6 Fun facts about animal siblings

Posted on 29 March 2019 by

Daniela Valla

in the Animals in the wild blog

Many wild animals have complex social lives and bond with their brothers and sisters in amazing ways!

On 10 April the world celebrates Siblings Day – a day to set aside any fraternal rivalry and enjoy the unbeatable strength of familial bonds. So forget why your siblings irritate you so much (at least for one day!) and take inspiration from these amazing brothers and sisters of the animal world.

Ladies got to stick together

While the males tend to live on their own, female African elephants and their calves stay together for their whole lives. In this new girl-powered family, they all look after each other’s babies – this helps keeps them safe, but it also teaches older siblings how they will mother their own calves someday. Learning from adults is one of the many reasons why elephants should be left in the wild.

Image: Addo National Park, South Africa. Photo credit: Getty Images.

How many otters is otterly too many?

Asian short-clawed otters have very large families of up to 15 animals – can you imagine the noise? Older siblings will take care of the younger, and as long as their parents are alive, otter siblings often never part.

Image: a wild smooth-coated otter. Photo credit: Creative Commons.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Lion brothers and sisters each form their own alliances: females spend their lives together in groups called “prides”, while males will set up coalitions when they set off to find a new pride to conquer.

Image: wild lions in Zimbabwe. Photo credit: Getty Images.

I’ll be there for you

If baby chimpanzees are orphaned, older siblings will often take on the responsibility to raise them. Occasionally, infants are adopted by chimps not related to them.

Image: a chimpanzee in Uganda. Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro, Unsplash.

Life is sweet under the sea

Research in the 1980s found that killer whale babies from the same mother form an extremely close bond and never separate for more than a few hours in their lifetime.

Image: wild orcas spotted in Antarctica. Photo credit: Bryan Goff, Unsplash.

Double trouble

Twins are very rare for humans, but that’s not the same for many mums in the Animal Kingdom: many primates regularly give birth to twins, such as marmosets, tamarins and pygmy loris.

The nine-banded armadillo even doubles up on twins - they only ovulate one egg, which later splits in four so that four identical quadruplets are born.

Image: a marmoset resting on a tree in Brazil. Photo credit: Paulo Infante, Unsplash.

HELP US KEEP WILD ANIMALS WILD

These amazing bonds between siblings are often only possible in the wild. Here’s how you can help animal families stay together:

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