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Nature's 7 meanest mommies

May 7, 2010, 3:58 p.m.
Lioness and cub

Photo: afiedeldey/Flickr

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Protective mama

We first showed the love to some of nature’s warm and fuzzy mothers, so now it’s a trip straight to the dark side: nature’s "meanest" mommies. You thought Joan Crawford was bad? “No wire hangers” is nothing compared to the schemes some mothers in the animal kingdom have devised. With plot lines that make Shakespeare’s most sadistic thoughts seem sweet, many a mom in nature resorts to abandonment, infanticide (often by eating her young, nice), adultery and murder. That’s a bad mommy. Although to be fair, they really don’t know any better — these are all behaviors developed through evolution to ensure the longevity of the species. It’s a matter of species survival trumping maternal instinct. Still, cannibalism? I think I’m grateful I’m not the runt of a hamster litter — or better yet, a hamster mom.

So in celebration of Mother’s Day and all the lovely things our mothers have done for us — like, not eating us — here’s a rogues’ gallery of some of nature’s seemingly most sinister mothers.

This story was written by Melissa Breyer. It originally appeared on Care2.com and is used here with permission.