Most animals never even see their parents. Many never meet their fathers and some do not meet their mothers either. Some insects, fish, amphibians and reptiles hatch from fertilised eggs and face life on their own. And those animals who are raised by parents, are often reared by their mothers. But we found that there are some animal fathers who are great dads too.

Catfish: A male sea catfish keeps the eggs of his young in his mouth until they are ready to hatch. He does not eat during this period, which may go several weeks.

Cockroach: A father cockroach eats bird droppings to obtain precious nitrogen, which he carries back to feed his young.

Duck: Most male ducks live as bachelors, but the ruddy duck of North America helps care for his young.

Earthworms: Since earthworms have both male and female sex organs, every earthworm can be both a mother and a father. Animals that have both male and female organs are called hermaphrodites.

Wolf: When the mother wolf gives birth, the father stands guard outside their den and brings food for the mother and pups. As they grow, he not only plays with them but also teaches them how to survive. Wolves continue to live together much as human families do.

Frog: The male Darwin frog hatches his eggs in a pouch in his mouth. However, unlike the catfish, the existence of the pouch does not stop him from eating. Soon, the tadpoles lose their tails, become tiny frogs and jump out of his mouth!

Monkey: There are small monkeys in South America called marmosets. Among these monkeys, the fathers take care of their babies from birth. When a marmoset is born, the father cleans it, keeps it safe and carries it to the mother only when it needs to be nursed. When the baby can eat solid food, it is the father who feeds the child.

Penguin: A father emperor penguin bears the cold winds in the Antarctic for 60 days or more to protect his eggs, which he keeps on his feet, covered with a feathered flap. During this time, he does not eat a thing!

The long-tailed Gentoo penguin incubates eggs
The long-tailed Gentoo penguin incubates eggs

Most father penguins lose about 25 pounds while they wait for their babies to hatch. Afterward, they feed the chicks a special liquid from their throats. The father penguin can go to eat and rest only after the mother comes to take charge.

Rhea: Rheas are large South American birds and look like ostriches. Among rheas, it is always the father who takes care of the young. From the eggs to chicks, he feeds and protects them until they are old enough to survive on their own.

Sand grouse: A father Namaqua sand grouse of Africa’s Kalahari Desert flies as far as 50 miles a day in order to soak himself in water so that his chicks can drink water from his feathers when he returns to his nest.

Sea horse: The male sea horse has a pouch in which the mother lays her eggs. The father then looks after the eggs for about two months, until they hatch and leave the pouch. He continues to protect the young until they are able to live on their own.

Siamese fighting fish: When the mother lays her eggs, the father catches them in his mouth, then drops them into a nest he has prepared. He guards the nest and protects the baby fish till they hatch.

Now, isn’t that a huge list of great dads?

590 words | 5 minutes
Readability: Grade 5 (10-11 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: planet earth
Tags: #monkeys, #penguins, #chicks, #organs

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