Luckily for these six fluffy cygnets, Mummy was happy to oblige. One by one, under her watchful eye, the brood clambered aboard her back for a ride.
Having checked all were present and correct, the mother swan gently tucked back her wings to stop them falling off before gliding back to her nest.
The mute swan and her fluffy cargo were caught on camera by Richard Meston on a visit to Bicton Park Botanical Gardens near Sidmouth, Devon.
Mr Meston, 32, said: ‘The cygnets had been splashing in the water around their mum. They looked like they were starting to get tired and one by one started to scramble up on their mum’s back. She didn’t mind at all and even gave them a nudge up.’
The father of three from Bournemouth added: ‘After they got settled in, she covered them with her wings protectively like a cushion and went on her way.
‘She kept looking back to make sure they were still there. It was almost as if she was giving them a quick telling-off to keep them in line. I could imagine them like kids in the back of the car saying, “Are we nearly there yet?” and squabbling.’
Julia Newth, of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, said: ‘Mute swans are very protective of their young and will vigorously defend them from any threats. But this one is definitely showing the gentler side of her instincts in giving her young a lift on her back.’