Mother's Love

Duck and Ducklings

Photograph by lozan365/

A duck and her ducklings walk along a riverbank. Ducklings believe that the first thing they see is their mother.

Cat and Kittens

Photograph by Orphan Cam/Shutterstock

Born blind and deaf, kittens depend on their mother's sense of sight and hearing, navigating the world by touch, taste, and smell for the first three weeks of life.

Pig and Piglet

Photograph by Craig W. Walsh/

A dominant mother pig typically gives birth to more male piglets than subordinate sows.

Dog and Puppies

Photograph by Stanislav Duben/Shutterstock

Mother dogs lick their newborn pups clean, biting off each umbilical cord—an essential step in the bonding process.

Otter and Pup

Photograph by Lynn M. Stone

Newborn sea otters can float, but they can't swim. Mothers balance them on their stomachs.

Japanese Macaque and Infant

Photograph by Tim Laman

Japanese macaques can convey ideas to one another and pass skills down, generation to generation. The macaques, also called snow monkeys, have humanlike faces that can show a lot of emotion. They live in northern Japan, where it gets very cold, so they grow heavy fur coats in the winter to keep them warm.

Giraffe and Calf

Photograph by Craig W. Walsh/

Giraffe mothers give birth on their feet—and their newborns drop six feet to the ground, headfirst. The fall actually helps them take first breaths.

Mare and Foal

Photograph by John Daniels/

A mare chooses the company her newborn keeps. Older siblings and trusted humans may approach, but she wards off all others.

Bottlenose Dolphin and Calf

Photograph by Augusto Stanzani/

A mother dolphin may whistle to her calf almost continuously for several days after giving birth. This acoustic imprinting helps the calf learn to identify its mother.

Panda and Cub

Photograph by Michael Nichols/National Geographic Stock

A giant panda might nurse her young as often as 14 times a day, 30 minutes at a time.