Animal Family Types
Mom Takes Care
Scorpions and Spiders
Scorpions and spiders often carry their eggs and/or babies on their backs. You will often see dark spiders in your back yard carrying light-colored, web-wrapped egg cases. Some spiders and scorpions will also carry their babies in a big pile on their backs for a little extra protection while the youngsters are small.
Among some species, the children eat the mother. Some Araneidae guard their eggs until the mother dies in the autumn. The eggs stay unattended until they hatch the following spring.
Bats are fascinating and intelligent creatures. We think they are more closely related to primates than to the mice that they resemble superficially. Some bats carry their baby or babies on the mom’s underside, even while she flies. This in an incredible feat of strength because bats have very large babies in proportion to the mother’s weight. Other bats, like our local big brown bats, leave their babies in a group, or crèche, while the adults are out gathering food. (Flamingos and penguins do this too.) Then, the challenge starts when the adults return to feed the young. How do they find their baby among the hundreds? Scientists think that both the calls and the smell of the baby helps mom find him or her successfully.
Zebra babies must get up, walk, then run almost right away after birth. Mom finds a quiet place for them to bond right after birth, then the two of them rejoin the herd. Biologists that study zebras believe that the smell, sound, and even pattern of the mom and baby are involved in the bonding experience.
They need to pick each other out of the crowd when necessary, because other mothers will not nurse the youngster. The stallion, or father zebra takes little interest in the young, although he does help as lookout for the herd and defend them from other male zebras.
Crocodiles and Alligators
The mother crocodile or alligator takes care of both her eggs and hatchling babies. When she is getting ready to lay her eggs, she digs into the ground on a sunny bank beside the river. She lays the eggs and covers them with a mixture of soil, leaves, and twigs shaped into a big mound. Just like in your backyard, these leaves start to become compost, which creates warmth while the plants decompose.
The mother checks the temperature every once in a while, and can change the temperature by adding or subtracting more vegetation. She stays near the nest the whole time it takes to incubate the eggs (which can be two to three months). When the babies start to hatch, they call from inside the nest. She comes over and helps to dig them out. Then, she gently grabs them in her mouth and moves them down to the river. They usually stay around her for a short while before moving off to hunt for themselves.
See other family types by following the links on the right side of the page.