The 10 most amazing moms of the animal kingdom
The animal kingdom at large doesn't celebrate Mother's Day, but there are several animal mommas that definitely deserve a huge bouquet of flowers and breakfast in bed.
Here are 10 of the most amazing (non-human) mums out there.
Number 10: Polar bear
Rearing young in 40 degree below 0 temps doesn't even sound possible, but mama bear makes it work by digging an underground den. She then slips into an 8-month hibernation state while her babies nurse. When it's over, she, having not eaten for the entire duration, goes out and hunts food for them.
Number 9: African elephant
Talk about commitment. The females carry their babies for nearly 2 years before giving birth. The nursing phase that follows can last 3 times that long.
Number 8: Sea louse
This creature gets kudos for going through the worst childbirth on the planet. Her hundreds of babies eat their way out into the world. Sort of like a cesarean, but from the inside.
Number 7: Emperor penguin
After laying her egg, the mother embarks on a 70 mile trek to find a fish to feed her young. The father watches it while she's gone, but when she gets back she has to find them.
Number 6: Red-Knobbed hornbill
Among the ultimate protectors, this Indonesian bird seals herself in the nest with her eggs and doesn't come out till they've hatched. During the two-month period, she goes hungry rather than venturing out for food. The nests are built inside holes in trees, and the bird uses its own feces as a sealant.
Number 5: Harp seal
Talk about self-sacrifice. These moms fast for the entire 12-day nursing period. Over that time, the little one gains 5 pounds a day thanks to the steady diet of 48 percent fat milk. The mother, on the other hand, drops about 80 pounds before it's over.
Number 4: Cheetah
These cats may grow up to be fast, strong predators, but they certainly aren't born that way. Their survival skills are all thanks to mom, who spends up to 2 years teaching them how to stay high up on the food chain.
Number 3: Orangutan
Mother and child relationships in the wild tend to be brief, but not for the orangutan. Kids stay home with their mums for around 6 years and continue to drop by and visit for many, many more.
Number 2: Wolf Spider
Spiders aren't generally known for their strong maternal instincts, but the wolf variety is an exception. She attaches her egg sac to her body and travels with it, even backtracking to find it in the event it breaks free. After the babies are born, she lets them hitch a ride on her abdomen for a week or so.
Number 1: Giant Pacific octopus. This mother will eat her own arm before abandoning her babies. Seriously. She refuses to leave her 200 thousand eggs unattended, and won't go in search of nourishment. If the hunger gets to be too much, she'll start consuming herself.