Going the extra mile: extraordinary animal mums in Queensland
Now, more than ever, mothers across Queensland deserve to be spoilt. 2020 has thrown us the ultimate curveball — who’d have thought we’d be juggling a tangled fusion of work, childcare and home-schooling — all while social distancing? Yet parents have adapted to their little ones’ needs and persevered through these undoubtedly stressful times; and that’s something to celebrate.
Although this Mother’s Day is going to be a little different, that doesn’t mean we can’t treat our mums with something to make them feel extra special.
A heads up: there’s no cute craft coming home from school this year. Instead, why not print out our adorable joey Queensland Mothers Day card for your little one to colour in? Or, if you’re searching for the perfect online gift, take a look at our Mother’s Day gifts and experiences inspiration guide.
Humans aren’t the only ones who take extraordinary steps to protect, nurture and raise their babies. Queensland’s remarkable wildlife is teeming with mothers that go the extra mile for their young every single day. So, this Mother’s Day, we’re cheering some of the greatest wildlife mothers in Queensland.
Learn more about our fearless female wildlife below – and of course, have a very happy Mother’s Day!
The protective crocodile
Despite their frightening nature, female crocodiles are gentle and loving parents. A mother buries her eggs in riverside nests and for up to three months, she waits nearby to protect them from predators — a true mama bear.
Once the baby crocs are ready to hatch, the mum digs down to the nest and carries her babies to the water in her mouth. So that her young are safe from her sharp teeth, instinct prevents her from closing her jaws. Impressively, she can carry as many as 15 babies in her mouth at once.
The nutritionist kangaroo
Not only does a kangaroo mama let her joeys hunker down in her pouch for nine months (which is where the parenting “kangaroo-style” method evolved from), but she acts as a private nutritionist too. Depending on a joey’s age group, she can produce different stages of milk to meet their special nourishment needs.
If that isn’t impressive enough, when a mother kangaroo has two joeys at different ages, she can produce different milk compositions at the same time to accommodate them both. What a champion.
The tenacious humpback whale
Let’s applaud the fact that a newborn humpback whale calf can weigh up to a ton (907 kg) which a female humpback carries for a gestation period of almost 12 months — a real lesson in endurance!
Humpback calves nurse for about a year and drink an incredible 600 litres of milk per day so it’s a wonder the mother gets anything done.
The nesting sea turtle
When it comes to free-range parenting, sea turtles are the wildlife leaders. After mating at sea, the female sea turtle comes ashore to lay her eggs. She digs a hole in the sand, deposits her clutch of eggs (up to 100) and covers them up before returning to the sea.
The story could be left there, but we should give credit where it’s due. A mother turtle does more than cover her eggs with sand. To give them a fighting chance against predators and the elements, she packs sand down over the top while using her front flippers to refill the body pit and disguise the nest. By throwing sand in all directions, it’s much harder for predators to find the eggs.
Three cheers for our extraordinary wildlife mothers in Queensland. We’d mention the cassowary next, but their egg incubation and chick-raising is done entirely by males. Perhaps this Mother’s Day, mums can take a leaf out of the female cassowary’s book and enjoy some downtime?
For more cute wildlife photos, take a look at baby animals at Australia Zoo. We also happen to be big fans of cuddly koalas so if you’d like to know more about these beautiful mammals, including where you can see koalas in Queensland, take a look at some lesser-known facts about koalas.