The Blog Aquatic

Donate Today

The Blog Aquatic

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

9
Comments

An Ocean of Thanks to Mothers

Posted On May 9, 2014 by

Sunday is a very special day that we dedicate to celebrating mothers. Don’t worry Fathers, we haven’t forgotten about you; we have a special blog planned for you on Father’s Day. We know that your mom is amazing, but today we’d like to pay special tribute to a few magnificent ‘moms of the sea’ who astound us with how well they take care of their young.

If you thought taking care of one baby was tough (it is!), a female polar bear typically gives birth to two cubs! A mother polar bear takes care of her cubs for a little over two years before they have all the necessary skills to survive on their own in one of Earth’s harshest environments, the Arctic. Some of a mother polar bear’s biggest challenges are to keep her cubs warm and safe. She digs a den in the deep snow drifts to create a safe haven from the elements. Using her body heat and warm milk, she keeps her cubs warm. During the first two years of life, she teaches her cubs how to hunt, avoid danger, maneuver on sea ice and use their keen sense of smell.

A baby is dependent upon its mother for basic survival—food, shelter and in the case of humpback whales—breathing! Mom humpback whales bring their baby calves to the surface, right after birth, so they can take their first breath of air. A humpback mother is the definition of ‘attachment parenting,’ she never leaves her baby calf. She teaches her calf how to breach, slap its pectoral fins on the water, hunt for prey and navigate the vast ocean. It is the calf, after a year or so, who decides when it’s time to leave the mother’s side.

A giant Pacific octopus gives all she has to her babies, including her own life. This mother octopus can lay up to 100,000 eggs—she lays so many eggs because very few actually survive into adulthood. A mother octopus meticulously tends to her eggs for about seven months, making sure each egg is aerated, clean, and safe from predators. She’s so diligent during this time that she doesn’t even eat. Once born, the tiny hatchlings—the size of a rice grain—drift in ocean currents for several months, after which they drop to the seafloor, where they hide in caves and rock crevices.  Sadly, the mother octopus dies shortly after her babies hatch. But, don’t despair; she’s passed along her amazing genes to her new babies—camouflage, appendage regeneration and intelligence.

It’s no wonder we celebrate mothers. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! Happy Mother’s Day to all moms (and moms-to-be)! And, don’t forget to send a Mother’s Day ecard to your mom today!