Bringing Up Baby
Natural World investigates the vital bond between animal mothers and their babies.
The more we study animals, the more we realize just how emotional they are; all mothers are faced with tough choices as they struggle to bring up babies in a difficult and dangerous world, constantly balancing their own needs with those of their infants.
Yet there are many ways to raise your brood, from the fish who looks after her young in her mouth to the extended childhoods of gorillas or orang-utans.
Male lions may protect or kill cubs, for example. Orang-utans spend more time growing up than almost any other animal, as each ape may spend a decade learning from its mother.
Baby broad-snouted caiman spend much less time in the company of their mother. But even these reptiles help their young hatch from their eggs.
The very act of giving birth is traumatic, and baby guanacos must be alert for predators from almost the moment they are born.
Even males sometimes get in on the act. Male California mouse support the females as they give birth, acting the doting father, helping to keep his mate and the nest clean.
Female Amourobius spiders make the ultimate sacrifice, giving up their bodies to feed their offspring. The spiderlings feast directly upon the flesh of their mother.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 40 minutes)