Animal Surrogate Mamas

There’s a video going around Facebook right now that’s pretty incredible. It’s a video of a dog who’s raising a litter of kittens. The dog was brought to the shelter while she was pregnant. After her pups were weaned and adopted to new homes, a litter of orphan kittens was brought to the shelter. There was no cat available that would be able to nurse the kittens, so desperate to save their lives, the staff introduced them to the dog. She happily took them in as her own!
While the whole story seems so out of the ordinary, it’s not all that uncommon for animals to raise babies that are not their own. Not long ago, I read an article about a dog raising African Wild Dog pups. The pups’ mother died in labor and the zookeepers were a little at a loss as to how to raise the pups. Their only options were to find a dog that would take them or hand-raise nine pups. They called shelters in the area and came up with a dog who’d just weaned a litter. I’ve seen stories of cats raising puppies, cats raising squirrels, goats raising various livestock… the list goes on!
It’s amazing to me how animals will adopt and care for other animals. Sometimes, the baby that is adopted is the foster mom’s enemy as an adult. It seems that most often, the foster parent/baby relationships are pretty odd combinations and, yet, the new moms never seem to think twice!!!

Here’s the video of the dog and kittens…

And here’s the article about the wild dog pups…

http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/2009/11/african-painted-dog-pups-at-the-pittsburgh-zoo.html

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