They may look big and imposing, but elephant moms are actually some of the best moms in the animal kingdom. The big softies do everything from nursing for years to staying close to their babies for life.
Elephant moms…they’re just like us.
In honor of World Elephant Day, we’re breaking down what makes elephant moms so freaking awesome:
1. They’re Pregnancy (And Delivery) Champs
Elephant moms endure nearly two years of pregnancy. When their babes finally arrive, they weigh an average of 200 pounds at birth, according to Animal Planet—and elephant mamas squeeze them out without pain meds. Respect.
2. They Put Up With This Sh*t
Serving as a baby elephant jungle gym? That’s cool.
3. …And This, Too
4. They Never Forget
Case in point: Baby elephant Me-Bai was taken way from her mom and sold to an agency to provide a lift to tourists when she was 3 ½ years old. Things didn’t work out, though, and she was eventually reunited with her mom, Mae-Yu—who still recognized her!
5. They Nurse for Years
Elephant mamas typically breastfeed their little ones until they’re two or three, and baby elephants drink up to 20 pints of milks a day, according to Taronga, a conservation society in Australia.
6. They Get That Spontaneous Napping Happening
…even during lunch.
7. They Stay With Their Babies Forever
A female elephant will typically live and roam with her mom until, err, she dies. Human moms nurture their male babies until they hit puberty and become too rowdy to put up with. Teenagers, amiright?!
8. They’re Into PDA
Elephants use their trunks to give “hugs” and “kisses,” and elephant mamas are never short on either.
9. They Teach Stranger Danger
This mama elephant isn’t about to let her baby play with strangers—even friendly ones.
10. They’re Down with Dirty Play
Because what kid doesn’t want to roll around in the mud?
11. They Make Great Protectors
Oh, you want to scare my baby? That’s cool…or not.
12. They’re Basically Single Parents
While elephant dads aren't so involved in raising Dumbo, mom is busy making sure the kids are well-fed, entertained, protected, and taught important lessons.
Love you, elephant mom!