Animal Welfare

I Want My Mum! Children of the Riviera Maya’s Animal Kingdom

What does childhood look like for our pets and local wildlife?

April 30 is Children’s Day in Mexico, so this is a good time to look at the children of the animals around us; from pets in our home to the wildlife that resides in the jungles and beaches of the area.

Puppies should always stay with their mothers for at least eight weeks after birth. If they are taken away sooner they can become problematic as they grow, often resulting in fearful behavior towards other dogs. Additionally, a puppy will be far healthier if it can wean naturally from its mother’s milk around the seventh-eighth week.

Kittens take a bit longer and are normally weaned off their mother’s milk by the time they are 8 – 10 weeks old and ideally should go to their new home at around 12 – 13 weeks. For puppies and kittens, spending time with their mother gives them maximum nutrients for future good health and teaches them essential socialization skills. If the mother is sadly unable to look after her young or is not around, talk to a vet to find the best milk replacement and handling of the young animal.

Baby jaguars are born with their eyes sealed shut and only see the world for the first time at around two weeks. They are very vulnerable to predators until they start to grow. At around six months the mother teaches them to hunt and they will stay with her for around two years before going off to find their own hunting territory.

All these mothers are pretty hands on, but for the green turtles found in Akumal and along the Riviera Maya, it is a different story. After mating, the female comes onto the sandy beaches, quite often at night, using her front flippers to dig out a hole. She then uses her back flippers to dig an egg cavity in which she then deposits around 100 eggs which will take up to 55 days to hatch. That’s the mother’s job done and then it is every baby for itself!

So kids, the next time you get cross with your family because they tell you to do your homework or make your bed – remember how many years they devote to feeding and caring for you, compared to our animal friends!

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