Families come in all different shapes, sizes and forms. What works for one family may not work for another. Animal families have their own defined roles, rules, and hierarchies, that help them to work together. Animal families have their own quirks just like human families, but communication and teamwork allow them to operate as a happy unit.

Elephant Family

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An elephant family is a powerful structure. An older, experienced female elephant will be the leader of the herd. The herd is generally made up of female elephants and their children. Adult male elephants spend most of their time alone or with a few other males. Elephants walk single file when searching for food or water and will congregate when they arrive. Elephants develop strong bonds with their families and form lifelong friendships.

Penguin Family

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There is nothing sweeter than a penguin family. Penguins are monogamous pairs for breeding. Most penguins will live in large colonies- which range in size from a few pairs, a few hundred pairs, or even thousand of pairs. Penguins are very protective of their chicks and will go to great lengths to ensure that they are safe. Penguins are very social and use visual, vocal, and physical cues to communicate.

Meerkat Family

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Meerkats are extremely sweet and by the looks of it- cuddly! Meerkats live in groups of 20 to 50 members of extended family. Meerkat families are known as mobs, clans or gangs- and they live in intricate underground burrow systems. These families are led by an alpha pair. Other family members will help to raise and care for pups to ensure that they will survive. One meerkat will watch the group as they forage for food to ensure that they are safe from predators. The watcher meerkat is relieved of his duties every hour and replaced so that he can forage as well. Meerkat families work together to make sure that everyone is protected and taken care of.

Prairie Dog Family

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Prairie dogs are super cute little animals that know family comes first. Prairie dogs live in underground burrows that they mark with mounds of dirt at the entrances. The burrows are designed very much like a family home with sleeping quarters, areas for babies, and toilet areas. Prairie dogs work together to stay safe from predators and will employ a listener at designated posts to try and hear approaching threats. Prairie dogs cooperate as a family to share food, groom one another, play, and even show affection- including kissing.

Domesticated Cat Family

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Domesticated cats are a social species that form stable relationships within their families. Although cats like to be alone at times, they do like small groups or even large colonies- especially if the cats are neutered. Cats are social in household settings and in the wild as well. They establish complex matriarchal hierarchies that are like lions in the wild. Cats develop preferred friendships within their homes known as bonded pairs.

Wolf Family

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Wolves are extremely social animals that live together in packs. A wolf pack (family) is generally made up of an adult male (alpha), an adult female wolf (alpha) and their children. The alpha wolves are the only ones in the pack that will breed and get to eat before others. A wolf family can be as large as twenty wolves. Wolf packs are based upon rules and structure. It is extremely important that the wolf family works together so that they will survive. The social dynamics of the pack may change over time with wolves moving up and down in the hierarchy.

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