Motherhood in the wild looks different from one species to the next — drastically different. That’s because animals have all kinds of amazing in-born habits and modes of survival that impact how they care (or don’t care) for their young.
When it comes to parenting in nature, it can be ultra-adorable or downright unpleasant. Some animal moms coddle, while others take a “sink or swim” approach, literally abandoning their offspring shortly after birth. Of course, that’s how things go in the wild. Because when it comes to parenting, just like with humans, it comes from our natural-born instincts.
Here are 10 of the best and worst animal moms.
Known for their similarities to humans, it’s not surprising that chimpanzees make loving mothers. They dote on their babies, just like us, nursing them and showing them the ways of the world. They have a similar gestation period as humans (between eight and nine months), but their babies often nurse for up to five years!
They share food with their infants, groom them, and if a baby chimp tragically dies, they can be seen grieving just like humans, too. When a baby chimp was fatally attacked in front of a crowd at the L.A. zoo in 2012, the mother chimp, Gracie, was given a room alone to mourn. She was seen cradling the baby for two days before the zoo staff took the little one from her.