, and courage of great mother's we would be a far worse society than we are. In giving thanks to Mother's around the world this Mother's Day, check out these 4 animal moms and what makes them so incredible.
A herd of African Elephants is a matriarchal society. From the very beginning these mom's are bearing the weight of their entire species - literally. Calves are routinely born around 200 pounds, and are immediately introduced to a circle of caring females who nurture the calf through its juvenile years. Speaking of circle, when threatened, the elders encircle their young in a formidable defensive formation. They truly go the extra mile for their young.
The American Alligator is one of the most intimidating mom's out there. Her nest is as eco-friendly as they come, a simple heap of rotting vegetation. Alligators in Florida begin mating in early April, and are extremely territorial. Whether hiking in the deep Everglades or simply spending time near local waterways, be wary of alligator mothers. The mother 'gators carry their young in their jaws to water, ushering them into the next stages of their life and eventual independence. From egg to river, these prehistoric reptile mom's ferociously defend the future of their species.
The world's fastest land mammal is also one of the world's most caring moms. At any given time, a cheetah can have a litter of 4 to 6 cubs to tend to. Cheetah cubs aren't born with their innate survival instincts. It's up to mom to teach the cubs everything they need to know. While some animals are built with greater ingrained proclivities, cheetah cubs require human-like attention from their mother to reach maturity and survive on their own. Cheetah mom's are among the best teachers in the natural world, who's patience is an inspiration.
The orangutan is the ultimate mom-on-the-go. She spends much of her time in the canopies of her Southeast Asia jungle habitat. Each night she fashions a new nest made of sticks and foliage, and never let's go of her young. Male orangutans are more independent, with adults often arriving just to mate. Even young male orangutans leave the nest sooner, with the females remaining to learn the necessary family-building skills to move forward. Orangutans also nurse their young for six to seven years! This is the longest dependency phase seen in nature.