Who sticks with Mummy the longest?


It’s Mother’s Day this weekend and our Ducks have been getting ready to treat their mother ducks like never before.

Some animals are quick to ‘fly the nest’ so to speak, but others stay under their mother’s wing for much longer before venturing off into the big wide world. We thought we'd quickly share which animals are hanging round with their parents the longest!


Elephants are known to be fiercely loyal and stay in their herd for years. But did you know that they breastfeed their little ones until they’re two or three on average?!

Elephants are also known to stay with their mothers for up to 16 years, and sometimes even a lifetime. They never forget their mother!


Lion cubs are fiercely protected by their mothers up until about 16 months old – when they can usually fend for themselves.

The male cubs then usually stay with their mums up until they are about three years old – but the females will stay with their sisters and daughters for the rest of their lives.

Polar Bears

It’s a cold world out there – and particularly so for Polar Bears! When a baby cub is born, the polar bear mother doesn’t leave its side until they reach around two-and-a-half years old.

During this time, she teaches them important survival skills such as hunting and how to shelter.


Dolphins are very maternal – and take extra care looking after their young just like human mothers would!

Dolphin mums feed their babies rich breast milk for a good 2-3 years before they leave their side.



Perhaps unsurprisingly the orangutan has the longest childhood dependence on the mother of any animal in the world. Yes, even more than elephants. This is because there is so much for a young orangutan to learn in order to survive in the big wide world.

The mothers will intensely nurse their babies until they are about six years of age! 

Image Credits - Unsplash

Ducklings - Roksolana Zasiadko
Elephant - John-Paul Rowe
Lion - Catherine Merlin
Polar Bear - Carrie Borden
Dolphin - NOAA
Orangutan - Bob Brewer