From protective parental polar bears to flirtatious fish, these animals take love to a whole new level.
Everyone knows an elephant never forgets but did you know they are also incredibly loyal? The relationship between the elephant family is unbreakable, especially when it comes to elephant mothers and their babies. Not only do mother elephants carry their babies for 22 whole months (weighing up to 250 pounds!), they also make sure they raise their children every step of the way, protecting them to the death if needs be.
In times of danger, elephant parenting kicks into full force as a group of adult elephants stand in a circle around any vulnerable victims. And if a young elephant is taken by another herd, the whole squad round up the troops and gets together to look more threatening, heading off to get their precious little one back to where they belong.
When an elephant passes away its companions’ morn it’s death by standing silently at the body for days on end, sometimes even retuning to pay homage to the bones. And to comfort each other? They console one another with an elephant hug by putting their trucks into each other’s mouths. You guyssssss.
These red haired apes from South East Asia are pretty damn cute, and their loveable looks ain’t lying. With female orangutans only giving birth around once every eight years, they form an unparalleled bond with their newborn, parenting them for 8 whole years, longer than any other animal single parent. No surprises then that whilst teaching them all the skills they need to go it alone, the mother and baby make aninseparable bond. Sadly, today orangutans are on the endangered species list and the love they really need is from me and you. So, swing along to wwf.org.uk/adoption and become part of this lovable family.
If anyone knows about the art of seduction, it’s seahorses. To spark the romance male and female seahorses flirt by holding tails and swimming snout to snout whilst changing colours to show each other their feelings. Once they’ve done the deed, the male seahorse takes one for the team and carries the litter with the female sticking around until birth, visiting every morning and working her charm to ensure the male continues to nurture their eggs until they hatch. Oh to be a sea horse, right ladies?!
Polar bears are known for being fierce predicators, but polar bear mummas are some of the most dedicated ladies out there. When pregnant, these furry females gain over 200 pounds and spend 9 months tucked up in a tiny den preparing for birth. And, in addition to boredom, they also go 4-8 months without eating anything!
Mother and child will then spend 2-3 years together with the baby polar bears consuming their mother’s milk and mimicking their mothers as they learn to swim, hunt, den and migrate.
Galapagos sea lions
Think you had protective parents growing up? You ain’t seen nothing yet! Groups of up to 30 Galapagos sea lion mothers give birth on a beach whilst under continuous guard by the males. Once born, it’s then off to the ‘nursery pool’ where baby sea lions can play with their fellow peers and be watched over by the eagle eyes of a rotating cycle of females.
This list just wouldn’t be complete without a few Love Birds. But in addition to their name, these colourful creatures are pretty damn romantic, believing monogamy is the key to a successful relationship. Whilst the mother lays her eggs, the male is off getting food for her (he knows the way to a woman’s heart), continuing this behaviour once the chicks are born to ensure they have a constant food supply to build them up.
Sure parenting can be hard, but bringing your baby up in sub-zero Antarctic conditions? Now that’s a real challenge. Male penguins travel far and wide (about 3,100 miles) to find the perfect nesting site for their female loves. When the female arrives to lay her eggs, the penguin parents take it in turns to keep their egg continuously incubated (if it is left in the cold for more than five minutes it will never hatch).
Once the baby is born the hard work just keeps on coming as the parents rotate between one other to go out on fishing expeditions to ensure their new born is well feed. If the father goes missing, the mother must abandon the ship and leave the nest as it’s impossible to bring their chicks up alone. And there we were thinking being a penguin was a waddle in the park!