Nature’s Wild Nurses: 5 Caring Animal Species

Caring Animal Species (Clockwise South African Bullfrogs, Canines, Vampire Bats, Dolphins, Army Ants)

(Images via: Ryan Photographic, Dachshund Love, Progressives, Animal Discovery, BRGPS)

The old adage of “treating others as you would like to be treated” especially holds true for certain animals that make no bones about going out of their way and caring for others. In some instances, animal kindness is a case of a species being good parents to their young; in other situations, the generosity is truly amazing and defines stereotypes. From vampire bats sharing blood with sick mates to dogs adopting kittens, the following list of nurturing animals may surprise, leave a smile on the face or even inspire. To these animals, their noble actions are not about recognition or notoriety, but just doing what’s right — a philosophy we all could do a better job of following at times.

Caring like Kermit, But No Pushovers

South African Bullfrogs

(Images via: Kuyimba, Encarta, Flatrock, Rather)

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With their enormous girth, giant South African bulldogs may look like immobile blobs, but they are actually quite agile when it comes to protecting their young tadpoles. Male African bulldogs dutifully stand guard over their young tadpoles as they wade through the water and have been documented standing up to snakes and even lions and elephants that get too close. And when the swarms of tadpoles struggle to survive as stream waters become too shallow, the male frogs spring into action by digging trenches that connect nearby streams and allow the tadpoles to survive in deeper waters. Talk about a literal lifesaver.

They Want to Suck Your Blood But Share Theirs?

Vampire Bats

(Images via: Javno, Cornell, Cool Cruel World)

For animals that share a name with bloodthirsty, mythological beings that stalk the night with the most selfish of intentions, vampire bats are actually quite generous in some instances when it comes to sharing with their own species. While the sight of vampire bats may send chills down the spine of many humans, they are actually knights in shining armor for sick mates or those that have been unsuccessful finding food, even if their nurturing ways are well…a bit gross. Vampire bats regurgitate and share blood to help sickly bats recover. It may not be your style of lending a helping hand, but hey, give vampire bats credit when credit is due: these weird animals ain’t all that bad.

A Close Knit Circle of Incredibly Noble Mammals

Dolphins

(Image via: Dolphin World)

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Arguably one of the most altruistic animal species around, dolphins have been known to help out others in need, including possible predators and even humans. A few years ago, a bottle nosed dolphin heeded the SOS calls of two beached whales in New Zealand and led them into safe waters. Without the guidance of the dolphin, the whales would have most likely perished. Also occurring in New Zealand a couple of years back, a group of swimmers were first surprised when a group of dolphins began circling around them. However, as the circle got tighter and the dolphins began splashing in the water, the swimmers became a bit nervous by the aggressive behavior. It turns out that the dolphins were warding off a nearby shark that was moving close to the swimmers, who were certainly less apprehensive and more appreciative when reaching shore and realizing the heroism of the dolphins, which have also prevented sharks from continuing attacks on humans in other circumstances.

The Power of Creative Thinking and Linking

Army Ants

(Images via: Cal Academy)

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When a flood overwhelmed an Amazon jungle, a family of ants adapted quickly, specifically by linking their legs together and forming a raft built on teamwork and love. As the above video amazingly captures, the ants utilize the raft to guide their Queen and babies through the water. While some ants were lost along the way to hungry fish, their sacrifices didn’t go without purpose as the ants safely reached shore and lived to see another day.

No Such Thing as Orphans to Some Dogs

Friendly Dogs

(Images via: Unique Daily, Above Top Secret, Modern Pooch, Okasim Today)

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Many animals (like chimps, bonabos and walruses) have been known to take in orphans of their own species and raise them as their own. While this type of generosity is quite common in the animal kingdom, other adoptions are much more surprising. For example, some dogs have dismissed stereotypes by raising orphaned cats, while other canines have become surrogate mothers for everything from baby chicks, pigs and squirrels to infant tigers and fawn. In these last two instances, the dogs took the liking to baby tigers and deer that were rejected by their own mothers. Apparently, a dog’s love excludes nobody.

Other Animals with Soft Spots in Their Hearts (and Mouths)

Ringed Seals

(Images via: Web Alice)

The World Animal Foundation notes some other animals that go to great lengths to help others. To protect their young from predators, ringed seals build snow caves that allow the young to hide and still receive adequate oxygen for breathing. Some fish open their mouths to let their babies hide as predators swim nearby. And they even manage to do so without accidentally swallowing their own! Wow, animal selflessness is truly amazing.

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