Dads in the animal kingdom might not get neckties or iPads for Father’s Day, but many of them deserve some attention for their attentive fathering skills. While a lot of focus is attached to mothers caring for their young, in many cases it’s the dads who do the feeding, carrying, and caring for the babies. Here are a few examples.
Seahorses: Female seahorses deposit her eggs in a special pouch on the male’s stomach. He carries up to 2,000 eggs for 15-25 days before they hatch, providing them with nutrients and oxygen as they grow.
Marmoset: The male marmoset feeds, carries, and grooms their babies, which can help boost connections in the brains of the young. Marmoset dads also tend to remain faithful to their families, continuing to care for the young as they grow.
Greater Rhea: The males will create a nest in which female birds deposit their eggs (he will usually mate with multiple females). He then spends six weeks incubating up to 50 eggs, and takes care of the young when they are newly hatched. Rhea dads are extremely protective of their young, and keep them nestled safely amidst their own feathers.
Emperor Penguin: Perhaps the most well known animal dads, male emperor penguins are very devoted fathers. They incubate the eggs that are laid by the females for four months, resting them on their feet and protecting them using a flap of skin. The fathers remain very still and eat little to no food during the entire incubation time.
Catfish: It may appear at first glance that catfish dads are a little uncaring when they gobble up the eggs of their own offspring. In actual fact, the dads keep the eggs in their mouths to protect them while they grow. Like Emperor Penguins they eat very little during this time, though in this case it’s so they don’t accidentally swallow any of their young.
Red Fox: Daddy red foxes take a large part in rearing their children. While the pups are still young, they go out and find food to bring back to the den. Later they also lead their young around their territory and play with them as well.
Wolverines: While wolverines would seem to be the farthest animals to be vying for the title “dad of the year,” researchers have noticed certain patterns with these rather ferocious animals. They will travel great distances to visit their various mates and children, sometimes taking the young out to show them how to fend for themselves in the wild.
While many animal dads play a very small part in the rearing of their offspring, these dads step up to the plate (or the nest) and make sure their young are safe. In doing this, they ensure that their children survive and carry on the good penguin, or fox, or wolverine name for generations to come.