Safari: Babies!

Who doesn’t love babies? Especially animal babies! We saw so many babies on safari, I just couldn’t help it.. they needed their own blog post! Again, if you missed my other Safari posts, go back and read about the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.

As I’ve said previously, we knew all animals were different, but we were so surprised to learn just how different each one is from the next. Even seemingly similar gazelles had such different eating, breeding, parenting and social habits. One of the most interesting characteristics we enjoyed learning about was the parenting of each animal’s young and the young animal’s growth, development and entrance into adulthood.

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Lioness with her cubs cooling off in a riverbed
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Cubs lose their spots with maturity
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Lions encourage their cubs to practice stalking, pouncing and wrestling them to learn how to defend and feed themselves as adults.

Warthogs are usually skittish, but this momma let us get a good look at her piglets. We saw a lot of piglets but these were definitely the youngest we saw. Their lack of tusks shows their youth, maybe less than a few weeks old!

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Ostriches are communal parents. The females all lay their eggs in one nest, taking turns keeping the eggs warm. After hatching, the alpha female takes care of them until they reach maturity.

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These black faced monkeys, or vervets, carry their young. This mother hopped down looking for a snack while carrying her baby. These baby monkeys usually hang on the mother’s stomach until they are about one week old. After that, they ride on the mother’s back until strong enough to keep up with the rest of the family.

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Elephants have a 22 month gestation period. Once birthed, calves stay right with their mothers to nurse until they can no longer walk underneath the mother. After that, they remain with the female dominated herd. Males move out and roam solo once old enough to be on their own. Females often stay with their family herd, mostly consisting of closely related females (one matriarch, her sisters and/or daughters and their young).

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Mother nursing her calf

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Herds keep their young in the middle of herds to keep them protected 

Giraffes give birth while standing up and the baby is up and running within 5-15 minutes. This young was less than 14 days old. Young are often shown by the amount of hair on their ossicones, or horns.

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Hyena pups playing right outside their den
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Zebras looking for water in the dry season
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Cape buffalo and calf
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Hippo swimming with her young
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Grant gazelle

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