Have you ever looked at other animals and thought that maybe you could learn something from them about parenting? Okay, probably not, but it’s pretty interesting that, just like humans, the same species will incorporate different parenting tactics to raise their young.
In The Queen Bee’s Guide to Parenting, you can see how a Queen bee will raise their broods differently. The first brood of daughters is designated as ‘child care’, while the second brood is groomed into future queens. How do you make for a sexy male Zebra Finch? They’re raised by single mothers, of course! What about a species of Macaque that are more sociable when they share a friendly relationship with their mother?
What about the less appealing side of nature where a mother goes above and beyond just to guarantee the safety and survival of her offspring? Brood parasitism, or nest parasitism, is where a female bird lays her eggs in another species’ nest, so that the mother bird of the nest is forced to raise her babies for the other bird. The mother of the nest has to work harder to provide food for her own children, as well as the parasite bird. If she doesn’t, she could be putting her own babies’ lives at risk. Brood parasites, like the Brown-Headed Cowbird, will watch from nearby, and if the mother doesn’t take care of the Cowbird’s baby, then she’ll destroy the nest, and kill the babies inside of it.
You think raising babies is hard? Imagine what it’s like for the Pacific Octopus. Once she lays her eggs in a cave, she spends nearly six months doing nothing but attending to the eggs and protecting them. She doesn’t even eat. Once the babies hatch, she uses one of her last, dying breaths to blow them outwards into the ocean, giving them a better chance of survival. She dies a few moments later, having devoted her entire life to her children.
Mother Nature can be quite cruel, but every species has its own way of raising their young, and ensuring their survival so they can go on to produce their own later in life. While I probably won’t try to parent like the queen bee, a Cowbird, or an octopus, it’s undeniable that the animal kingdom has some very interesting methods of parenting.
By Jenni Buckley
Source: BabyCenter - http://goo.gl/u3ljU