BC SPCA release their top picks for 'awesome animal moms'

SPCA: Best animal moms

"Just like the human world, the animal world is filled with amazing moms."

It's Mother's Day weekend and the BC SPCA is sharing five awesome animal moms that excel at looking after their young.

"In some cases, and I think some moms reading this can relate, the offspring never leave and rely on their mom for food and protection well into their adult life," the SPCA shared in their news release.

"From the barns to the ocean, this Mother’s Day we celebrate animal moms and their devotion to their young."

First up in mother hens, the feathery parent makes a huge efforts to take care of their chicks.

According to the SPCA, hens cluck and purr softly while they sit on their eggs and turn them as many as thirty times a day, so the embryos learn the sound of their cluck and can recognize it when they are born.

Mom and chicks are inseparable for the first four to eight weeks of their lives and create emotional bonds.

"She teaches them what is good and not good to eat, how to roost, drink, perch and rest and provides heat and protection every night when they gather beneath her wings until they are eight weeks old when mom leaves them to go back to the coop."

Next up is the sea otter. Moms are known for being devoted to their pups, with one each year well into their senior years.

Sea otter pups are born at sea in the winter and are unable to swim or dive, so mom keeps them safe and dry on her belly for the first four months.

Pups will nurse until they are a few weeks old and then their mom will begin to share her prey with them, teaching them what is good to eat.

"Once the pup has learned to swim, mom keeps them close by holding hands with them when they rest or sleep. At between six and eight months the pups are ready to head off on their own," the SPCA said.

Raccoons are next, where their young, called kits, are completely dependent on their mom for up to two months.

Living in a den for their first weeks of live, mom will only leave the kits, whose eyes and ears are closed when they're young, long enough to find food so she can produce enough milk.

Around the two-month mark, mom will take out her young to learn where to go to find food and other survival skills including how to climb.

"She is a patient teacher and if she hears one of her kits calling out because they are stuck in a tree, she will climb up and show them how to get down."

Raccoons will leave their mother’s care between eight and twelve months but will often build dens close to them.

Next up is black bear moms, who are single parents for up to seventeen months.

The mom will look after her cub's feeding, grooming, protecting and teaching.

Newborn cubs weigh between just 225 to 330 grams, about the same weight as two chocolate bars.

They are also blind and toothless, nursing all winter long and into the summer.

"During this time, mom does not eat and relies on the reserves she has built up in her summer and fall feeding. Their reliance on their mother’s milk decreases as they learn foraging skills and by mid-summer they are independent eaters."

The cubs will den with their mother again for their second winter and then they head out on their own in late spring.

Finally, there are Orcas. Their gestation period is between fifteen and eighteen months and their newborn calves rely on their mother’s milk for one to two years before they learn to hunt.

"The level of care required means that moms typically only have one calf approximately every five years. They are the only known species in the world where both the female and male offspring stay with their mothers their entire lives."

As the calves continue into adulthood, moms will still provide protection and find food for them.

"Their devotion to their offspring was never more evident than in 2018 when the world watched Tahlequah, also known as J35, a Southern resident killer whale, carry her dead calf for seventeen days and over 1,600 kilometres. Happily, Tahlequah became a mother again in September 2020."

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