Great Horned Owl
Great horned owl dads are the stereotypical breadwinners in their families. After finding the perfect home with their mates, male great horned owls take on the role of provider by hunting enough to feed himself and his mate, who is bigger than he is, before taking on the added responsibility of hunting for their young when they hatch.
North American Beaver
Beaver dads are devoted family men, handymen and providers in the animal world. They mate for life and take on a co-parenting role in raising their young until they’re about 2-years-old, while helping care for them and teaching them how to become successful ecosystem engineers before they go off and start families of their own.
In 2012, a beaver in Martinez, Calif., known as “Dad” raised fears about what would happen to his young after his mate died from an infection, but he showed us he could do it all as a single father of three.
Male titi monkeys, who are known for monogamous relationships, are also known for the strong bond they build with their young as primary caregivers. Except for time spent with mom nursing, babies spend the rest of their time being carried around, cared for and protected by their fathers for the first few months of their lives.
As members of a polygamous species, male rheas have a lot of partners, but when it comes to child-rearing these dads pull their weight and then some. Males can have up to a dozen or so female partners who all lay eggs in a nest he builds before they leave. Males then take on the role of incubating and guarding what can be more than 50 eggs for close to two months before taking on the role of a single parent after they hatch. Males have also been known to adopt orphaned chicks who have been separated from their brood.
Darwin’s frog dads, who are native to South America, have come up with a neat and bizarre way to protect their offspring from predators. While they breed like other amphibians, where females lay eggs in the water that are fertilized by males, the males of this species take the fertilized eggs into their mouths, store them in their vocal sacs and keep them there until they’re fully developed frogs — at which point he throws them up.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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