Marine moms have to be fierce if they are to provide the necessities of life required by their offspring. But so do our own human mothers. So, whether you are a marine mother, or a human mother, we wish you a happy Mother's Day and thank you for all you do!
In honour of Mother's Day, we're taking a look at some of the best marine mommies! These mothers will go to extreme lengths to ensure their offspring's future. Check out the list below!
1. Humpback Whale Mothers
Humpback whale mothers literally go that extra mile to care for their calf.
Mothers raise their young in the shallow, tropical waters around the equator and though these waters are relatively safe places to raise a calf, they are virtually lifeless and lack the nutrients to support the mother for very long.
Mother humpbacks will nearly starve raising their young, surviving on fat reserves for six to eight months.
The calf is very vulnerable but once strong enough, the pair will make the long journey to the feeding grounds of the North. The journey is dangerous, and the mother will need to time the trip perfectly so that she will have enough strength to protect her calf from predators on the road ahead.
2. Giant Pacific Octopus Mommas
Giant Pacific Octopus mothers make the ultimate sacrifice for their young.
Mothers must find a safe and secluded shelter to live for five to six months to lay their nearly 56'000 eggs one at a time. During this time she will not eat a thing.
She devotes every moment to the care of her offspring, rubbing the eggs frequently to prevent the buildup of algae and to protect them from hungry predators. But with all her care and attention, only two babies will make it to full maturity.
When the eggs finally hatch, she blows water over the babies to push them out into the open ocean. This is her final act as a parent. She will die shortly after.
3. Sea Horse Mr. Moms
Going above and beyond the role of most male fathers in the natural world, male seahorses take the parenting role very seriously: they give birth to the babies.
Not unlike a kangaroo, a male seahorse has a pouch on the outside of its body that a female will deposit unfertilized eggs into. The male then fills the pouch with sperm to fertilize the eggs.
The father must provide the perfect environment for his young. He is able to control the salt concentrations in the pouch, and provides oxygen and nutrition to the developing babies through a placenta-like structure until he gives birth.
It's a big job and conditions must be perfect to ensure the health of the offspring.
Let's get a big Happy Mothers Day to all the seahorse Mr. Moms out there!
4. Polar Bear Moms
It's a big job being a polar bear mom. The mother will build a den which will serve as home for her and her cubs for an entire year. She must be sure she has eaten enough to sustain her family throughout the harsh winter months.
Once the cubs are strong enough, the family leaves the den and the real work begins.
Mother bear must teach her cubs how to survive in the cold, frozen arctic world, and it's becoming much more difficult as the arctic changes due to climate change.
The cubs will stay with their mother for at least two years after they have stopped breastfeeding. Motherhood is a long term commitment for these arctic marine mommas.
5. Emperor Penguin Madres
Parenthood is a team sport for emperor penguins. Both the male and female play an integral role in raising a chick.
Once the mothers lay their egg, the male must immediately sit on top of it to keep it warm. Even a few minutes exposed to the cold and the egg could freeze killing the chick.
Once safe under the warm layers of fat and feather, the mothers begin a long, dangerous journey from the breeding grounds to the sea in search of food.
The mothers are slow and clumsy as they navigate across the antarctic. Once to the shore, they plunge into the icy water and brave dangerous predators in an effort to find food. Many will lose their lives and the males back home will wait for a partner that will never return. The chick will not survive.
Emperor penguin mothers will make the long trek multiple times to keep her baby well fed.