Maybe you had a very protective mother. Or a strict mother. (Or a neurotic one.)
You’d have nothing on the animal world, where mothers in the wild are known to nurse their young for several years, or sacrifice their own limbs to protect them — or drink their babies’ blood. (It’s true.)
This Mother’s Day, we’re taking a look at a few of the more unusual mothering habits in the animal kingdom.
1. Giving an arm and a leg (or a tentacle) for your children.
Ever the overachiever, the female octopus can lay up to hundreds of thousands of eggs in one go. Over the eggs’ development period — anywhere from 40 days to 53 months in the case of one record-breaking species, Graneledone boreopacifica — these maternal cephalopods gently blow water currents over the eggs to provide them with oxygen and keep them clean. Unwilling to leave her brood to hunt for food, the mother octopus often resorts to eating one or two of her own tentacles for sustenance while waiting for them to hatch.
2. And you thought triplets were a handful.