Humans are a unique species in many ways. One of which is the bond that’s formed between family. The norm is that parents and children will stay in touch throughout their entire lives, often coming together for celebrations, such as birthdays and family reunions. It may come as a surprise to find out that humans are not the only ones who form strong parental bonds.
People often forget that humans aren’t the only species to spend time raising, nurturing, and teaching their offspring. It may be less common in the animal kingdom, but there are indeed other species that form strong parental bonds, that usually last for years or even a lifetime.
For added information, here’s a list of eight wild animals that have strong parental bonds.
They are also known as killer whales, Orcas are often characterized by their predatory nature and tendency to hunt for sport. Still, these creatures form some of the strongest and longest family bonds in the entire animal kingdom. Orcas are born in family groups called pods. Pods are closely bonded and remain together for life, which is around 90 years for orcas. Immediately after birth, a female orca will help their baby swim to the surface for their first breath. In addition, babies will remain close to their mothers while they are still young. Furthermore, female orcas remain with their mothers their entire life. On the other hand. male orcas will leave the pod to mate but eventually return. If you’d like to read more about these marine mammals, you can find more here online.
Elephants have the longest gestation period among other types of mammals. Female elephants will remain pregnant from 20 to 22 months before giving birth, depending on the species. After carrying their baby for so long, it’s no surprise that these animals form strong bonds with their young. Calves are born blind, and mother elephants will nurse their babies anywhere from four to six years. Every female elephant in a herd helps in raising calves. Although male elephants will eventually leave their herd, female elephants stay there for life. On average, elephants usually live between 60 and 70 years old.
- Grey Wolves
Wolves are highly social animals, living together in packs. Wolves often mate for life. A pack typically comprises a male and female pair as parents, along with their puppies from several litters. The leading male and female are usually the only mated pair. They’ll raise the young and teach them to hunt for about 10 months before they’re ready to hunt alongside the adults. Wolves are protective over each other and have their own form of communication for information and warning against danger.
Orangutan mothers carry their babies on their bellies without losing contact for around four months after birth. Thereafter, the baby is entirely dependent on the mother for at least its first two years. Mothers will often stay with their young until they’re about six years old. Often than not, female orangutans will sporadically return to visit their mothers until they’re 15 years old. Additionally, orangutans typically live up to 35 to 40 years.
- Wolf Spiders
As the only arachnid on this list, the parental bond seen in wolf spiders may seem inferior in comparison to the rest of the animals listed here, but it’s still remarkable when compared to most spiders. Wolf spider mothers carry up to 100 babies on their backs for several days after hatching. The mother guards over her hatchlings and protects them from predators until they eventually grow.
- Emperor Penguins
Emperor penguins take turns parenting their young. Once an egg has been laid, the mother heads off to the sea to eat and recover her energy while the father incubates the egg, keeping it safe and warm. This father cares for the egg for around 100 days until the mother returns in time for it to hatch. After that, the mother penguin will take over and feed her young, while the father travels to the ocean for his first meal in months.
Cheetahs are known for being the fastest land mammals, these felines also develop strong maternal bonds. Commonly, female cheetahs will separate from their groups to raise their cubs in isolation. Cheetah mothers usually give birth to around two to six cubs at a time and will move their litter every few days to avoid predators. Moreover, the mother will train her young for up to 18 months before they’re ready to leave.
- African Lions
Lions are social animals. Female lions will care for their cubs until they become independent at around 16 months old. Cubs generally stick around their mothers for up to three years. Like many of the other animals on this list, female lions will stay with their mothers and sisters for their entire life.
As you can see, the animal kingdom is home to several impressive species that form meaningful parental and family bonds, much like humans. As seen with the female orcas and elephants, some of these lifelong bonds appear entirely pure and unconditional. Keep in mind that animals are really not that different in comparison to humans, so, the next time you see one, treat them with compassion like we often do with our own families.