Top 6 Best Dads in the Animal Kingdom

Who's the Big Daddy of the animals kingdom? To wish everyone a Happy Father’s Day, and to highlight the hardworking fathers in the animal world, we’ve complied our top 6 list of Dad’s based on their dedication to their off-spring. Enjoy, and Happy Father’s Day!

#6 The Flamingo

Photograph by National Geographic Partners, LLC.

Flamingos share the responsibility of parenting. Both parents help to build the nest which can take up to 6 weeks. The parents also take turns incubating and protecting the egg in the nest between 27 to 31 days. The offspring is fed milk from both the parents’ digestive systems and that gives the supply of protein and fat the offspring needs for growth and development. Flamingos reflect gender equality within the animal kingdom and the shared responsibility means that the parents have equal time with their offspring.

#5 Golden Lion Tamarin

Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark

Males help to raise their offspring and carry their young on their backs in between feedings, where the mother has the young for 15 minutes every two to three hours. At four weeks when the Tamarin young can eat food, the father will peel and mash the bananas which he finds and hand feeds the offspring individually. Not only that, the male Tamarin also shows the offspring how to look after adolescent Golden Lion Tamarins so their offspring receive the proper care to remain healthy. The male has the main role in the upbringing of the young!

#4 African Dogs

Photograph by  National Geographic Channels

Similarly to how puppies are unable to eat solid, neither can wild dogs until they are around 10 weeks old. Therefore, the father will swallow their food and ensure it has been digested and then regurgitate it to give the pups food which is softer. This gives the pups the nourishment they need when growing. The fathers are relied upon for food and therefore pups stay close to their homes and always near their fathers.

#3 Red Fox

Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark

The father hunts every day to feed both the mother and the cubs, while the mother stays with them for the first 2-3 weeks. At three months the father stops giving the cub’s food to their annoyance and buries it near the den to help them to learn the skills of detecting and finding food. The father stays out in the freezing cold and does not go into the den. That is commitment to his cubs!

#2 Seahorses

Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark

Male Seahorses are one of the only species in the animal kingdom known for male pregnancy. The eggs are incubated in the Seahorse’s pouch, which is located on the ventral. This is for 45 days until the Seahorse is born fully developed but very small. The male Seahorse even has to endure labour pains. However, the parents do not provide any protection to the offspring after it is born.

#1 Emperor Penguin

A male Emperor Penguin spends the winter incubating the egg on the tops of his feet for 64 days until hatching to protect the egg from the harsh conditions where it would be unable to survive. Therefore, he does not eat or move throughout the whole two months. All other penguin species both parents take turns in incubating the egg until it hatches. If the egg hatches before the mum is back then the dad will feed the chick through milk made in the Dad's oesophagus. Male penguins will lose about 12kg while they wait for their chicks to hatch.

Main photograph credit to Jim Chagares, from National Geographic's YourShot Blog.
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