Some animal fathers have taken other paths–shaped by such factors as severe living conditions that require effort from both parents for the young to survive. Or unusual reproductive techniques like external fertilization (used by fish) that leave males the last ones present–and therefore stuck with the parenting duties. No matter the reason, various animal dads are out there plugging away and raising their young.
Here is a list of some of the top father’s in the animal kingdom:
Emperors are the largest of all penguins—an average bird stands some 45 inches (115 centimeters) tall. These flightless animals live on the Antarctic ice and in the frigid surrounding waters. After mating, the female lays one large egg. The egg is then immediately rolled to the top of the male’s feet. The egg is then incubated or kept warm on the male’s feet by a thick fold of skin that hangs from the belly of the male. During this two-month bout of babysitting the males eat nothing and are at the mercy of the Antarctic elements. When female penguins return to the breeding site, they bring a belly full of food that they regurgitate for the newly hatched chicks. Meanwhile, their duty done, male emperors take to the sea in search of food for themselves.
The beautiful colored seahorses belong to the most magnificent and most remarkable organisms of the seas. There are about 35 different species of seahorses spread all over the world. The Seahorses is the only creature where the male has a true reversed pregnancy. Male seahorses are equipped with a brood pouch on their ventral, or front-facing, side. When mating, the female deposits her eggs into his pouch, and the male fertilizes them internally. Within two or three weeks between 50 and 1.500 seahorse babies develop inside the males pouch, which are finally living born. Frequently not all of the babies will dismiss at one time from the pouch, but in several phases over some minutes or hours, in extreme cases it takes even one or two days. Several males die a few days after birth of the ponies because of remaining dead babies in the pouch resulting in putrefaction and bacterial infection.
Giant African Bullfrog
This is a large frog, many weighing in over 2 kg. The African Bullfrog is carnivorous and a voracious eater, eating insects, small rodents, reptiles, small birds and other amphibians. The giant African bullfrog is a dad with a very special talent — he can eat anything that he can fit into his mouth. Not sure how much that helps in terms of child rearing, but with over 6,000 little ones to raise it’s got to come in handy sometimes. The South American Darwin frog is also a remarkable dad, thanks to his unique method for protecting his eggs: He swallows them, keeping them tucked inside his vocal sacs for six weeks. When they’re ready to hatch, it’s like morning sickness gone wrong — very wrong.
African Jacanas are not known to be monogomous in their mating patterns. A mating pair can have up to 30 clutches of eggs each season, resulting from either the same partner or various partners. The female African Jacana is more dominant than her male counterpart. Females are twice as large as males and can be very picky about who they choose as a mate. The female African Jacanas does not generally choose the same male partner for every clutch of eggs that she lays. This species of birds are known as ‘lily walkers’ because their slender legs and toes give them the gracefulness to walk on the lily pads that blanket their wetlands. Due to their smaller size, males are more graceful ‘lily walkers’ than females. The female African Jacana lays several clutches of eggs between December and April, The clutches may be from a variety of mates or only one mate, depending on the circumstances. The male African Jacana is the main caretaker of the offspring, incubating the eggs and carrying the baby chicks under his wings to keep them warm and dry until the chicks are approximately 18 days old.
Sticklebacks are small fish (2-4 inches) characterized by a row of free dorsal spines in front of the dorsal fin combined with the absence of scales. At mating time, the male builds a tubelike nest of vegetation glued together with a secretion from his kidneys. He then lures the female into the nest, where she lays her eggs. After fertilizing the eggs, the male guards the nest and cares for the young. Sticklebacks are popular aquarium fishes. They are usually not kept together with other kinds of fish because they are aggressive. Sticklebacks are not important forage fish and, consequently, of little value as bait. They feed on tiny aquatic animals.