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10 Most Loving Mothers In The Animal Kingdom That Will Warm Your Heart

Mother Nature Network / DontHateTheGeek

Motherhood is not an easy task, for humans and animals alike.

This may shed light on why many animals give birth and forget their children soon after.

Contrary to popular opinion, not all animals are as ruthless as they seem.

Certain ones make great mothers, maybe even greater than some humans, and the way they take care and sacrifice themselves for the sake of their offspring will simply melt your heart.

1. Polar Bears

Mother polar bears will do anything to keep their cubs safe in the freezing temperatures that they live in.

They dig underground dens to hibernate for the coldest winter months, where they also give birth to their cubs and protect them.

Like most mammals, these mothers make sure their cubs are equipped with enough knowledge to survive in the wild.

Mother polar bears warn their little ones when they wander too far, and will fight off predators, including male polar bears, to keep them safe.

She'll let her cubs feed off her breast milk, even if she's starving, until they're ready to hunt seals on their own.

2. Elephants

The strong bond you share with your children is likely not as close to the bond an elephant shares with her calves.

Mother elephants carry their enormous babies for 22 months! Their calves are born blind, so they rely on their mothers for guidance.

They'll be breastfed for two to three years until they can eat on their own.

Once these calves learn how to hunt, they don't leave the herd just yet! Female offsprings will often live with their mothers for as long as they can.

When a calf is in danger, a mother elephant will do whatever's in her power to keep her little one safe.

For example, when a calf injured his leg and wildlife experts tranquilized him with a dart, his protective family was by his side the whole time.

In the video, the mother rocked her baby back and forth and tried to frighten rescuers away.

Another interesting thing about female elephants is that they'll all help to babysit and take care of all the young calves.

These next mothers will sacrifice everything, even their lives, for the survival of their offspring...

3. Deer

If the deer family had no good mothers, their species would definitely die off.

Fawns learn how to stay clear of predators from their mothers. Without this knowledge, they wouldn't stand a chance if all they knew was how to run.

But what if their little one makes a mistake? A mother deer will sacrifice her own life for the survival of her fawns.

A video recently went viral showing a fawn in the danger zone of a lake.

A crocodile caught sight of the fawn and started racing towards it. Unfortunately, it was too late for the fawn to turn back.

The mother swam in the crocodile's direction so that her fawn could have enough time to escape.

It was heartbreaking to watch, but the video makes you realize that humans are not the only mothers in the world who will do anything for their offspring.

4. Killer Whales

I don't think I've ever cried harder then the time I watched the documentary Blackfish, which explored how intelligent killer whales are and why they shouldn't be kept in captivity.

Also known as orcas, these aquatic animals are incredibly friendly and loving.

I still remember the scene in the film where a mother orca's calf was taken away from her. The poor mother spent hours crying.

I get teary just thinking about the sound she made. I can't understand whale, but I know the cry of a mother.

These animals also live in tight-knit families. Mother whales will stay alive as long as they can to help their children and grandchildren survive.

5. Emperor Penguins

Both mother and father emperor penguins make excellent parents.

They risk their lives every day to ensure the survival and well-being of their chicks.

Once a mother penguin lays her eggs, the father keeps them warm.

She'll go on a two-month journey to the ocean to hunt for fish and squid, so when her chicks hatch, they'll have something nutritious to eat.

This part isn't easy though, she's forced to dive into some dangerous waters filled with predators.

The successful mothers travel the long distance back home, where they're met by their hungry, hatched chicks.

She'll regurgitate her food so that her little ones can survive.

Let's not forget how adorable emperor penguin families cuddle to keep warm! If that isn't love, I don't know what is.

6. Felines

In general, felines make great mothers, especially bigger cats, like tigers, lions, and cheetahs.

Being at the top of the food chain is not easy, which is why these animals must take care good care of guiding their cubs on how to become predators, and not prey.

Mother cheetahs, for example, spend years training their cubs how to hunt and avoid predators before getting pregnant again.

Lionesses will also risk their lives to protect her cubs. She'll even fight off large male lions if she has to!

As fierce as they seem, these felines do have a soft spot for other animals.

In the photo above, you can see a tiger taking care of five motherless piglets.

The story is that the tigress adopted this litter after her own cubs died.

You'd never expect that these next animals make great mothers...

7. Alligators

As a human, you definitely don't want to get close to an alligator, but if you were her hatchlings, you couldn't imagine growing up without her love and guidance.

Alligator moms can lay up to 50 eggs, and they'll protect every single one of them until they incubate.

Not all her eggs hatch, but the ones that do will be taken care of until they're old enough to survive on their own.

These newborns will be carried in the alligator mom's jaw to prevent predators from getting any ideas.

One woman caught sight of this motherly love when she happened to see what looked like little lizards scurrying across her yard.

In our back yard! Mama gator moving her 16 babies. It took her all day, but she finally moved them to the pond and finally joined them.

Posted by Sharon Whiting on Monday, April 3, 2017

The alligator mom spent all day safely moving her hatchlings from one golf course pond to another.

It's a full-time job I'm sure she loves!

8. Octopus

Like alligators, a mother octopus will guard every single one of her eggs. Sometimes they'll lay up to 200,000!

What's remarkable is that she won't even leave to get food, even if she has to wait for months.

Her entire life purpose is to have one successful brood.

One octopus mom wrapped her arms around her eggs for more than four years to keep them safe!

Unfortunately, octopus moms likely die after their eggs hatch. After months of protecting their eggs, they nearly starve to death and become too weak to fight off predators.  

On the bright side, their offspring know how to survive right after they hatch.

9. Orangutans

If you've ever heard of Koko, the gorilla who can understand English and is fluent in American sign language, then you're aware of how intelligent these animals are.

I don't think there's anyone who can watch Koko playing with kittens without smiling.

While mother gorillas are great, orangutan mothers are even more incredible.

A mother will carry her baby for two years, as she teaches the little one about the rules of survival in the jungle.

While there are some great mothers in the animal kingdom, not all of them will keep their offspring close by for more than a couple of years.

Male orangutans will stay with their mothers until they're about 10 years old, while females will stay with mom for about five more years.

If mom has a new baby, the teenagers will help.

10. Giraffes

When April the Giraffe gave birth to a healthy calf, we all got a chance to see what kind of mother these long-necked animals are.

Her maternal instincts kicked into gear when a vet got too close, leaving us all surprised.

She kicked her front leg to warn the vet that she's uncomfortable with how fast he's approaching her calf.

You can find more videos online showing giraffes kicking their front legs out to warn predators to stay away from their calf.

These mothers will usher their kids to come between their long legs, so if anything happens, she'll be the one to sustain an injury.

Which one of these mothers are your favorite?

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.