Prairie dogs live in family groups. They dig tunnels for their homes.

Prairie dogs live in family groups. They dig tunnels for their homes.

Male clownfish help take care of their eggs.

Male clownfish help take care of their eggs.

African wild dogs look after others in their pack.

African wild dogs look after others in their pack.

Members of a dwarf mongoose mob check in with each other throughout the day.

Members of a dwarf mongoose mob check in with each other throughout the day.

Chimpanzees like to spend time with their friends.

Chimpanzees like to spend time with their friends.

Animal Family Ties

Posted: May 1, 2021

People have given animal communities clever names. A family of bears is a sleuth. A group of kangaroos is a troop. Goats live in a tribe. Grasshoppers belong to a cloud. Pigs reside in a drift. A flamingo family is a stand. A cat community is a pounce. Frogs form an army. And owls flock together in parliaments. Every animal family acts differently. But one thing is certain––these families stick together. Family ties make animal communities strong.

Dads on Duty: Penguin dads keep eggs safe atop their warm feet while moms search for food. A male sea lion stands guard over up to 20 females in his colony while they feed their young. Male clownfish help females clean sea anemone to use as a nursery. When eggs hatch, these finny dads help moms fan the fry (babies) to make sure they get enough oxygen.

Home Sweet Home: Prairie dogs live in coteries. This is a small family group within a larger colony of prairie dogs. Members of a coterie dig extensive tunnels underground. The well-organized tunnels have sleeping areas, “bathroom” areas, and spaces for little ones.

What’s for Dinner? African wild dogs love their packs. A pack is made up of as many as 40 wild dogs. A father and mother pair leads the pack. The strongest dogs hunt for food and share it with the rest of the pack. Interestingly, the weakest dogs get to eat first. When the adults get a turn, they often regurgitate some of the food. That means they bring up food that they already swallowed. They give the regurgitated food to pack members that are very young, injured, or elderly. In an African wild dog pack, everyone looks after each other!

How’s It Going? Dwarf mongooses live in a group called a mob. A female leads each mob. Dwarf mongooses check in with each other throughout the day. They do this by calling out with short little chirps.

Friends First: A family group of chimpanzees is called a community. These groups can be huge! Some have up to 150 chimpanzees. The communities have smaller friend groups within them. Friends groom each other, reassure each other, and of course––enjoy spending time together.