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Nature's Motherhood Awards | Learn the interesting mothers in nature

From best to worst, here is a selection of the best and worst mothers from nature!

African Penguin and chick
African Penguin sMOTHERING its chick.

Best mothers found in nature

Most Lethal Mother

Can you kill a lion with a single kick? No? Well, this mother sure can. The giraffe has speed, size, and a powerful set of hind legs to propel it to the top of our "most lethal mother" award board. Congrats giraffe!

South African giraffe and calf
South African giraffe showing an alert gaze and deadly foot.


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Panasonic Lumix FZ300

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Best Fluffy Mother

Now, we know what you are thinking. Really, the porcupine? Yes, and here's why. Most people know about the pokey upperside of the porcupine. But the belly of the porcupine is soft, warm, and fuzzy. You cannot beat a good cuddle that is also covered in terrifying barbs. Awwww.

North American porcupine
North American porcupine offering some serious cuddles.

Worst Mothers from Nature

Most Forgetful Mother

I think most people are okay with this one. Many snakes will lay their eggs, or give live birth, and the babies are on their own from that moment on. Not a second thought. Heck, I would bet the mother of this bullsnake cannot even remember this baby's name. I think my mom remembers mine...

Juvenile bullsnake
Juvenile bullsnake no thanks to its mother.

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Best Cannabilistic Mother

Fiercely protective for the first few months of life for their babies? YES. Willing to eat their own babies in the following years? Also YES. Crocodilians, like this American alligator, can be great mothers one moment, and terrible mothers the next. This is not the award you want to win.

American alligator
American alligator make for great then terrible mothers.

Innovative Mothers from Nature

Best Parasitic Mother

This award is unique. This mother does very little work. She gets pregnant, then flys around the neighborhood eyeing some really nice nests. She sneaks in, lays an egg, and finally flies away, providing no care for the egg or baby. In fact, Brown-headed Cowbird chicks have to "sneak" away from their nests as "teens" to learn how to be Brown-headed Cowbirds. However, we do not judge here. If you can find a way to let other mothers in nature raise your young successfully, good on you.

Brown-headed Cowbird female
Brown-headed Cowbird female

Your mother may be amazing. My mother is amazing. Some animal mothers are amazing. Some animal mothers may seem like heartless mother-flockers. Regardless, without mothers, populations of many species would dwindle. Be thankful for them all.


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