Like in our own lives, in lives of our animal friends, the family represents something huge, a community that plays a great role in their growing up, teaching them about life and how to survive in the harsh world. We all already know that mothers play a significant role in the lives of their offspring since the fact has been mentioned several times in other articles. However, it seems that fathers of the animal kingdom were disregarded and we can assure you that they certainly do not deserve that treatment. Some animal dads are so devoted to bringing up and protecting their offspring that they deserve a “shout out”. That is why this article will be devoted to the most amazing dads in the animal kingdom.
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1. Red Fox
When you think of foxes you probably picture a cunning animal and a trickster, and certainly not one of the best parents in the animal kingdom. After giving birth, the mother fox needs to be with her children constantly and provide them with safety and warmth. That is when the male foxes need to prove themselves as fathers. In the first month after birth, the father fox is in constant pursuit of food for the whole family. And afterwards, when little foxes start getting out of the den, their father doesn’t leave them to struggle, but teaches them how to hunt their food by hiding it somewhere around the den.
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This fish deserves an award for being the best father of freshwaters. Dad arowana provides its baby fish with the top of the line protection from the predators. Not only does he build a nest for his babies, but he also tends to preserve the children in his mouth, letting them out only occasionally so they can explore their surroundings.
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They might not be the best husbands, but they certainly are exceptional fathers. Rheas are polygamous birds from South America which can have up to 12 female mates. After impregnating all the females, male rheas are left to incubate all their eggs and afterwards take care of the young hatchlings. Dad rheas take care of their offspring without any help for at least six months until little rheas are ready to take care of themselves. They truly deserve to win custody of their children every time in animal court.
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4. Pygmy Marmoset
For a little guy he is, this monkey possesses great strength when it comes to parenting. After the female marmoset goes into labor, the male marmoset feels bad for his mate who has to push babies out of her body which are not much smaller than her. For that reason, after the babies are born, the dad takes over the children and starts carrying them on his back. Sometimes the father marmoset can carry up to 4 little ones on his back for the first few weeks following birth. During this period, the dad grooms them, plays with them and protects them from danger which is certainly a reason for placing a pygmy marmoset on this list.
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Here we have another single parent among birds which is a little more unfortunate than the rhea. Jacana is a bird whose males are not very dominant in a relationship, but without them baby jacanas would be left to the mercy of the world. Jacana dads do not only incubate the eggs, but they also perform a wide range of parental duties which are disregarded by the mother. When the season of migration comes, jacana fathers regularly decide to stay with their children if needed while the mothers have already left.
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6. Emperor Penguin
You are probably wondering how these birds are able to survive the harsh winters of Antarctica while they are young. The reason for their survival is their father’s dedication and sacrifice during winter. After laying the eggs, female penguins are left malnourished, so they leave for a two-month hunting trip in the ocean. During that time, penguin males are left with the eggs which they have to protect from icy winds by balancing them on their feet and keeping them warm with their belly feathers. These amazing dads are left without the ability to move in these harsh conditions and with no food at all in order to protect their eggs. If that does not win you the best dad of the year award, I don’t know what does.
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7. Giant Water Bug
Who knew insects could be good parents as well. Giant water bug is certainly an exception in the world of insects. This devoted dad is left with around 150 eggs glued to his back by his wife. His job is to carry them on his back, protect them and clean them for approximately three weeks until they hatch.
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8. Toad / Frog
These amphibians do a very good job at protecting their children. Dads from the toad and frog family take very good care of their eggs and tadpoles until they develop into full form. Some species of frogs keep their children in their mouth while they are in a tadpole stage. During this period, father frogs even refuse to eat because they have a chance of swallowing their kids. When little frogs are fully developed inside their father’s mouth, he spits them out one by one into the world. Some frogs/toads, instead of keeping tadpoles in their mouth, have the ability to form pouches like marsupial mammals or even keep them inside their skin.
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We already mentioned arowana as the best freshwater dad. In that case, seahorses definitely make best saltwater fathers. These animal dads play a role which Arnold Schwarzenegger played in the 1994 movie Junior. Male seahorses have the ability to give birth to their young, even up to 500 of them during one pregnancy. Their pregnancy is quite hard for them especially because of the contractions they experience after 25 to 40 days of labor when little seahorses are ready to see the world.
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