Best Animal Mothers (Happy Mother’s Day)

Who are the best animal mothers?

Well I guess it depends on how you look at the animal kingdom. Is it the mum who bears the longest pregnancy, or gives birth to the largest or heaviest baby or suffers the longest parental care? Or is it the mother who passes the entire care on to others. You choose…

Longest pregnancy

The elephant, no doubt, wins the award for the longest pregnancy with 22 months gestation!

baby elephant

But the Australian Bandicoot has got something right with only 12 days of pregnancy!


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Before they even become a mum, our gorgeous girls in the animal kingdom have to tolerate some weird and wonderful mating habits…

Our companion animals, when we breed them, also engage in some unique mating habits. Dogs, for instance stay tied after the event for some 20 minutes. That’s one way of knowing where your partner is!

Border Collies Brak and Sky, tied during mating

And there is nothing romantic about feline ‘friendship’. The male’s barbed penis is painfully matched by his toothy grasp of the queen’s neck. No wonder she responds with a cat attack!

cats mating

Desex your pets, please!

Largest baby

At risk of making your eyes water, think about the Kiwi bird whose egg is half their bodyweight…

kiwi in hands
Kiwi egg in hand

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Much easier to give birth to a joey, at only a few centimetres long…

kangaroo joey


Giving birth to a 6 foot baby just has to be awkward. Just where do all those limbs go?! Superstar Giraffe mums…

Maasai Giraffe with baby

The elephant gets an honourable mention again, on giving birth to a 90kg baby! But the largest baby is most certainly the Blue Whale, who weighs in at a whopping 3 ton and this 8m (25ft) baby continue to pile on the weight – 91kgs every day!

blue whale

Looking after the kids

How hard can it be looking after kids?! As a mum of 3, I know how hard!!!

The Orangutan mum is a superstar of parental care, giving each infant their undevoted attention, even breast-feeding them for almost 8 years!


Perhaps the most sensible mum of all is the Seahorse who passes the entire experience, even the pregnancy on to Dad…


or the Cuckoo, who cuckolds other birds and leaves the care up to them, often at the expense of their own offspring! Just look at the size of the cuckoo chick compared to the adult bird!

cuckoo chick

So who deserves the award for the best mum of all?

Well, doesn’t it have to be the humble human? We provide 18 years of care, sometimes much, much more. We do it uncomplainingly – most of the time. We love our babies unconditionally and we are willing to protect them with our lives. That deserves an award!

Dr Jo's boys

Happy Mothers Day!

And though you may not get a reward, you can always reward yourself…

mums wine glass

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