Not All Animals Make Great Moms, But These Do

I sent my mom a card for today that highlighted how turtles weren’t the best of mothers — they lay their eggs and leave. No turtles are known to care for their young. But there are plenty of animals, including humans, that make great moms. And the Smithsonian’s National Zoo published a bunch of pictures of them on flickr this week. Here are my favorites:


The zoo has two lion moms, Shera and Naba, who in 2010 gave birth to a total of seven cubs. That gave the zoo a full pride of lions. The family has since been split up, but it’s normal for young males to leave and go off on their own. (Photo courtesy of John McRay, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)


Shanthi gave birth to Kandula in 2001, the first male Asian elephant born in this country that was conceived through artificial insemination. (Although the real reason to include this photo is that my mom loves elephants.) (Photo credit Jessie Cohen, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)


White-naped crane Brenda is serving as a surrogate mom to this little one. The zoo has a captive breeding program for the rare birds in Front Royal, Virginia. (Photo credit: Chris Crowe, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)


Gorilla mom Mandara has had six kids over the years. Her youngest, seen here, is Kibbi, born in 2009. (Photo courtesy of Connor Mallon, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)


Sea lions make great moms, too. Here’s Cali with her two-year-old pup Sophie. (Photo courtesy of Mark Van Bergh, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)


Just like a human kid, sloth bear cub Hank tries to upstage mom Hana in this portrait of the two. While Hank is young, though, his mom will carry him on her back most of the time. (Photo courtesy of Connor Mallon, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)


Electra gave birth to two kittens last year, the first fishing cat to do so at the zoo. (Photo courtesy of Janice Sveda, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)

Happy Mother’s Day to all the world’s moms, human and animal!


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