10 Animals With STRONG Family Values… #6 Reminds Me Of My Mom.
We see animals all over social media and yet, we still don't know that much about them. While it is true that posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms help to increase conversation awareness and knowledge of these beautiful creatures in general, we should work harder to confirm some of these newfound "facts." After all, we do not want to re-post only to find out that we have continued the chain of misinformation.
In the interest of animals, we've put together some facts based on reliable sources. With the holidays now in full throttle, we've decided to focus on the theme of family values and social behaviors. You'll find that some are completely relatable!
After you've finished reading, let us know which animal's family values is closest to your own.
First, we start off with a photo that has been going viral thanks to one very intriguing caption:
"A wolf pack: the first 3 are the old or sick, they give the pace to the entire pack. If it was the other way round, they would be left behind, losing contact with the pack. In case of an ambush they would be sacrificed. Then come 5 strong ones, the front line. In the center are the rest of the pack members, then the 5 strongest following. Last is alone, the alpha. He controls everything from the rear. In that position he can see everything, decide the direction. He sees all of the pack. The pack moves according to the elders pace and help each other, watch each other."
Though an excellent story, Snopes (a site dedicated to discovering and sharing the truth) recently debunked it.
Dan Evon of Snopes confirmed that while the photograph depicts a pack of wolves in Wood Buffalo National Park, they are not being led by the three oldest members in a line that ends with the "alpha" wolf as the description details.
Evon cites David Mech's 1999 paper, "Alpha Status, Dominance, and Division of Labor in Wolf Packs" to reveal that the concept of an "alpha" wolf does not exist in the wild. Merch wrote:
"In natural wolf packs, the alpha male or female are merely the breeding animals, the parents of the pack, and dominance contests with other wolves are rare, if they exist at all."
According to Evon, the pack is led by one of the stronger animals that can create a path through the snow.
The photo, taken by Chadden Hunter, was featured in the BBC documentary Frozen Planet back in 2011.
A few things that actually happen in wolf packs:
- Adult wolves feed pups that are too young to hunt with regurgitated meat. Following a hunt, the adults return and the pups lick the area around their mouths. Pups who are not as aggressive receive less food while those that beg too much may receive a warning growl from the adult wolves.
- Pups are taken care of by all the wolves in a pack. Members of the pack bring food to the mother so it isn't necessary to leave her den -- this is especially true when the pups are still very small. These other members also take turns supplying food, acting as playmates, and babysitting as the young ones continue growing. It isn't uncommon for one of the adult wolves to stay with the pups at their rendezvous site -- an open area for them to sleep, play, eat, and hang out -- to ensure that they are safe.
- Wolf pups love to play and often do so by stalking and pouncing on one another. According to the International Wolf Center, this helps prepare them for future stalking, killing prey, and learning how to interact with the pack.
- Pups begin by hunting small animals such as rabbits. At around six months old, they join the rest of the pack in hunting larger animals.
- Elephants have a structured social order. They have a matriarchal society in which the oldest female is the leader in the family. They lead their families away from dangers, including the presence of predators.
- Males and females may live entirely different and separate lives, according to Elephants Forever.
- The herd of females remain close but also interact with other herds, families, and clans. Each herd consists of 5-15 adult elephants in addition to younger males and females. Some members branch off to form new herds later on, but many still manage to keep track of relatives through vocal and non-vocal communication.
- Males live separate from the matriarchal herd by the time they are teenagers, traveling alone or with other males. Joyce Poole of ElephantVoices countered this widely held belief by adding that not all male elephants leave family life for good. Many join another family or float from family to family up until they are about the age of 25.
- Maddalena Bearzi, an expert in marine mammals, states that dolphins don't really live in families. Instead, they live in schools or groups. Overall, their relationships are very fluid. However, the mother and calf have an incredibly strong bond that can last for over two years.
- Dolphins are known to be altruistic, or selfless in order to benefit others. They stay with those that are ill or injured, and try to help whenever possible.
- Their altruistic nature has been seen in their efforts to help other species, such as humans and whales.
- According to OneKind, cows prefer to sleep close to their families, and their sleeping arrangements depend upon their rank in the social hierarchy.
- Cows make devoted mothers; they are known to walk for miles to search for a lost calf!
- Similar to humans, cattle tend to spend their time with 2-4 individuals they've developed close bonds with. Scientists say they can also hold grudges for months or even years.
- Pigs are extremely vocal; they have 20+ different recognized sounds, including the grunt. Short grunts are used to express excitement while longer grunts may very well be a contact call, or pleasurable stimuli.
- Dominant pigs use barking to threaten subordinate pigs.
- In some cases, a mother pig will walk over 6 miles to find a secluded area to give birth.
- A teat order is usually established on the first day of feeding; each piglet has his or her own specific teat for the nursing period.
- Mother pigs have been known to sing to her piglets while nursing.
- These flightless birds live in groups called colonies. When it comes time for breeding, they come ashore and form larger colonies called rookeries.
- Although males do their best to compete, females ultimately decide which males they will mate with.
- A majority of penguins are serial monogamists.
- Parents take turns keeping the eggs warm. In the case of the emperor penguin, however, the female will leave the egg with the male while she goes out in search of food for several weeks.
- Born in 1987, Roy and Silo are two male chinstrap penguins who raised a chick, Tango, together at New York City's Central Park Zoo. Prior to Tango's birth, the two had been seen trying to hatch a rock until an egg was given to them by zoo staff after another pair of penguins were unable to hatch it. Their story led to the controversial children's book, "And Tango Makes Three."
- Rats like to play in a group and sleep curled up next to one another.
- Parenting responsibilities are often shared. Care goes beyond offspring as these animals also tend to injured or sick rats in the group.
- They can become lonely or depressed without companionship. They are also very shy and would rather run away than confront an unknown situation such as a potential threat.
Orcas (Killer Whales)
- Orcas live in family groups called pods, and multiple pods make up a community.
- They do not have a breeding season -- they mate year round.
- The report “Conservation Plan for Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca)” states that they grow extremely strong bonds and rarely separate from one another for more than a few hours.
- Female orcas have a calf every 4 to 8 years. Why so far apart? It's because they invest so much in their parenting. Offspring, both male and female, live together with their mother and siblings throughout their entire lives!
- According to Bio Expedition, chimpanzees exhibit a strong social structure. Offspring will often grow up to take care of their mothers due to their strong bond.
- They socially groom each other, just as lions do, not just to stay clean but also to maintain friendships.
- According to Canisius College Ambassadors for Conservation, male chimps gain support of other community members to help him become an alpha male.
- Lions live in prides, or close family groups, and work together to hunt and defend their territory. They are considered the most social of all the wild cat species.
- The females tend to do most of the hunting.
- Lionesses will sometimes care for neglected cubs by allowing them to suckle.
- These cats tend to spend about 16-20 hours each day resting. Does this describe your family?
Feel free to add any interesting facts that you've uncovered!