Mother animals are some of the most selfless and caring creatures on earth. They sacrifice their own comfort to ensure the safety and well-being of their young. From elephants to polar bears, many species demonstrate incredible dedication and affection for their babies. Here are the top 12 best mother animals in the world.
1. Giant Pacific Octopus
Giant Pacific octopuses are one of the best mother animals in the world. The female will do everything for their offspring, including sacrificing herself. Because of the harsh environment, the giant Pacific octopus lays as many eggs as she can, the numbers can be up to 74000 eggs.
She then attached the eggs to the hard surface of the sea bottom. For the next 7 – 8 months, the mother dedicatedly cared for them without leaving a minute. This helps the female to protect her eggs safe and sound from predators and keep the eggs in the best condition. You can see the way giant Pacific octopuses take care of their offspring here.
During this time, she starves herself and relies on the lipids and proteins in her body to survive. When the eggs hatch, the mother dies shortly after that. She completes the life cycle of the octopus by passing her generation.
2. African Elephant
African elephants are the biggest mammals on earth. They’re also the best mother animals with the longest gestation period – 2 years. Their calves are the biggest newborn babies on land. They can weigh up to 200 pounds (90 kg). When these factors are considered together, it is clear that African elephants have a lot of difficulties to have a baby.
For the first 2 – 3 years of their lives, the calves are totally dependent on their mothers for nutrition and other skills in life. Fortunately, other members of the herd also take responsibility for raising the calves.
Elephants are emotional and smart. They can remember really well, they can do the math, differentiate languages and voices, help each other and honor their dead. You might read our “Amazing elephant facts” to know how intelligent and remarkable they are.
Alligators are highly compassionate mothers, despite their harsh appearance. They make their nests among greenery and rotting compost so that the eggs can be incubated by natural heat. In the meantime, the mothers will protect the eggs from threats.
When the eggs hatch, the mother alligator will grab her offspring in her mouth and bring them safely into the water. This also protects them from predators. This is an excellent technique because there’re not many species, even humans, have enough braveries to approach an alligator’s jaw.
The alligator mom is the most protective mother animal. They will continue to protect her newborns for the next 2 years. This is significant because there are many threats to juvenile alligators. It’s estimated that up to 80% of them are killed by predators.
4. Surinam toad
Eggs of toad or frog species are very vulnerable. Surinam toads know this, or at least I think they know it. That’s why they choose a very different way to reproduce. After the male fertilizes the eggs, he will put the eggs back into the female’s body, specifically her back. The skin grows over the eggs during the next three days, wrapping them in protective chambers.
You can see the full reproductive process of Surinam toads in our article.
Surinam toads deserve to be the best animal moms in the world. They will carry their offspring, look after them, and protect them till they go out. They will be safe from predators during the hatching, larval, and tadpole stages here. When it’s time, the young will break the skin and emerge.
After all the young are out, the back skin of the mother regrows and remains unaffected until the following mating season.
5. Emperor penguin
Emperor penguins are not only the best mother animals, but they are also the best father of the year. Both males and females are the best animal parents.
After laying an egg, the mother depletes all her food stores. That’s why she has to give the egg to the male. This act requires extreme caution from both of them because any carelessness can cause the chick to dead.
After the transfer, the mother leaves for nearly 2 months on a hundred-mile journey to look for fish. The female will stay at the colony to incubate the egg. During this time, the emperor penguin fathers don’t eat anything for almost 4 months. You might read our article to know how awesome parent emperor penguins can be.
6. Gray Kangaroo
After a 36-day gestation period, a baby gray kangaroo is born. They then find their way to the pouch of the mother, just like Koala babies do. The joey will stay there for prolonged gestation and nursing until they’re big and tough enough to ultimately emerge, around 9 months.
Female kangaroos can get pregnant quickly, implying that they are practically always pregnant. If they have 2 babies at various stages of development at the same time, the mother can make two kinds of milk at the same time to make sure that each joey gets the nutrition it requires
To be the most motherly animals, the gray kangaroo mothers can also stop the development of an embryo if necessary, preventing her from giving birth until a prior joey is ready to exit her pouch.
Speaking of the most caring mother animals, you can’t miss orcas, a.k.a killer whales. After giving birth, the orca mothers have no time to rest. In the first month, the newborn calves do not sleep at all. This means the mothers don’t do either. They just swim ceaselessly to evade predators and accumulate critical stored fat and strength.
The young don’t have enough strength, their mortality rate is very high, about 37 – 50%. That’s why the killer whale mothers have to stay with them to protect them. The connection between the mother and her offspring is very strong, these bonds can remain forever if the orcas stay with their pod for their entire lives.
These killer whales are the most fearsome predators of the food chain. They have different hunting techniques for each target prey. You can see how orcas hunt their prey here.
8. Strawberry poison dart frog
Strawberry poison dart frogs deserve to be on the list of best mother animals in the world. After laying eggs on the rainforest floor in Costa Rica, these mothers will wait till they hatch. Then, they put their offspring on her back and start their journeys.
The strawberry poison dart frog mother climbs to 100-foot heights to lay them in water pools made of bromeliad leaves. She then feeds her tadpoles her unfertilized eggs until they transform into froglets.
9. Taita African caecilian
These amphibian mothers have their very own way to take care of their offspring. When the eggs hatch, the wormlike amphibian female develops an additional, nourishing skin layer. This layer will be fed to her offspring. This is known as dermatotrophy.
Every 3 days, this layer will be regenerated till the young are self-sufficient. Although the process seems painful, it doesn’t damage the mother.
10. Wolf spiders
Unlike other spiders, wolf spiders cannot just put their eggs in a silken pouch and let them be. Like the Surinam toad mother, the wolf spider mom has to take the egg sac with her all the time. If it falls off, the spider will desperately seek it.
When the eggs hatch, the female spider has to continue to bring them on her back. Her work’s only done when the baby spiders are ready to leave their mother and head to life.
To prepare for their chicks, the hornbill mothers will make a nest within the hollow of a tree. When they’re about to lay eggs, they use fruit and mud to lock themselves inside the nests. They just leave a small gap to take food from the males. Some mothers will be even more careful. They break the nest and rebuild it in order to keep the chick secure for a little longer.
If you think elephants are the best mothers in the animal kingdom, you might want to reset your mind when knowing about orangutan mothers. In the animal kingdom, there are no mothers (except humans) that take care of their young for such a long time as orangutans.
These mothers have to nurse their kids for 8 years, and they do it alone. For the first four months of the babies’ lives, their moms carry them and never let them go without personal contact. Mothers will teach their young how to find food and build nests during this time.
Those are the best mother animals in the world, from the Surinam toad that carries her eggs with her wherever she goes to the orangutan who nurtures her young for up to 8 years. Many animals possess incredible abilities when it comes to nursing their young. In your opinion, what animal makes the best mother?