Jun 18

Fantastic Fathers of the Animal World

by Staff

Dads come in all shapes, sizes, colors and breeds. Learn more about a few of our favorite fathers of the animal world.

Seahorse: Do you think "seahorse" is the right name for these fantastic, fancy fishes? Sure, they have a face like a horse, but they also have a prehensile tail like a monkey and a pouch like a kangaroo. They use their tail to cling to seaweed and the pouch to raise their eggs. But get this-it's the fathers that carry the eggs in that pouch, not the females. The Dads carry them for two to six weeks and give "birth" to 100 or more babies at a time.

Sea Horse Father and Baby

Emperor penguin: Emperor penguins do not build nests. Penguin dads stand upright and incubate a single egg on top of their feet under a loose fold of skin called a brood patch. After Mom transfers the egg to Dad, she goes to sea to feed while the male is incubating. The male fasts throughout the courtship, nesting and incubation periods, living off reserves of body fat and losing up to 45 percent of his body weight. The female returns just before the egg is ready to hatch to relieve her mate. If the egg hatches before the female returns, the male is able to produce and secrete a curd-like substance from his esophagus to feed the chick.

Emperor Penguins

Asian small clawed otter: Even though Mom has to do all the initial "work" before birth, Asian small clawed otters share the parenting duties. Dad protects the kits, brings Mom and kits food, and carries kits by the scruff of the neck to water to help them learn to swim.

Asian Small Clawed River Otters

Siamese fighting fish: Male Siamese fighting fish build bubble nests at he water's surface. After placing the eggs in the nest, these attentive fathers tuck in any eggs or young that fall out of the nest until the young can swim freely.

Common marmoset: Common marmoset parents often have twins. Shortly after birth, the babies usually crawl onto their father's back where they cling tightly as their dad carries them around through the trees.