Feed Me!

Baby animals need lots of food to grow up strong. But many animal babies are too small and helpless to find food on their own. They depend on their parents to feed them, until they're big enough to find food themselves.

Animals that feed their babies milk are called mammals. Humans are mammals. So are whales. A baby orca whale drinks milk as it swims alongside its mother. Orca babies need to grow a layer of thick blubber to stay warm, so an orca mother's milk is rich and full of fat.

A dog has lots more babies than an orca does, but she makes enough milk so no one goes hungry. Puppies start nursing just a few minutes after they're born.

Brown bear cubs become too big to nurse but are still too young to find their own food. So mama bear catches salmon to share. By watching mom, the cubs will learn how to fish for themselves.

Wood thrush nestlings are always hungry. Some baby birds eat more than 100 times a day! They keep their parents busy searching for worms, bugs, and berries.

Wolf pups are too little to go hunting with the rest of the pack. So when the adults return from a hunt, the wolf pup licks a big wolf to say, “I'm hungry.” Then the adult spits up a bite of meat for the young pup to eat…

Open wide! A brown pelican parent swallows a fish and breaks it down into mush. The chicks poke their bills deep inside to share the fishy feast.

Human babies love mushy stuff, too. Feeding yourself can be a big mess, but it sure looks like fun.

Now where are those leftovers?

Vocabulary

blubber:
A thick layer of fat under the skin of some sea animals. Seals and whales have blubber.

food:
What living things use to get energy.

hunt:
To look for something.

nursing:
Taking special care of something.

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Activity

  1. What is a need of these animal babies?
  2. What does the brown bear cub learn from its mother?
  3. Orca whales live in the ocean. The whales do not drink the sea water. How do you think orca whales get the water they need?
  4. What other needs might these parents provide for their babies?