Nature has designed beautiful systems to keep the life on this planet ever evolving. Plant or animal, a new life miraculously emerges from an existing one! While mammals give birth to live young, most reptiles, birds and arthropods lay eggs from which the young ones then emerge. While in most mammals, the mother looks after, trains and nurtures her young till she knows that it is ready to take on the world; in most reptile species, the mother’s duty ends with her laying eggs, though she takes every care in the world to keep them as safe as possible. Then there are the doting dads – species in which the male parent is the primary caregiver! Precious moments of interaction between a mother and her young ones are rare to come by, and getting to witness them is surely a blessing. Take a look at the tender side of the wild in these timeless captures.
Elephants may just be the best mothers in the entire animal kingdom! The bond between mother and daughter is unbreakable and they will usually only separate when the mother passes away. Sons, however, are pushed out of the herd around the age of 12 to start life as eligible bachelors.
Photo: A.G. Gangadhar.
Sloth bear mamas keep their babies safe by carrying them on their back. Cubs piggyback on their mum for the first nine months of their lives and stay with her until they turn around two.
Photo: A.G. Gangadhar.
A male Humayun’s night frog cares for his eggs. Perched on a branch, he looks at the translucent eggs that he has fertilised as they gleam like Christmas baubles.
Photo: Karthik A.K.
Striped hyenas are loving parents. Both mum and dad play an equal part in rearing their cubs and bringing them food.
Photo: Baiju Patil.
Leopard moms are masters of hide and seek! When they go out to hunt, they carefully hide their cubs in undergrowth, caves or even hollow tree trunks so that they remain safe from other predators.
Photo: P.S. Weerakoon.
Langurs cradle and nurse their babies just as a human mother does. Humans are primates too, so it’s no wonder that our parenting style is similar to that of monkeys!
Photo: Karun Verma.
Even though she doesn't help them find food, a mamma lynx spider will aggressively guard her egg sac, as well as her spiderlings once they emerge from it. In some species of lynx spiders, the mum will go so far as to starve herself while protecting her eggs.
Photo: Samsul Huda Patgiri.
The young ones of the Nilgiri tahr are referred to as kids! Kids start following their mothers by the time they’re two months old and don’t wean off her till they are almost six months of age.
Photo: Sandesh Kadur and Kamal Bawa.
Sandgrouse parents take turns incubating the eggs and later, teaching their chicks how to forage. The parent birds will soak their soft breast feathers in water and that's where the chick will drink water from!
Photo: Nirav Bhatt.
Tigresses are adoring but firm mums. Just like your mother spends time helping you with homework, tiger mums spend time teaching their cubs how to hunt successfully!
Photo: Aditya Singh.
Gharials are super alert mothers and look out for their babies even before they hatch. Not only does the gharial mum protect her eggs, she also then helps her hatchlings get to water.
Photo: Udyanrao Pawar.
First appeared in: Sanctuary Cub, March 2015.