The crèche (from French) in zoology refers to care of another's offspring, for instance in a colony, usually those of birds. Many penguins form crèches, as do the Canada goose, common eider, common shelduck, and many other birds. Common mergansers raise young in crèches of around thirty to forty ducklings, though single females leading over seventy ducklings have been observed.
Among reptiles, spectacled caiman also raise their young in crèches, in which one female takes care of her own as well as several others' offspring.
Lions are another notable species to form crèches. Females within a pride will provide mutual protection and will even nurse each other's cubs. However, studies have shown that cubs raised in crèches tend to have lower feeding-rates than if they were raised by one mother. This indicates that in lions, the crèche is a defensive formation.
- Seabird colony
Date of last edit: 2021-01-28T16:36:09.000Z