Mar 30
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ARKive’s Top 10 Animal Mothers

In honour of Mother’s day today in the U.K., we have come up with ten of the most loving mums in the animal kingdom.

‘Darling would you stop pressing your paw so hard into my back…’

Photo of polar bear swimming with cubs

Although this lucky polar bear mummy gets to sleep through birth, it’s not all smooth sailing. She has to nurse and care for her cubs for 2.5 years, during which she has to provide food and teach them how to swim. As you can see, she gives them a helping hand every now and then.

‘Please stop fidgeting sweetie’

Great crested grebe with chick

This great crested grebe mother gets help from her partner in incubating and rearing her young, and she only has to look after them for less than 3 months. You may think she has an easy ride, but she is a very attentive mother and carries her stripy chicks around on her back. No need for a buggy here!

‘Wait your turn, you have to learn to share’

Female cheetah with suckling cubs

Cheetah mums have a lot on their mind. Until the cubs are 8 weeks old, they have to leave them alone in a lair while they go hunting. This is a necessary trip but the risk from the many predators around means the death rate of young cheetahs is very high. Thank goodness we can just go to the supermarkets!

‘I do wish you’d cleaned your feet’

Newly hatched Nile crocodile gently held in adult's jaws

This may be a big surprise to you, but the female Nile crocodile is a very attentive parent and after laying around 60 eggs will cover the nest with sand and guard it for around 90 days. Amazingly, her powerful jaws can be used incredibly gently, and she gathers the hatchlings in her mouth and transports them to water. There’s certainly no padding in this pram!

‘Try and keep up little one’

Female blue whale with calf

You won’t be jealous of the blue whale mum. She has to be pregnant for 10-11 months, and has to feed the calf 100 gallons of her fat rich milk during the nursing period! This is one demanding kid

‘In an hour I can drop you at the crèche, I’ve got to get my feathers done’

Sandwich tern with chick

We are not the only ones to come up with child daycare, as the sandwich tern has also had this idea. Once hatched, the young may gather together in a group, called a ‘crèche’, which is attended by one or several adults. Smart mothers!

‘Lunch time is over now honey, time to go and play’

Africam elephant suckling

If you thought the blue whale pregnancy was long, the African elephant definitely beats it! This poor mum has to be pregnant for nearly 2 years, and has to keep looking after the young for several years after that. Luckily other females in the group help out, known as ‘allomothers’. Every mum needs a break once in a while!

‘Don’t spike your sister!’

Hedgehog with young

Hedgehog mothers are truly single parents, as they are left alone to care for 4 to 5 spiky babies! Luckily they are born with a coat of soft spines to protect the mother during birth. They don’t stay baby soft for long though, as a second coat of dark spines emerges after about 36 hours.

‘You are getting so big now my dear!’

Giant panda female suckling infant

For such a large mummy, it is rather shocking to find out that the giant panda gives birth to a baby that is only 0.001 percent of her own weight! This caring mother will remain with her baby until it is about two years old or sometimes even older. But how could a mother resist when her baby is this cute!

‘Hang on tight my little orange!’

Bornean orang-utan female with infant

The Bornean orang-utan mother is probably one of the fittest around. She will carry her baby constantly for the first two to three years of their life and will take care of it for at least another three years! This mother definitely is a ‘supermum’!

Let us know if you can think of any other caring animal mums!

Happy Mothers Day to all the mums out there!

Feb 9
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ARKive’s Lonely Hearts

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we’re featuring a few forlorn species looking for love. Read on to learn more about them and find out what they’re looking for in a perfect partner.

Sensitive Spaniard

Mallorcan midwife toad image

Name:  Monty

From: Mallorca

About me: Islander who loves the mountains and water sports. Quite competitive, but a sensitive guy who’s great with kids. Ready to deliver a good time, so get in touch if you’re looking to find your prince.

 

 

Shady lady

Large hairy armadillo image

Name: Gertrude

From: Argentina

About me: Shy singleton currently clawing my way back into the dating game after going underground for some time. Thick skinned. Looking for my knight in shining armour who doesn’t mind a hairy lady. If you think you might be able to dig me out of my solitude, visit my profile.

 

Buzzing boyfriend

Asian dwarf honey bee image

Name: Barry

From: Southeast Asia

About me: Primitive fellow but a good dancer with a bit of a sweet tooth. A hard worker who can sometimes get buried in my work. Sick of bumbling through life with no-one to love, I’m now looking for my queen. Call me if you want to be(e) my honey.

 

 

Hive hustler

Honey badger image

Name: Hortencia

From: South Africa

About me: Stocky, grey-haired lady looking for relatively independent male. Professional fumigator. Not a picky eater. Favourite film is Raiders of the Lost Ark-hive. Looking for someone to fill the hole in my heart. Dig out my contact details.

 

 

Common crustacean

Common hermit crab image

Name: Herbert

From: UK

About me: Shy sea-lover looking for someone to bring me out of my shell. After several evictions, am now working my way up the property ladder. Friends would say my worst trait is being a bit shellfish, but I like to mix with all sorts, and am looking for a mutually beneficial relationship. Call me in a pinch.

 

Flighty flasher

Juan Fernández firecrown image

Name: Juan

From: Chile

About me: Small chap who is proud of his appearance. Loves aerobatics. Bit hot-headed. Love my food and am fiercely protective of it – do not expect to share. With so few ladies about, it’s proving hard to find the fire-cracker I’m looking for. Get in touch if you want me to set your heart aflutter.

 

Golden guy

Leopard image

Name: Leonard

From: Kenya

About me: Fashionable feline with a keen eye for dining opportunities. Athletic and agile, loves climbing. Despite my powerful build, I can often go unnoticed. Am a bit of a stalker, but willing to change my spots for the right lady. Call me if you want me to whisk(er) you off your feet.

 

 

Resplendent reptile

Parson's chameleon image

Name: Carlton

From: Madagascar

About me: Quite a colourful character, able to adapt to most situations. Unique chap who likes to branch out and perform several bizarre party tricks. Likes to spend time alone, but needs to get a grip. Can be strong-headed at times – known to clash with other members of my sex. Big fan of mittens. Check out my profile to see me in all my guises.

 

 

Buff bovid

Asian buffalo image

Name: Bartholomew

From: Nepal

About me: Heavy-built bovine who loves a good mud bath. Looking to play the field and have a short-term relationship with a few strong-minded females. Enjoys water sports and hanging out with the lads. If interested, dial 0800-B-U-F-F.

 

 

Royal roe

Atlantic salmon image

Name: Simon

From: Norway

About: Water-loving athlete with an aptitude for high jump. Friends call me the King of Fish – I’m a good catch who will have you hooked. Looking to go the distance, even if it’s an uphill struggle. Happy to travel – life won’t be complete until I have met my perfect match. If, like me, you are willing to die for love, get in touch.

 

Which species on ARKive wins your heart? Comment below and let us know!

 

Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Content and Outreach Officer

Jan 2
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ARKive’s Yoga-loving Species

For those of you looking to try a new form of exercise in the New Year to tone up and get fit, why not follow the example of these animal athletes and take up yoga? By working through a variety of postures and mastering your breathing, you too could be as strong and limber as the creatures below – check out some of their efforts and get inspired!

Downward dog…

Cape fox image

This Cape fox, the smallest and only ‘true fox’ in southern Africa, appears to have mastered one of yoga’s most recognisable postures – the downward dog. In fact, he looks like he’s pretty much doing it in his sleep…!

 

…or should it be downward cat?!

Wildcat image

Not to be outdone by a canine, this wildcat is showing off its skill in a bid to get the name of the posture changed to give it a more feline feel! This species is the wild ancestor of the domestic cat, and can weigh up to eight kilos.

 

Bird-like balance

White-rumped sandpiper image

A big part of practising yoga is learning to be centred and balanced, as demonstrated by this white-rumped sandpiper. We’re not sure what this particular posture is called, but it certainly seems popular in the bird world!

 

Sun Salutation

New England crayfish

A sun salutation is formed of a sequence of postures, including downward dog and cobra. One particular pose held at the beginning and end of the sun salutation sequence consists of extending the arms over the head and raising the face towards the sky, as demonstrated beautifully by this colourful New England crayfish.

 

Locust pose

Northern elephant seal image

The great thing about yoga is that it can be practised virtually anywhere – this northern elephant seal has decided to bond with nature and try the locust pose out on the beach. Although generally not particularly agile on land, the northern elephant seal has long, webbed feet which provide great propulsion to effectively glide through the water.

 

Warrior III?!

Red ruffed lemur image

Despite having a tail which can reach up to 62 centimetres in length, which is longer than its body and could potentially get in the way, this red ruffed lemur has not been put off trying yoga. Here we can see it preparing to go into full Warrior III pose, showing some reasonable leg extension.

 

Handstand

Orange-winged dropwing image

More advanced yoga practitioners can master the art of the handstand, which requires core strength and a lot of concentration. This orange-winged dropwing is providing us with a good example of a handstand, but does the use of all six legs not count as cheating?!

 

Flexible and fossorial

Naked mole rat image

This naked mole rat is trying what is known as the full boat pose during its subterranean yoga session. Look at that concentration! As naked mole rats are not able to control their body temperature internally like other mammals, this guy will have to retreat to cooler parts of its burrow if it gets too hot.

 

Aquatic yoga

Manatee image

Bikram yoga, practised in a hot, steamy environment, has been all the rage recently, but this manatee has taken it a step further and has developed aquatic yoga. Here we can see a beautiful example of a tail-stand! If you don’t like cold water, not to fear – manatees ideally require water above 20 degrees Celsius to survive, so these sessions are bound to be nice and warm!

 

Lotus

Verreaux's sifaka image

This Verreaux’s sifaka is doing its own version of the lotus pose – this particular individual is clearly taking a break from leaping gracefully along the floor of its forest home, an action for which it is well known.

 

Relax

Rivera red-belly toad imageHoney bee image

 

After a long, hard yoga session, there’s nothing better than taking a moment to relax in child’s pose, just like this Rivera red-belly toad and honey bee.

 

Namaste!

 

Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Content and Outreach Officer

Dec 22
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ARKive’s Guide to Festive Films

With the holidays approaching and Christmas just around the corner, the ARKive team brings you their guide to the ultimate festive films, with a wildlife twist of course!

Dove Actually

Collared dove photo

These collared doves could give the actors in this romantic comedy a run for their money when it comes to courtship!

Elf(in skimmer)

Elfin skimmer photo

While Buddy is probably the tallest elf you’ve ever seen, the elfin skimmer is the smallest dragonfly in North America!

The Polar (Bear) Express

Polar bear photo 

Although they may look bulky, polar bears can actually reach speeds of about 40 kilometres per hour over short distances!

How the Finch Stole Christmas!

 Greenfinch photo

This greenfinch might not have stolen Christmas, but he doesn’t look too happy at the thought of someone stealing his berries!

Jingle All the Ray

 Reef manta ray photo

These reef manta rays might not have to brave a toy store on Christmas Eve, but this feeding frenzy looks almost as chaotic!

The Nightjar Before Christmas

 Nightjar photo

While it may not really be the stuff  of nightmares, the eerie nightjar is most active during the twilight and superstition has it that this species used to steal milk from goats! 

Home Abalone

 Black abalone photo

It may not be completely ‘alone’ yet, but sadly the black abalone is Critically Endangered and has suffered serious declines.

Jack(daw) Frost

 Jackdaw photo

While the jackdaw might not be much use in a snowball fight, this handsome member of the crow family does have distinctive frosty blue eyes!

Barnacle on 34th Street

 Goose barnacle photo

It might not be miraculous, but it was once widely believed that barnacle geese developed from goose barnacles like these on the sides of ships!

The Muppet Christmas Caracal

 Caracal photo

With ears this large, the caracal wouldn’t look out of place in a Muppets line up!

Can you think of any other festive wildlife films we’ve missed? Post your suggestions in the comments section below!

Claire Lamb, ARKive Content & Outreach Officer

Dec 15
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Animal overindulgence!

As the festive season approaches, many of us will inevitably end up overindulging in the coming weeks, despite our best intentions! We humans are not alone however, for there are several members of the animal kingdom who are no strangers to seasonal excess or super-snacking!

Brown bear

Brown bear photo

As winter approaches, brown bears can consume up to 40 kilograms of food a day, but with good cause! Brown bears hibernate, sometimes for more than half a year at a time without any food or water, utilising stored fat for energy. In the spring, these bears may weigh half as much as they did going into hibernation.

Gila monster

Gila monster photo

The largest lizard in the United States, the voracious Gila monster feeds on eggs, young birds, rodents and lizards, with juveniles able to consume over 50% of their body weight at one time. Check out this video of a Gila monster feasting on a nest of eggs! When food is scarce however, Gila monsters are able to survive for months using the fat stored in their particularly large tails.

Walrus

Walrus photo

Despite being a large and bulky creature, the walrus predominantly feeds on small invertebrates on the sea floor. Feeding on such small prey means that the walrus needs to be a highly efficient forager to find enough food to sustain itself and maintain the thick layer of blubber needed as insulation from the cold Arctic waters. After all that foraging it seems this group have hauled out for a well-earned rest!

Koala

Koala photo

Feeding on fibrous and highly toxic eucalyptus leaves may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the koala readily consumes up to 500 grams of these leaves a day. This diet does not provide much energy, so the koala helps compensate for this by spending long periods sleeping. Nothing like a nice nap after a good meal!

 Blue whale

Blue whale photo

A species almost as large as a Boeing 737 is always going to need a lot to eat, but in the summer feeding season, the blue whale really outdoes itself! Gorging on up to 40 million tiny krill, the blue whale can consume an astounding 4 tonnes or more each day!

Turkey vulture

Turkey vulture photo

Unlike most birds, the turkey vulture has a highly developed sense of smell, meaning it is often the first scavenger to arrive at a carcass and it can consume plenty of rotting meat before being driven away by larger birds. Should a predator arrive, this species has a rather unpleasant defence mechanism – it will vomit as a deterrent, and possibly to lighten the load - enabling it to take off more easily and escape!

Can you think of any other examples of overindulgence from the natural world? Get in touch and let us know!
Claire Lamb, ARKive Content Officer

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