Maternal instinct: Moving images showing mother animals carrying their young in their mouths in Kenya. Love is all they need.

Caught between the jaws of a leopard is not a position you want to be in - but if it's your mum it's probably not that bad.

When this leopard cub was picked up between its mother's teeth it delighted London photographer Paul Goldstein who had waited 20 years for the snap.

He has spent several months each year studying and photographing predators in the Masai Mara nature reserve and has captured lions, cheetahs and even a mother hyena carrying their young along the way.

But the one photo which eluded him was that of a mother leopard with her cub in her mouth - until now.

Mr Goldstein, who also guides people around the area was not expecting to get the shot he was looking for because the cub was quite large.

He explained: 'This cub was large to be carried, normally they stop this intimate and protective process at about five weeks and this cub was well over that.'

But although getting the leopard at last was satisfying, the most intense experience was shooting the hyenas.

The photographer, from Wimbledon, said: 'Perhaps even more remarkable were the new born hyena pups. This was only a short time after birth, mum had three, immediately ate one of them then carried these two off to a den.

'This was viewed from a fair distance and although this natal triage was brutal, it is necessary for survival of this remarkable yet much maligned predator.

'I feel extremely privileged to have seen these things in the Masai Mara.'

Animals carry their young in their mouths when they are newborns to move them from place to place, and to protect them because they are fragile.

They soon stop because the baby needs to grow on its own and learn to thrive for itself.

Known by locals as 'The Mara', the reserve is an area which covers 583 square miles.

Responses to "Mother animals carrying their young in their mouths. (Photos)"

  1. These are so Beautiful, Thank you for sharing,

  2. Anonymous says:

    Protective moms with their precious fur-bundles of joy. I LOVE wildlife, I LOVE nature <3

  3. Anonymous says:

    These are BEAUTIFUL!

  4. Anonymous says:

    beautiful, but you need other animals as on the rox

  5. SASS says:

    amazing force of nurturing in nature...

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