Usually, lactation follows having a baby. However, in some cases it happens without ever having a baby, or many years after having a baby, in which case it is called a relactation. Wikipedia has some stuff on relactation - rule 34 applies, but it's safe for work. Humans probably lactate without relation to recently giving birth more often than other animals, because they do it on purpose and they have various ways of promoting lactation, including some drugs. "Wet nurses" used to just keep their lactation for years. Aunts or sometimes grandmothers used to relactate to suckle an orphaned baby. These days, adoptive mothers sometimes either lactate without ever giving birth, or relactate to provide breastfeeding for their adopted kids.
Even human males occasionally lactate, sometimes spontaneously. However, there is a mammal, called The Dayak Fruit Bat, who, besides having an awesome Star Wars-like species name, sports male lactation as a species norm. This Scientific American article provides more details on male lactation in humans, though.
And now I am going to post a cute picture of a cat nursing lots of kittens. Because it's much nicer looking than some of the human pictures I found researching this topic ^_^
By Neil Farrell An oddball, adult male sea otter could be sentenced to life in captivity after he bit and scratched a woman at Morro Rock last week, while apparently protecting a dead paramour. According to state Fish and Game biologist Mike Harris, the otter — named “Repo” — had been seen in and around the bay for more than a week. On Tuesday, July 8 a 21-year-old woman saw the otter on a small beach near the North Jetty lying with a dead sea lion. Both animals were about the same size, and Harris said the woman thought Repo was harming the sea lion. She got too close and the otter turned on her. “She thought she was doing good to get the otter off the sea lion,” said Harris. When she approached, Repo got mad. “He got real protective and tried to defend the animal he’d been carrying around a few days. She got bit and scratched.” One report said she was bitten in the throat, leg and arm and suffered several scratches, resulting in what was described as minor injuries. Sea otters and other marine mammals are not a concern for rabies, said Harris, who stressed the point that people should stay away from wild animals. “The public should not be approaching a wild animal period,” said Harris. Instead call authorities who will contact someone who knows how to handle the animals. Repo’s had a tough life and has a long rap sheet with authorities. Harris explained that about five years ago, the otter was found as a pup abandoned by his mother in the Monterey Bay area. The Marine Mammal Center took him in and soon transferred him to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which has a special program that teaches orphaned otter pups to forage in hopes they can be released into the wild. Harris said Repo was eventually tagged and released, but unfortunately, has become acclimated to humans. He’s had an eventful existence to say the least. He was once bitten by a shark and survived. Shelbi Stoudt, the Marine Mammal Center’s stranding manager, said they nursed Repo back to health and he was released again. Harris said a couple of years ago he stranded in poor health in the Monterey-Moss Landing area. Again, he was rehabilitated and released. A traveler, Repo has been spotted from Moss Landing to Pismo Beach. Over the past year or so, Harris said Repo began exhibiting some rather peculiar behavior. He’s stranded several times on beaches from See Odball Otter, page 5 Odball Otter, continued Pismo to Moss Landing, including a few times in the Morro Bay area. What’s unusual is he appeared to be healthy each time. Repo once hauled out next to the Pismo Pier on a crowded weekend. People were able to approach quite close, but he didn’t attack anyone. And this isn’t the first time the 65pound sea weasel has been spotted carting around dead things. About a week before his Morro Bay incident, Harris said Repo was in Moss Landing carrying around a dead sea lion. Sea otters sometimes exhibit this strange attachment to the nonliving. To paraphrase Alice Cooper, some otters “…love the dead.” Females have been seen carrying around dead pups; males carry around dead females; and Harris said he’s gotten reports of sea otters trying to mate with baby harbor seals, killing them and then carting around the carcasses. Sea otters have even been seen swimming around with dead birds, which Harris said they sometimes prey upon. About 1-1/2 weeks ago, Harris explained, Repo started hauling out inside the Morro Bay Harbor where he was attracting crowds. Last Tuesday came the fateful call — Repo was laying with a dead sea lion at Morro Rock and someone finally got too close. Harris said when he came out to check on the big guy, Repo was acting different than the past. “I could tell he wasn’t going to let me get close to him while he was next to that sea lion,” said Harris, who had to get out the nets to bring him in. Repo now awaits his fate — jealousy his apparent final undoing. He was taken to a familiar place — the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Harris said they are now waiting for a consultation with the federal Fish and Wildlife Service on the otter’s future. It’s likely he won’t swim wild and free again. “We’ll probably put this animal in captivity for the rest of its life,” said Harris. “We just can’t take that chance. We’ll have to find a home for him and that’s not going to be easy.” Adult male otters don’t adjust well to captivity, he explained, sometimes becoming more aggressive. Harris said Fish and Game has a research facility in Santa Cruz with five other sea otters that can’t be released because they too have become accustomed to people. So, Repo will likely be towed off to the Fish and Game research facility where he’ll help biologists develop methods of treating his wild brethren that get caught in oil spills. Lest anyone think Repo is some kind of perverted critter, Harris said they had no reports that he had actually tried to mate any of his no-pulse paramours. “Sometimes you just get these demented animals,” he said. Repo now awaits his fate — jealousy his apparent final undoing.