Let's be real here: Many fathers in the animal kingdom follow the classic "hit-it-and-quit-it" type of mating ritual. Many dads don't stick around when it comes to raising their offspring. They usually leave that to the mother to do, and not much credit is giving to the papas.
However, there are many exceptions to this theme, and these animal dads go hardcore to raise their kids. These animal dads are cool, and some even sacrifice their lives in the name of their children! Some of these animal dads would earn the Father of the Year award, and it is time to honor these awesome dads.
Check out these dedicated animal fathers!
Lions just barely make the list. While they're not winning any "#1 DAD" awards anytime soon, they are not the worst fathers out there either. You may have saw the Lion King and thought, "Wow, lions make great fathers." However, that is fictional and while it may have some truth to it, lion dads are not all they're cracked up to be.
You may have already been aware that lions will kill any cubs from a previous pride leader. This may make them bad step fathers, they are not exactly terrible fathers. They make the cut because they will guard their prides and are fiercely protective of them. Yeah he may leave the lady lions to go get the food and take care of the kids while he lounges around all day, but he at least is there to protect his pride! Lion prides can be massive, and can include up to seven lionesses and 20 cubs! That's a lot of work, so I guess he isn't good-for-nothing.
Gorilla dads are another animal that practices the killing of another male's offspring, or infanticide, when they take over a group. That doesn't mean that papa gorilla is a bad dad though, and he cares very much for his family.
He is usually in charge of at least 30 other gorillas in his group, and his job is to find food for them. He usually mates with one female for life and takes care of her during her pregnancy. He usually lets her eat first before joining in. Juvenile gorillas love their dads, and usually stay close with them throughout their lives. They lean on them for support and comfort and dad teaches them lessons and plays games with them. This is important, because if the mother gorilla dies, he increases their chances of survival by doing these things with them. He watches them closely, and will even allow for them to sleep in his nest. He fends them off from enemy gorillas by beating his chest.
Just don't be another gorilla's kids, or else you are dead to him.
8. Grey Wolf
Wolf dads are some of the best daddies, and best partners too. Wolves are monogamous animals, and they mate with that one special she-wolf for the rest of their lives. Aside from the wolf pack, the are a good example of the classic nuclear family that consists of a mom, dad, and kids.
After the mama wolf gives birth, she stays with her pups and never leaves their side while in the den. The papa wolf will hunt and bring back food for his family along with other pack members. He will share his meal with his pups and family and provide them with fresh meat, breaking up the food that it will become easier for them to eat. As the pups get older dad shows them tough loves, teaching them how to fend for themselves as they become members of the pack.
7. Pygmy Marmoset
Pygmy marmoset dads are some of the most hard-working dads out there since they take their roles of being a father very seriously. They start grooming and licking their young right after they are born, as the mother is winded from giving birth.
The reason they are like this is because the female's pregnancy and birth is exhausting for her. If you're a woman, imagine carrying a 30-pound baby inside of you then pushing it out...yeah.
Then the dad will carry his young on his back for the first couple of weeks after they are born, returning to the nesting site for feedings when they are hungry. He has some serious monkeys on his back!
6. Great Horned Owl
Now we're getting down to the best-of-the-bunch. The Great Horned Owl is a family "man"...err, owl, and devoted to his children. Once he attracts a mate, the two lovers go house-hunting. They search for hollow tree stumps, old hawk-nests or squirrel dens, where the female will lay her eggs.
When winter comes, the battle commences, and dad brings home the bacon while mom recuperates. They feed on mice, squirrels, and other small rodents. Dad has to feed himself and his lover, which is a lot of work already. When the kids are hatched, the work becomes harder, but at least he has his owl-friend to help. Dad still puts in work though, feeding his owlets and helping them grow.
5. Frog and Toad
Believe it or not, amphibians are dedicated, full-time fathers. Some frog species carry their young in the pouches of their mouths to shield them from dangerous insects who would try to feast on them. Sometimes, this blocks them from eating, and they will go long periods of times without a meal.
In some species of frogs or toads, the female will inject the male's skin with tadpole eggs, often on their backs or legs. In the pouched frog, there is a special pouch that males possess where they carry their young until they are mature. Talk about over-protective father.
4. Red Fox
Red foxes are cool dads that do their part in providing for their family. When the female fox, or vixen, is pregnant, he will hunt every day, providing a fresh meal for his aching partner. He doesn't stop even after his kits are born. He continues to hunt every day, providing free food delivery service so that his pups aren't hungry. After a few months, the pups experience a wake up call: no more free food. They have to learn to fend for themselves. Daddy fox teaches them these life lessons by roughhousing with his kids, and hiding the food he bring back to teach them how to scavenge. What a cool daddy!
3. African Jacana
Jacanas are one of the best daddies. Now only do they take on a motherly role, but they even care for chicks that may not be theirs!
Male Jacanas do all the work by building the nest and sitting on the eggs while the mother goes out to mate with other Jacanas. If his eggs are threatened, he scoops them under his wing and moves them to a new nesting site, where he will go through the process all over again. When the chicks hatch, he feeds their hungry mouths and cares for until they are old enough to fend for themselves. The mother only returns to the nest if the eggs are endangered.
Wow, must be tough being a male Jacana. Props to the male Jacana for being there for the babies!
Ask a male seahorse what it was like getting pregnant, and he'll tell you! They are one of the few animals on this planet that experience male pregnancy and labor. The female deposits her eggs into the pouch of the male, where he keeps them warm and protects them for a 45-day gestation period. Then they explode from his pouch in a frenzy of miniature seahorses. They even experience contractions as they are being birthed! Who wears the pants in this relationship?
1. Emperor Penguin
The Emperor penguin definitely deserves the "Best Dad" award, because the sacrifices that he makes to ensure the longevity of his family are challenging. If you have ever seen March of the Penguins, penguins really do love their children.
When the female lays her egg, she had expended her energy, and goes off to feed in the cold, Antarctic oceans. She leaves her egg with dad, who takes on the role of being a single father. He keeps the egg warm by balancing it on top of his toes under his belly. He has to be careful not to drop the egg, or this could end tragically for his offspring. He takes this new-found responsibly so seriously that he barely moves, or even eats for the two months that his mate is gone. If the chick is born before the mother comes back, dad will care for his young by regurgitating a milky substance that he produces from his esophagus.
This dad goes hardcore for his kids.
Which of these epic animals do you think deserves the Father of the Year award?
It's amazing the great lengths that some dads go to make sure their young are safe and sound. <3
Happy Fathers Day to everyone!