Mothers Day USA - Amazing Animal Mothers

Mothers Day USA - Amazing Animal Mothers

Posted on Wednesday 8th May 2019

Categories: Companion Animals, Farm Animals, Wildlife

Amazing Animals - A selection of our fave facts about animal mums!

Amazing Animals; Cows are excellent mothers

Cows are extraordinary mothers and develop very strong relationships with their calves. Cows have strong maternal bonds and are attentive, protective and loving parents. The behaviors associated with maternal care are for the most part like those observed in wild ungulates. These behaviors allow the cow to bond with her calf, protect and provide it with nourishment.

Cows have been known to break through fences, call frantically and walk for miles in search of their babies when they are removed from their side. Mother cows and calves have distinct moos for one another and mothers will continue to call for their babies long after they have been removed from sight.

Cow’s gestation period is nine months. Before giving birth, cows living within an extensive environment will separate themselves from the rest of the herd and in many cases may hide their calves for several days after giving birth.5 

When allowed, a mother cow may subsequently nurse her calf for as long as three years. The mother-calf bond continues after weaning; mothers and their calves remain close to each other for life. 

For more details on dairy cow welfare see

Compassion in World Farming 

For details on how you can remove dairy products from your diet see

The Vegan Society

Amazing Animals: Macaques are excellent mothers and young females learn from their elders

Macaque mums and their infants have interactions in the first months of life that resemble human-baby interactions, exaggerating their gestures, frequent kissing, and sustained mutual gazes. Newborns are sensitive to their mother’s expressions, movements, and calls in the same way that human babies respond to their mothers. Mother macaques and their babies spend more time gazing at each other than at other monkeys in a social group, and mothers affectionately smack their lips at their infants, a gesture that the infants often imitate back to their mothers, demonstrating a mutual appreciation of others’ intentions and emotions.

During their early weeks, juvenile and adolescent females within the mother’s social group are often intensely interested in the infant and will approach the mother and groom her in an attempt to get near. When an infant is off its mother, these young females are likely to try to touch it and to attempt to carry it, but the mother is ever-watchful of this interaction and any sign of distress is likely to elicit an aggressive response towards the younger females. 

For females that ‘obey’ the mother’s strict handling rules, they can be well rewarded and allowed to spend considerable amounts of time with the infant, allowing the mother to feed and groom with other members of the group. This practice of "aunting" behavior seen in young female macaques will have a direct influence on their individual ability to successfully raise infants themselves. It essentially provides them with a priceless opportunity to learn the skills of motherhood through interacting with mothers and infants within their social circles. 

When the infants reach juvenile-hood, they will continue to associate and receive protection from their mothers but they will also spend more time interacting, playing and communicating with adult males as well as females within their social group. But the females in particular are likely to develop and maintain a life-long bond with their mothers.

Click below for details on how you can help macaques in the wild:

Barbary Macaque Awareness & Conservation

Selamatkan Yaki

See below for details on animal free research:

European Coalition to End Animal Experiments

Animal Free Research UK

Amazing Animals; Mother infant polar bear bonds and the importance of communication

Polar bears are relatively quiet animals, but inside the den the cubs are anything but silent. Polar bear cubs hum, scream, cry, moan and groan and each of these vocalisations represents a different intention and emotion for the mother to interpret. 

  • If a cub cannot find its mother, or simply does not get its own way, it produces a distress cry.

  • If a cub is simply not in a good mood, it produces a series of moans and groans to convey its discomfort.

  • In contrast when a cub is content, following a feed or when dozing or sleeping, they produce a comforting humming sound 

  • When a cub is hungry it produces a gulping sound to let its mother know it is ready to eat.

  • And when a cub is nursing, it produces a contented hum.

The cubs chatter instigates a response from the mother, if she feels stressed due to the moans and groans of her cubs she is likely to produce her own chuffing sound in response, and when she is engaged in a grooming session she will also produce her own contented vocalisation.

Finally, after a long day of nursing her cubs, mother polar bears can often be heard snoring.

Knowledge of these vocalisations help us to understand the importance of the maternal infant bond for polar bears and the need for us to protect this bond and ensure that polar bears both in the wild and in captivity can nurse their babies within an undisturbed environment.

For more details on how you can help polar bears in the wild, see:

Polar Bears International 

Amazing Animals; Hens are excellent mothers

Hens possess sophisticated emotional capacities and cognitive abilities, and they demonstrate parental skills like our own with an understanding of their young and a desire to protect them from harm.

This understanding and parental care starts before the chicks are even born. Hens will ‘talk’ or purr to their eggs, and the unhatched chicks will ‘talk’ back to their mothers, letting them know if she needs to move the eggs around the nest to ensure the chicks stay warm within the shell. When the eggs hatch, mother hens are extremely affectionate and dote over their babies. Like any good mother, hens are always thinking about their children’s safety. When chicks stray from view, mother hens have specific calls to beckon them back to her side. If the chicks take too long, or mama hen suspects something has happened to them, she will have a physical reaction, where her heart rates and temperatures both increase demonstrating an understanding of her chicks and the predicament they may be in. 

Newly hatched chicks must learn to recognise food very quickly, so the hen’s behaviour is very important in encouraging chicks to peck at edible items. The hen directs her chicks to appropriate food items by calling and pecking at the ground, and subsequently shows her chicks which items they should and which they should not eat. If a chick is seen eating undesirable items, the mother hen will increase the intensity of her feeding display, scratching and ground pecking more, in response to the errors by her chicks. This demonstrating that the mother cares so much for her chicks she will not let them eat the bad food and she is passing on to her young what she has learnt from her mother. The rudimentary basis for any culture. 

Click here for more details on how you can help hens: 

Amazing Animals: Orangutan mothers really love their babies

Orangutan mothers are single parents and the bond between an orangutan mother and her young is one of the strongest in nature. The mothers stay with their young for six to eight years, teaching them where to find food, what and how to eat, how to avoid predators, and the technique for building a sleeping nest. Female orangutans are also known to “visit” their mothers until they reach the age of 15 or 16. Demonstrating the extraordinary strength of the mother-infant bond. Primatologists believe that orangutans have such long “childhoods” because there is so much that they need to learn before they can live alone successfully.

In many cases, social animals, are unfortunately removed from their mothers at an inappropriate age, to be sold as pets or to be used for photographic opportunities. Artificial rearing disrupts this natural process and often results in socially maladjusted animals which may be difficult to place in a group or lack the skills for normal behaviour. 

Rearing females in isolation can also disrupt their future maternal behaviour, and they are likely to be less attentive to their future offspring. Separation also has a devastating impact on the mother that ‘loses’ her baby.  

Orangutans are no different to us. They raise their young with the same amount of love and care as we raise our own children, and in doing so they help them to develop into well-adjusted young adults with the skills needed to succeed within their own environment. 

See below for details on how you can help conserve orangutans in the wild: 

World Wide Fund for Nature

Orangutan Conservancy

Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation

Orangutan Rescue