How to raise your young!
Parenting is not an easy task – not by a long shot. Just looking at us humans, raising children is a nerve-wracking task. But for animal parents, mother nature can be even more demanding. So, animals evolved different strategies for rearing their offspring.
Under the waves of the Pacific Ocean, a female octopus is looking for a vacancy. A safe place for laying her eggs. She attaches them with sticky strings to the ceiling of a cave. Mother octopus watches over the eggs, cleans them and supplies them with oxygen. She gives their everything for the next generation – even her life.
High up in the treetops of the Bornean Rainforest, an Orangutan mother shows her child how to traverse from branch to branch. These two are inseparable, literally. For the first months of its life the young never let’s go of its mother. With around one-and-a-half years, it becomes more adventurous and starts exploring the trees that surround it. The child will stay by its mother’s side until it is about eight years old – enough time for it to learn the ways of the jungle.
But not all parents are that caring. In the lush meadows of Uruguay, Shiny Cowbirds are observing the nest of a pair of Red Ovenbirds. As the nest owners fly out to feed, the female cowbird sees her chance and sneaks into the unguarded home. But not to take from it –rather, they want to add something. The female lays her own egg next to the Ovenbird’s clutch and hopes that the Ovenbird parents won’t notice the difference. A unvoluntary adoption! But this strategy is not without risk, for when the breeding pair notices, the egg will be discarded in no time.
For other animals, rearing young is a group effort. In Sri Lanka, the grown brood of Ceylon Blue Magpies help in feeding their younger siblings. As competition over food resources in the dense jungle is fierce, more beaks hunting ensures the survival of the chicks. And it’s a lesson for the teenage birds, too: they learn what nesting is all about for when they will raise their own young.
Our planet’s fauna is beautiful and multifaceted, as are the ways of animal parenting. Single mothers and fathers, same sex couples and whole colonies of sisters – all are working hard to ensure their offspring’s survival. And, just as a side note: this film is perfect to keep your little ones occupied – at least for fifty minutes.