Animal Parents

Mother giraffe loving her calf
Image Credit: Flickr User TheGrantPeters, via CC

Different parents have different parenting styles. Have you ever imagined how animal-parents would take care of their children in the wild? Here are some fascinating facts about strange parents of the wild.

Alligator with its baby
Image Credit: Flickr User mbarrison, via CC

“Not only do they make good boots but also good parents”
Alligators Scary reptiles, it is difficult to imagine them as loving parents, right? However, alligators are quite good as parents. The female builds a nest of mud, leaves and straws when she is ready to lay eggs. Now, she does not give her body-heat to incubate the eggs, but tries to keep the temperature warm enough inside the nest (that is what the leaves and straws are for!). When the baby is ready to come out, the mother digs the hatchling out of the nest and carries it to the water in her mouth. The father watches the process but stays away from the nest. If a hatchling needs help in coming out of the egg, both the parents try to break the egg to help the baby out and help it take its first swim. The hatchling while swimming can even rest on top of its parent’s body – as if it were an island. Cute huh!

Poison dart frog carrying tadpoles on back
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“Ain’t no tree high enough”
Poison Arrow Frog – This species of the poison dart frogs or arrow frogs are devoted parents. The female lays the eggs while the male watches over the eggs. Once the tadpoles have hatched out, the mother frog carries them one by one on her back high up on the tree. Then she goes on top the leaves and inside the flowers which have pools of water collected on them. The mother has a sticky mucus on her back that lets her climb the trees without worrying about the tadpole falling off. Stuck to mama, huh!

 “I love you that is why I push you”
Giraffe – Mama Giraffe keeps her baby in the tummy for 15 months. When the baby is born  it is 2 meters tall and falls straight to the ground. Mama Giraffe looks lovingly at her baby and then starts to kick it. Surprised? It is true. The kicking goes on until the baby Giraffe gets up on its feet and takes a step or two. Mama Giraffe is then proud of her baby and backs off. You might say that it is very strange of the mother to kick her new born, but it is very important for the giraffe to start walking right away – to survive in the wild. There is a valuable lesson hidden in this. And that is – sometimes when your parents act strict, you should know that it is for your own good. Remember the mama giraffe the next time you are getting a little scolded. At least your mama is not kicking you! Ha!

Discus watching over her eggs
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My sweat is your food
Discus fish – While it is true that parents sweat out to make a comfortable life for their kids, it is literally true for Discus fish. Discus fish are really caring parents, and their parenting is very unlike other fish. Most fish don’t care about their fry (you do know that small fishes are called fry, right?). And most fish leave their fry to fend for themselves. Discus fish however do not leave their fry alone, ever. The little ones can nibble on a mucus like sweaty substance that cover the Discus parents. Moreover, the parents take turns feeding their fry. Now that is really sweating out for the young ones, isn’t it?

Seahorse ready to give birth
Image Credit: Flickr User 4nitsirk, via CC

“Daddy day care”
Seahorse – This species is the only known species where the father gives birth to babies. The male has a brood pouch in its abdomen and carries the eggs for almost 45 days. The pouch breaks, and the seahorses are ready to be released in the water. These tiny seahorses are then on their own.

Cuckoo being fed by adopted parent
Image Credit: Flickr User Frankzed, via CC

“Sweet voice but not a sweet bird”
Cuckoo –  While Cuckoo’s songs are sweet, some species of these birds are not good parents. They are infamous for laying their eggs in other birds’ nest. Their eggs are colored and match the eggs of the host bird. The host bird can be of the same species or it can be different, like a crow . The egg shells have two layers so that they do not break when they are dropped in other bird’s nest.

Weren’t these interesting bit of facts about some parents from the wild. And I know what you are thinking now. East or west your parents are the best!

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