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10 Amazing Dads From the Animal Kingdom

10 Amazing Dads From the Animal Kingdom
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Not all non-human animal dads are cut out for family life, but there are a number of species who have become known for their role as fathers who deserve a salute, from giant water bugs who carry dozens of eggs on their backs to males who actually get pregnant and dads who operate solo as single parents. This Father’s Day, it’s time to celebrate some of the amazing dads from the animal kingdom who go above and beyond when it comes raising and protecting their young.

Red Fox

Male red foxes aren’t just loving mates, but excited and protective fathers. They take on the task of providing food for their mates every few hours for about a month after she gives birth. Then they take on the role of teacher but teachers who like to take time out to play. Even when it’s time to get serious and teach their young how to start finding their own food, fox dads help them out and make sure they don’t really go hungry by hiding it near their dens.

Emperor Penguin

After females lay a single precious egg, Emperor penguin dads take over the responsibility of incubating it by balancing it precariously on their feet and keeping it warm under their feathers in the frigid Antarctic weather while mothers go off to feed. Dads can go for about two months without eating until the egg hatches, at which point he will feed it before mother’s return to give them a break from baby-duty.

Sea Horse

Seahorses, who are also known to mate for life, have reverse roles; the females compete for males, and the males don’t just play a role in pregnancy, but actually get pregnant. Females deposit their eggs in the male’s pouch, where he fertilizes and carries them until tiny baby seahorses emerge fully developed. According to Science Daily, the process of male pregnancy is unique to the fish family Syngnathidae, which also includes pipefish and sea dragons.

Spotted Sandpiper

It doesn’t happen every time, but sandpipers have been found to reverse roles where female sandpipers establish and defend territory, while taking on multiple male partners. After luring a male to mate with and laying her eggs, she takes off to find another mate. Dad meanwhile stays to incubate the eggs and becomes the primary caregiver for the young for the first few weeks of their lives.

Gray Wolf

Despite the myths surrounding wolves that make them out to be villains, alpha male are loving, loyal and protective mates, fathers and leaders. Also known to mate for life, males who breed will guard their partners and pups while they’re in the den and take on the responsibility of finding everyone food. Even as pups grow older, dads will take on the role of teacher, helping them learn their role in the pack and the world.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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7:00AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

I think these Dads are great!! Especially the Fox and wolf dads. There is following through there. Pretty amazing about the Titi monkey and Rhea also devoted.Good job animal Dads!

7:00AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

I think these Dads are great!! Especially the Fox and wolf dads. There is following through there. Pretty amazing about the Titi monkey and Rhea also devoted.Good job animal Dads!

10:15PM PDT on Jun 28, 2014

Maybe we should marry sea horses!

10:56PM PDT on Jun 21, 2014

We had a pair of Siamese cats that had 4 kittens and the father at first wasn't that much involved, but when they were big enough to get playful he taught them how to play rough and how to use the scratching post and how to follow him to the food bowl and eat together. It was very interesting to watch.

2:16PM PDT on Jun 19, 2014


1:02PM PDT on Jun 19, 2014

Thanks for the good news.

6:05AM PDT on Jun 19, 2014

Every year I watch male cardinals bring their fledglings to the bird feeder, fill their mouths with seed and then pass it to the fledges, teaching them where and how to eat. It's pretty adorable.

3:32AM PDT on Jun 19, 2014

Thanks so much for this wonderful article.

It's just such a pity that certain Asian people have no respect for sea-horses.
The way they behave with killing ivory bearing animals in Africa is just as bad as their uninformed destruction of sea-horses and their habitat....

3:32AM PDT on Jun 19, 2014

Thanks for sharing!

4:00PM PDT on Jun 18, 2014

Thank you for sharing.

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