Animals offspring, Biology

Wolf Animal Mothers – An Excellent Role Model of Motherhood

animal mothers

“Wolves are extremely intelligent beings, having great curiosity, the ability to learn quickly, and the full range of emotions people like to attribute to humans alone,” from Running With the Wolves, INc, Ronkonkma, NY.

While most people, especially women, don’t necessarily appreciate being related to wolves, particularly when it comes to intellect and emotional intelligence, the reality is that these animals present an important correlation to both our skills in interacting with one another and our emotional connection to our young. At least the relationship here is more positive than being compared to a monkey, right? In fact, there is actually a great deal we can learn from the mother wolf, in particular. Female wolves are excellent animal mothers who actually demonstrate many of the same stages of preparing for motherhood that human mothers do.

The Stages of Mothering In Animal Mothers

The female wolf presents a unique perspective on mothering, especially as it relates to a human mother. These animal mothers demonstrate excellent motherhood skills as they prepare for and eventually take care of their young. Like human mothers, the wolf mother begins preparing for her young long before the babies or pups, as wolf young are called, are actually present.

Once a wolf mother becomes pregnant, she goes through a phase of furthering her relationship with her mate. Most human mothers go through this stage as well. The wolf mother will spend a great deal of time cuddling, playing, and hunting together with her mate. It is as if she spends this time “focusing” on her mate to prepare for the time that she will focus the majority of her attention on the babies. This phase is a natural extension of the stages of mothering and usually lasts several weeks.

Following this stage of courtship and play, the wolf mother begins denning. This stage can be related to what most human mothers know as “nesting.” The wolf mother looks for a suitable place to whelp, or give birth to, and later care for her pups. The female wolf spends a great deal of time sniffing around for a place to make a den. The mother may reuse the same denning ground as other female wolves if she is part of a large pack. Otherwise, she may find a suitable area and dig her own den. Inexperienced females may dig a shallow pit; however, the knowledgeable wolf mother will dig a deep, large pit to adequately protect her babies. The female claims this area for her and her puppies, not even allowing her mate into the den. She may, however, select a suitable assistant from among the other female wolves in the pack. In time, the entire pack will support and nurture the puppies.

When it is time, the wolf mother enters her den to whelp. Her innate knowledge of caring for her pups is immediately demonstrated in her ability to facilitate the birthing process. As the pups are born, the mother chews off the umbilical cord and licks each pup clean. After all of the pups are born, the animal mother eats the placenta. This demonstration should be a good reminder to human mothers that their bodies naturally know what to do when giving birth. The process is natural, and the body knows how to facilitate the process if only it is allowed to do so.

In order for the pups to survive, the female wolf devotes a great deal of attention to her young in the early days. The mother generally remains in the den with her pups for several days straight following birth in an effort to support their early development. The mother continues to lick and feed the brood and only leaves the pups for a short period after several days. The wolf mother is very protective during these early days and keeps her pups in the den for at least three to four weeks before she will let them out into the light. Again, this protective tendency is much like human mothers demonstrate in their early days immediately following giving birth.

The wolf mother also sees to it that her pups are fed sufficiently. Pups usually nurse five to six times a day for periods of three to five minutes each during the first several weeks. Between five and eight weeks after birth, the mother begins the weaning process during which the pups are fed regurgitated food. The care and attention the mother wolf demonstrates during nursing and weaning are important characteristics from which human mothers can gain insight about providing for their young.

Important Characteristics of Animal Mothers

As is demonstrated throughout the many stages of wolf mothering, these animal mothers are intrinsically good mothers. The female wolf is born with the instincts to prepare for, birth, and later take care of her young. In so doing, she demonstrates important characteristics of motherhood.

The wolf mother is extremely intuitive when it comes to raising her pups. She knows their needs and follows her instincts to provide. The wolf mother is also protective of her young, keeping them in the den until the pups are sufficiently capable to survive outside of the den. The female wolf is also extremely unselfish, demonstrated in her willingness to remain in the den herself to provide for her young.

As mothers we can learn a great deal from the wolf mother and other animal mothers. Her intuitiveness toward motherhood as well as the many honorable characteristics she embodies definitely serve as aspects from which we can learn. Knowing all of that, it’s not so bad to be compared to a wolf, now is it?

Here you you will find more about the Panda mother, who does a pretty lousy job actually …

animal mothers
Wolf and Cub, by Tambako, Zurich – Flickr CC 2.0


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