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Great Moms on Earth
by KindMeal.my, 11 May 2015
Great Moms on Earth

Our moms aren't the only ones who deserve to be honored this Mother's Day. From octopuses to elephants, plenty of animal mothers go above and beyond for their young, even before they're born. While women carry a child for nine months, some animal species have pregnancies that last years.

Deep-sea Octo-mom

Graneledone boreopacifica is one dedicated deep-sea octopus mother. In 2011, researchers began keeping tabs on one female off the central California coast that guarded her eggs for an astonishing 4.5 years. That's the longest known developmental period for any animal. Shallow-water octopus species will usually guard, or brood, their eggs for a few months: During that time, these mothers won't eat. Once their young hatch, the moms die.

The Frilled Shark

Imagine being pregnant for 3.5 years: That's the burden female frilled sharks, a deepwater species found around the world, must bear to bring their little ones into the world. The frilled shark is one of a few shark species that don't lay eggs, instead giving birth to live young. Litter sizes for this species range between two to ten offspring at a time.

African Elephant

Females of the largest land animal in the world are well known for being good mothers, and their duties start way before their baby is born. African elephant pregnancies last about 22 months – the longest known pregnancy for a mammal, says Ganswindt. African elephant females also have an incredibly long estrous cycle – or the period when they're receptive to a mate, he explains. In people, it's about 28 days, Ganswindt says, but "in elephants, the cycle is 15 to 16 weeks."

Killer Whale (Orca)

Killer whales are highly social animals that live in a matriarchal society. Groups, or pods, usually consist of 2 to 15 individuals, although groups of 40 animals have been spotted. A killer whale's pregnancy lasts between 15 to 18 months, and once the calf is born, mom has lots of help: Her sisters, aunts, and mother often provide childcare. There isn't a discernable breeding season, so calves can be born year-round.


These leggy animals are pretty hard to miss, but they're not as well studied as Africa's other large plant-eating animals, says the University of Pretoria's Ganswindt. Their pregnancies last around 15 months, and they're one of the few large mammals that can get pregnant again while nursing young, he says. "Female giraffes spend the majority of their adult life pregnant or nursing or getting pregnant again."


Scorpions are part of the arachnid group which include spiders – but unlike their many-legged relatives, scorpions give birth to live young. The length of their pregnancy depends on the species. Emperor scorpions are in the "family way" for seven to nine months before giving birth, while an African species called Opisthacanthus asper is reportedly pregnant for 18 months. Once her babies are born, some scorpion mothers can't catch a break – the youngsters ride on her back until they're grown. Sound familiar?

Let's enjoy more delicious meat-free meals, so these smart and adorable animals can grow up with their loving moms and have a happy family – check out http://KindMeal.my for a great selection!

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