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9 Worst Parents Found in the Animal Kingdom

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From blood-sucking ants to self-sacrificing spiders, here are 9 worst parents found in the animal kingdom. Number 9 Dracula Ant Adetomyrma venatrix is an endangered ant species endemic to Madagascar. It’s one of the oddest parents on this list, mainly due to a gruesome behavior that involves sucking the blood of its young. Hence why this ant species is also known as the Dracula ant. After the queen gives birth to new larvae, she and the workers, which are blind, will chew minuscule holes in them. Then they’ll suck out their haemolymph, a circulatory fluid equivalent to blood in mammals.This only weakens the larvae but doesn’t kill them. The practice is sometimes described as ‘non-destructive cannibalism’ Researchers aren’t sure why it happens, but it does fall in line with the social behavior of ants which involves transferring fluids to each other. Number 8 Harp Seals The harp seal is native to the Arctic Ocean and the most northern parts of the Atlantic Ocean. For the first 12 to 14 days after giving birth to their pups, harp seals are very dedicated mothers.During the nursing period, they don’t hunt and lose over 6 pounds per day feeding their young. However, this period ends abruptly and the mother will abandon the pup on the ice and return to promiscuous mating. In order to conserve body fat, the pup becomes sedentary after it’s left to fend for itself, for a period of about two weeks. This can reduce their body weight by half and leaves them vulnerable to predators such as polar bears. Almost 30 per cent of harp seal pups die within their first year of life, with much of this attributed to their early abandonment and lack of mobility on land. Number 7 Black Eagle Black eagles are certainly ruthless parents and, out of their young, only the strong survive. Although squabbles in the nest are frequent among eagle species, the black eagle mother actually allows her chicks to kill each other. Instead of intervening to break up the conflict, the mother allows the stronger chick to kill its weaker siblings.By doing so, the mother ensures that she doesn’t have to care for the weaker birds that have less chances of surviving. Number 6 Lion Lionesses are fiercely defensive of their young and aren’t typically regarded as bad parents of the animal world. However, the dangers of the savannah and the social dynamics of the lion pride means that about 80% of cubs don’t live past the age of two. Even though hunting is typically done by the females, the dominant male in the pride is always the first to eat from a fresh kill, often leaving only scraps for the rest.The male’s job is to protect the pride from rival lions or scavengers like hyenas. As the dominant male ages, he’ll face fierce challengers for his position in the pride. The cubs are usually the ones most affected by these power struggles. Whenever one or more new males successfully take control of a pride, they’ll oust the previous males and kill all of the existing young cubs. The mothers are often helpless to keep it from happening and become spectators to their young being butchered.It’s believed the new males do this because the females don’t become fertile or receptive until their cubs mature or die. There are cases, however, when several mothers may band together to defend their young against a usurping male. Number 5 Cuckoo Many cuckoo species practice something called brood parasitism, meaning that they’ll abandon their offspring and trick other birds into raising them. Females will lay their eggs in other birds’ nests and use several deception tactics to get out of parenting duties. They have secretive and fast-laying behaviors which may also involve luring host birds away from their nests. Females sometimes specialize and lay eggs which closely resemble those of their chosen hosts, or cryptic eggs, which are dark in color, in contrast to those of the host. This helps hide them in darker nests. The cuckoo chick usually hatches first and grows faster than the others in the nest. It will often force the other younglings out, thus increasing its chances of survival. Number 4 Panda The giant panda has been the subject of numerous conservation efforts, which have contributed to the recent transition of their status from endangered to vulnerable.Some reports seem to indicate that their numbers in the wild have increased and that there are close to 2,000 pandas living in Central China, in the Sichuan region but also in the neighboring Gansu and Shaanxi. Conservationists have had some success with captive panda breeding, after a long process of trial and error. Attempts to get pandas to mate have included showing them videos of pandas mating as well as giving the males Viagra. In 2009, Chinese scientists confirmed the birth of the first giant panda cub successfully conceived through artificial insemination, using frozen sperm. In 2014, the announcement of a rare birth of panda triplets came out of China. Despite these successes in captivity, the situation is still pretty grim for panda cubs in the wild. About half of all panda females give birth to twins. It’s believed that, since the mother doesn’t store fat, she doesn’t produce enough milk to take care of both offspring. What this means is that she’ll choose to take care of the stronger cub, leaving the other to die of starvation.The father plays no role in raising the cub. Number 3 Burying Beetle The burying beetle has specialized antennae which enable it to detect an animal carcass, usually a small bird or a mouse, from a long distance. After finding a carcass, competing pairs fight each other, males versus males and females versus females, and those that emerge victorious get to keep it. The beetles then dig a hole under the carcass and begin to bury it. They cover it in secretions to slow down its decay and to prevent the smell of rotting flesh from attracting competition. After the carcass has been buried, the female lays its eggs on the soil around it. The larvae hatch after a few days and move into a pit in the carcass that the parents have created for them.At this point the larvae are capable of feeding themselves, but their parents may also feed them as a result of begging. The parents digest the flesh they ate off the carcass, regurgitate it then feed it to the larvae in liquid form. So far, burying beetles may seem like ideal parents. However, that’s true only for the larvae that don’t beg too much – or for those that don’t fall under their parents’ brutal form of population control. In order to ensure that there’s enough food for everyone the parents may practice infanticide. They’ll essentially kill their young if there isn’t enough carcass to go around.The most successful parents achieve a balance between the number of offspring they produce and the size that they mature into. If they have too many, they’ll probably be underfed and it’s unlikely that they’ll survive. If the young are too large, then it means the beetles could have had more of them. Number 2 Barnacle Geese The barnacle goose belongs to the Branta genus, which means geese species that have largely black plumage. These animals mainly breed on the Arctic Islands, in the North Atlantic. They build their nests on high cliffs, out of the reach of predators like polar bears and Arctic Foxes. Much like all geese species, the adults don’t bring food to the young. Instead, the newly hatched goslings come down from the cliffs, under the parents’ supervision. However, they are roughly three days old and unable to fly. This basically means that they jump off the cliffs and plummet towards the jagged rocks below.Their feathers and very light weight offer some protection but many die from the impact. The noise made by the parent geese during this time attracts predators, which means that even those that survive aren’t safe. Additionally, foxes are known to stalk the young, as parent geese lead them to feeding areas. Number 1 African Social Spider Stegodyphus dumicola, also known as the African social spider, lives in large colonies or family groups, in Central and South America. Only about 40% percent of the females have the chance to reproduce as they mature at a slower rate than the males. The other females, dubbed ‘virgin spiders’ assist their sisters with childcare. This is probably due to the great deal of interbreeding that takes place among African social spider groups. Since so much genetic material is shared, it’s possible that the virgin females assume the offspring are their own.Childcare often involves the females allowing the young to eat them alive. As the eggs begin to hatch, the mothers and virgin females produce a nourishing fluid, which is essentially made up of the prey their bodies have broken down. They feed the fluid to the offspring by mouth. By the end of this grueling process the female spider’s body will begin to liquefy, having exhausted almost all of its resources. At this point, the young will crawl onto the female and start eating her. This process of mother-eating, called matriphagy, is very rare in nature as is the cooperative breeding that the female African social spiders engage in. The males of the species survive less than a month after mating and aren’t involved in childcare.Thanks for watching! Which do you think are the worst parents in the animal kingdom? Let us know in the comment section below! .

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