HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES!
While we celebrate and remind the world of the importance of families in human society, let’s not forget that equally loving families exist in the animal kingdom! Here are five of our favourite animal family facts.
PANDA: THE PRECIOUS BABY
Female pandas are only fertile once a year and won’t mate again until baby is good and ready to leave home. A female panda usually gives birth to only one cub around five months after mating. It is extremely rare for her to give birth to twins. The mother panda will then devote the next two years to single-handedly raising her baby.
ORANGUTAN: MUMMY’S BOY/GIRL
Of all mammals (apart from humans!), orangutans share the most loving relationship between mother and young. Mums carry their babies for the first five years, and may suckle them for six or seven years. They also stay as each other’s closest companion for the first eight years of a young orangutans life.
TIGER: THE LONER
Most tigers are loners. They mainly live an isolated existence with exception of when they are courting, mating, or raising their offspring in case of females since male tigers do not bear the responsibility of raising cubs. The most social activities takes place when a mother has her cubs.
A herd of elephants is led by a matriarch, which is the female head of the family. The family consists of a matriarch, her daughters and their calves. Female elephants assist each other with the delivery and care of their offspring. Such “babysitting” ties are very rare among other animals.
PENGUIN: I COMMIT TO YOU
Most penguins are monogamous. Partners stay loyal to each other for the duration of mating season and in many cases, for most of their lives. Both the mother and the father share responsibility in raising the chick. After laying an egg, the mother goes off to hunt for food and the father is in charge of keeping the egg safe and warm by balancing the egg on their feet and covering it with a ‘brood pouch’.