19 Animals That Stay With Their Parents the Longest

Some animals really enjoy the home comforts that come with staying with mum and dad for a long time.

Below, we've picked out 19 animals that have a very close and long-lasting bond with their loving mothers.

1. African Elephants

African Elephant
Elephant calf, Serengeti, Tanzania TANZANIA - JULY 24: Elephant calf feeding with its mother in Serengeti, Tanzania. Tim Graham/Getty Images/Getty Images

Female elephants have the longest gestation period of any mammal (22 months), and after a very long pregnancy mums have no time to rest. Baby elephants are not only born nearly blind but they rely on their trunks and mothers for everything, their mums will usually nurse them for four to six years.

In a phenomenon known as "allomothering," other females in the community help to care for the calf. Females will stay with their natal herd for the rest of their lives, but males leave the group between the ages of 9 and18.

African elephants live, on average, between 60 and 70 years.

2. African Lions

African Lion and her cub
KENYA-NATURE-WILDLIFE-POACHING A lion cub walks with a female lion in the Mara Triangle, the north western part of Masai Mara national reserve managed by Non profit organization Mara Conservancy, in southern Kenya, on January 25, 2018. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images

Lionesses can give birth to cubs throughout the year and they will fiercely look after them until they can fend for themselves when they are about 16 months old.

The cubs will stay with their mums until they are two or three years old, but female lions stay with their sisters and daughters for the rest of their lives.

The average lifespan of a female African lion is between 10 and 15 years.

3. Alligators

Baby Alligator
Zurich Classic Of New Orleans - Round One AVONDALE, LA - APRIL 28: A baby alligator is seen near the ninth hole during the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 28, 2016 in Avondale, Louisiana. Chris Graythen/Getty Images/Getty Images

Female alligators are very protective of their young and when it is time for their babies to hatch, mothers will carry each egg in her jaws from the nest to the water to protect them from predators. They will stay looking after them after about a year.

Alligators live, on average, between 30 and 50 years.

4. Chimpanzees

GERMANY-ANIMALS-ZOO Chimpanzees delouse each other at the Zoom Erlebniswelt (World of experience) zoo in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany on June 4, 2020. INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

The maternal bond is so strong that Chimpanzees love and care for their mother and vice versa even after they grow up into adults.

5. Dolphins

Dolphin Calf Born At SeaWorld San Diego SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 20: In this handout photo provided by SeaWorld San Diego, Sadie, a 13-year-old bottlenose dolphin at SeaWorld San Diego, swims with her newborn calf at the marine park's Dolphin Stadium October 20, 2014 in San Diego, California. The calf, born on Saturday, Oct. 18 at 3:32 p.m., is strong and appears to be in good health. She is nursing regularly and continues to bond with its mother. This is the 80th bottlenose dolphin born at SeaWorld San Diego. Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego via Getty Images/Getty Images

Dolphins are a species that have a caring, almost maternal behaviour towards their own and others. Not surprisingly, most dolphins feed their babies their rich breast milk for two to three years.

The average life expectancy of dolphins varies by species, but is generally between 40 and 60 years.

7. Grey kangaroo

Grey Kangaroos
Kangaroo Kangaroos are the largest marsupial surviving on earth today. They are well known for their style of movement; hopping on their hind legs whilst using their large, muscular tail for balance. These Kangaroos are having a late afternoon snack before dusk. Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Wednesday 21st May 2014. Steve Christo/Corbis via Getty Images/Getty Images

Grey Kangaroos have brief pregnancies; after 21 to 38 days, they give birth to a joey that will stay in their mother's pouch until they are nine months old. But even after getting out of the pouch, it takes one year to become self dependent so it is up to their mums to look after them full time.

Kangaroos can live for about 18 years in the wild.

8. Giraffes

FRANCE-ANIMAL-ZOO-GIRAFFE Three-month baby giraffe of Niger (Giraffa Camelopardalis) named "Kano" (down) eats bamboo past his mother "Dioni" (front), 17, and his father "Uzul, 9, at the zoological park "Zoo de la Fleche" in La Fleche, north-western France on May4, 2021. JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images

A giraffe is an animal that can be pregnant while they are nursing the previous ones and mother giraffes spend most of their life either nursing or pregnant.

Giraffes will enjoy the company of their mothers up to 2 years, but female giraffes will occasionally travel with their mum until the parent dies.

Giraffes can live for about 30 years in the wild.

9. Gazelles

A two-week-old Mhorr gazelle (Gazella dama mhorr) is fed by its animal-tender, at the Budapest Zoo Park and Botanical Gardens in Budapest on May 5, 2009. The gazelle baby, born on April 21, 2009, is being bottle fed after its mother was unable to do so. ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images

To keep her calves safe from predators, a female gazelle will hide her babies in tall grasses until they are two months old, from then onwards the calf will spend more time with the mum and less time in hiding. Around this time and while still nursing, they also join a herd.

When males reach adolescence, they join a bachelor group and the mother will stop following him.

The average lifespan of a gazelle is about eight years in nature, and up to 15 years in captivity.

10. Gorillas

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 18: Mother Frala and her Western Lowland Gorilla baby Fakiri are seen at feeding time at Taronga Zoo on November 18, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Getty Images/Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Just like human females, gorillas are pregnant for about 8 to 9 months and once they give birth, their babies will stay in their full time care until the age of three to four years old. The same amount of time a female gorilla waits between pregnancies.

The average lifespan of a gorilla is between 35 and 40 years.

11. Koalas

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 02: Koala joey Humphrey is comforted by mother Willow at Taronga Zoo on March 02, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Eight-month-old Humphrey is the first koala joey born at Taronga Zoo in over a year, and only recently emerged from his mother Willow's pouch. Koala joeys stay in their mother's pouch for up to 6 months and it is only from around that age that they begin to emerge and attach themselves to their mother's back. Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images/Getty Images

Koala joeys stay about six months inside their mother's pouch feeding on milk which helps them in forming their ears, eyes (they are born blind) and fur. By the time the baby koala is 12 months old, they leave their mothers to find their own territory.

The average lifespan of a gorilla is between 13 and 18 years.

12. Mouthbrooding Fish

Mouthbrooding Fish
FISH FARM Jeremiah, son of fish farmer William Kiarie inspects a mouthbrooder for eggs and fry, at Green Algae Highland fish's farm, on April 29, 2017, Sagana, Kirinyaga county, central Keny. Green Algae Highland fish's farm is a beneficiary of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) initiated, Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) an innovative fund to improve agriculture and food security across the continent, breeds exotic and indigenous species of Tilapia and Catfish alongside ornamental species that include Goldfish and Cod. TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images

The species of fish defined as mouthbrooders protect their eggs by keeping them in their mouths. Mouthbrooders include sea catfish, cardinalfish, pikeheads or jawfishes among others.

As soon as the eggs are fertilized, mothers don't eat in order to avoid swallowing them. After they have hatched, some mouthbrooders will continue to use their mothers' mouth for protection.

13. Orangutans

SPAIN-ANIMALS-ORANGUTAN-BABY A Bornean orangutan called Suli holds its newborn baby at their enclosure at the Bioparc zoological park in Fuengirola on August 12, 2021. JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images

Orangutans have to wait for seven to eight years between births, the longest birth interval of any mammal.

After the birth of a baby orangutan and for about four months, the infant never loses physical contact with the mum. For the first two years of their lives, they completely depend on their mothers who may nurse them until they are six years old and have learned all the survivals skills required to manage on their own.

Similar to gorillas, the average lifespan of an orangutan is between 35 and 40 years.

14. Orcas

New Zealand Rescuers Work To Reunite Stranded Baby Orca With Pod WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 14: Toa the orca swims around a makeshift enclosure at Plimmerton Boating Club on July 14, 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand. The stranded male orca calf was found caught in the rocks near Plimmerton, north of Wellington, on Sunday 11 July. People from Department of Conservation (DOC) and volunteers from the Orca Research Trust have been taking shifts to care for the calf since it separated from its pod, as the search for the killer whale's pod continues. Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images/Getty Images

Born into highly bonded family groups called pods, female orcas stay with their mothers for the rest of their lives. The males do leave to mate but they eventually come back.

Orcas can live up to 90 years, so in one pod there will be many generations travelling together.

15. Polar Bears

Polar Bears
A Female Polar Bear And Her Cub On The Ice In North Spitsbergen NORTH SPITSBERGEN, NORWAY - JUNE 06: A two year old polar bear cub ventures close to a visiting boat over the moving ice flow on June 6, 2012 in Vaigattfjellet, North Spitsbergen, Norway. David Yarrow/Getty Images/Getty Images

When a baby cub is born, the dedicated polar bear mother never leaves her cubs until they are about two-and-a-half years old.

During this period, she fully trains them to learn survival skills. While pregnant, polar bear females spend nine months sheltering in a small den in preparation for birth where they can go four to eight months without eating.

17. Penguins

Emperor Penguins
Three Emperor Penguin Chicks Photo by Galen Rowell/Corbis via Getty Images/Getty Images

After an egg is laid, mother emperor penguin leaves it with the father who keeps it safe and warm. The mother then travels to the ocean to reach fish and returns to the hatching site to feed the hatched chicks via regurgitation.

The penguin chicks need their parents for survival and they will stay with them for about six months.

The average lifespan of an emperor penguin is about 20 years.

18. Tamarins

COLOMBIA-ANIMALS-MONKEYS A Geoffroy Tamarin monkey (Saguinus geoffroyi) is pictured with her two, one-week-old cubs born at Santa Fe zoo, in Medellin, Colombia on November 8, 2017. JOAQUIN SARMIENTO/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images

The South American primates enjoy living in family groups and babies will stay with their parents until they are young adults.

19. Wolves

BELGIUM-ANIMAL-ZOO A female regurgitates food for wolf cubs from Canada in their enclosure at Pairi Daiza animal park in Brugelette, western Belgium, on August 15, 2019. PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP via Getty Image/Getty Images

Wolf cubs stay with their mother for about 10 months, the age the cubs are old enough to hunt with the adults. The female wolf is a very nurturing mother and keeps her pups in a den for three to four weeks before allowing them out into the light.

Wolves packs usually include the male and female parent, and their pups from the last few years.

The average lifespan of a wolf is about 15 years.

20. Wolf Spiders

Wolf Spider
A garden wolf spider (Lycosa) carries her brood of over 100 babies on her back for protection at Sydney Wildlife World on July 18, 2008. The baby spiders will stay on her back for 30-40 days before molting and moving off or staying and risk being cannibalised. TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images

Female wolf spiders can carry up to 100 babies in order to protect them from predators, they really are protective mums and when the spiderlings hatch they stay attached to them for several days before scattering.