Father’s Day Has Gone WILD: Nature’s Top Animal Dads

KS NatureThis weekend is Father’s Day, but we should take some time out to celebrate more than just our human dads. National Geographic crafted an adorable list of the top animal dads. Enjoy! 🐧🐸🐦

7) ‘Emperor penguin fathers endure below-freezing temperatures and forgo food to incubate their eggs. After the female lays a single egg, her mate rests it on his feet and covers it with a flap of skin (above, a penguin protects its chick using the same skin flap)… For four months the males huddle together, not moving much, while the females fill up on seafood in the ocean. The females eventually return to help feed the newly hatched chicks.’

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6) ‘Cockroaches may get a lot of bad press, but you can’t call them deadbeat dads. In species that feed on wood, the parents use the material to build nests and find food for their larvae… Cockroach fathers will even eat bird droppings to obtain nitrogen, a necessary part of their diet, and carry it back to their young (below, German cockroach babies emerge from an egg). Wood-feeding cockroaches are also tidy parents, sweeping nurseries clean of dead cockroaches and fungus to shield their families from infection.’

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5) ‘The barking frog—named for its throaty, dog-like call—guards his brood after the female lays her eggs under rocks or logs in the U.S. Southwest. The frog hangs out by the eggs for several weeks, wetting the eggs with his urine if they dry out… In other frog species, males carry their larvae on their backs or swallow their newly hatched tadpoles to shelter them in special mouth sacs giving the offspring a safe haven to develop.’

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4) For most birds, females are stuck with child care, but not so for the South America’s greater rhea (below, chicks nestle into their dad’s back feathers at Washington D.C.’s National Zoo). Females mate with several males during the breeding season, and several birds will lay their eggs in a nest created by a male. The male then incubates up to 50 eggs for six weeks and cares for the newly hatched young. The dads aggressively guard the babies, charging at any animal—even a female rhea—that approaches. The male rhea at the National Zoo, a second-time father, keeps his chicks from meandering too far away with a rapid clacking of his bill, according to zoo officials.’

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3) ‘Male marmosets in South America not only carry, feed, and groom their twin babies (pictured, a baby black-tailed marmoset with its mother in a Tokyo zoo), they may even act as “midwives” during birth, grooming and licking the newborns. Marmoset dads may be so involved because of the high cost of birth for the mother, whose unborn babies eventually make up 25 percent of her body weight—equal to a 120-pound woman giving birth to a 30-pound infant.’

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2) ‘Talk about back-breaking work—the male giant water bug (pictured below in California) literally totes around his brood of about 150 eggs until they hatch. After a courtship of sparring and grasping, these ferocious insects mate, and the females cement their fertilized eggs to the males’ backs with a natural glue… The daddy water bug fiercely protects his eggs and periodically exposes them to air to prevent them from growing mold.’

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1) ‘Seahorses are a type of fish in which the males actually get “pregnant.” The female seahorse deposits her eggs in the male’s specialized pouch, and the male carries up to 2,000 babies during its 10- to 25-day pregnancy. “They’re fascinating—males have more or less become females, [almost] transgendered,” said Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading in the U.K. “They’re devoted fathers.”‘

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I should also take a second to honor MY dad, the wonderful and amazing RICHARD KRYSTIAN! Happy Father’s Day to the best man I know. Raising me wasn’t easy 😁

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Father’s Day Has Gone WILD: Nature’s Top Animal Dads

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