Mothers in Nature

May 11, 2006

Mother’s Day is coming, so get ready to be bombarded with our collective pink-tinged mother myths printed on every media surface in smooth, slanty, feminine cursive.

In case your idealisation of motherhood extended to the animal world, the New York Times has published an article describing the horrors that mothers visit upon their offspring.

As much as we may like to believe that mother animals are designed to nurture and protect their young, to fight to the death, if need be, to keep their offspring alive, in fact, nature abounds with mothers that defy the standard maternal script in a raft of macabre ways. There are mothers that zestily eat their young and mothers that drink their young’s blood. Mothers that pit one young against the other in a fight to the death and mothers that raise one set of their babies on the flesh of their siblings.

Yikes! Nature, red in tooth and claw! Good thing humans aren’t animals, right? Right?