How do crocodiles feed their young?

Great mothers as animals

Berlin - May 8th is Mother's Day. It is not only a special day for us humans, but also in the animal kingdom there would be an occasion for many young animals to give away a bouquet of flowers. "Raising the offspring is vital for the species, and many animal mothers make correspondingly high sacrifices," explains Dr. Arnulf Köhncke, species protection officer at WWF. “In the course of development, animals have developed a wide variety of methods to give their young a good start in life: the cellar spider kills itself to serve as food for its offspring, and elephants care for a lifetime because the females still care help their daughters raise their grandchildren. ”On the occasion of Mother's Day, WWF presents the most caring and curious mothers in the animal world.

Gorillas: Like human children, gorilla babies are dependent and take a long time to develop. Gorilla mothers invest years in caring for their offspring and therefore only have a baby every five years. But sometimes the offspring come in a double pack, as recently in the Dzanga-Sangha protected area in the Central African Republic. The gorilla lady Malui was happy to have twins, as well as the environmental protection organization WWF, which has been working on site for the protection of the western lowland gorillas for years.

Tiger: Female tigers have a great responsibility because they have to look after their offspring all by themselves. Until the cubs can hunt alone from the age of twelve to 18 months, the tigress has to steal plenty of food in order to be able to feed the already quite large cubs. The recently spotted female Amur tiger in Anyuisky National Park should have all her paws full because she has to look after three cubs at the same time. Reason to be happy for conservationists, hard work for the tigress.

Wolf spider: Maternal care, however, is not just reserved for our related mammals. The wolf spider is also known for its brood care. In order to have one of her eight eyes on her offspring, she carries the eggs around with her in a cocoon. After hatching, the spiders climb onto their backs and hold onto their hair while the mother roams around, presumably to find a good hiding place with optimal conditions. In order not to expose them to danger, the wolf spider foregoes food during these eight days and does not hunt; its young feed on the egg yolk.

Crocodile: A loving mother hides behind the imposing appearance. Many species of crocodiles guard their eggs as protection from predators. As soon as the young can be heard acoustically in the egg, the mother crocodile helps with hatching. Then she even carries the little crocodiles into the water and protects them from danger.

Gravedigger beetlesr: Some insects are caring and unscrupulous at the same time. The female gravedigger beetle builds a perfect nursery for her young. To do this, the mother buries a carcass, like a dead mouse, and keeps it fresh with an antibacterial serum. When the offspring hatch, she simply adapts their number to the size of the carcass: she eats up any surplus larvae.

Ravens: Ravens are actually not "parents of ravens". It is true that after leaving the nest, the young appear quite clumsy and abandoned by their parents. In fact, the parent animals feed their offspring for a few more weeks, protecting them from predators. Real “bad parents”, on the other hand, are generally fish, insects and amphibians. After laying eggs, they usually leave their offspring to their fate.

Catchy tune: There are also exceptions among insects, which can hardly be surpassed in terms of intensive brood care. After the female earwig has dug a brood tube and laid 50 to 60 eggs, she sits vigilantly on the egg heap for weeks. The eggs are regularly turned, mold removed, sorted out and, if necessary, moved to a better hiding place. Once the offspring have hatched, Mother Earwig goes on night outings with them. As with cats, outliers are carried back with the mouth. If the mother dies, she serves as food for the young.

Stomach brooder frog: Child love goes through the stomach. To protect them from enemies, the female of the gastric breeder frog swallowed the eggs. The tadpoles hatch in the stomach and grow into small frogs. During this time the mother frog cannot eat any food. After around six weeks, the little frogs crawl out of their mother's mouth. If they sense danger, they can sometimes be spat out up to a meter.

Octopus: Octopus females take care of their clutch with particular sacrifice. During the breeding season they guard their eggs and always fan them with fresh water. The octopus mother refrains from foraging for food so as not to leave her young alone. She drives away potential egg robbers. Only when the offspring hatch does it leave the hiding place - only to die of exhaustion. Researchers discovered a particularly devoted deep-sea octopus female in 2007: she guarded the breeding cave for four and a half years. Changed temperatures presumably influenced the length of the breeding season.

House sparrow:
Sparrow mothers even walk over corpses for their offspring. The small songbirds usually live together monogamous in a lifelong marriage. But the sparrow man occasionally has other lovers as well. In order to be able to win him over to the sole brood care of their offspring, female sparrows pursue the unfaithful male to the rival's nest and kill the chicks.