For a happy Father’s Day, why not take a look at eight dads from the animal kingdom? Human fathers aren’t the only ones who sometimes go far beyond the call of duty to take care of their offspring.
I’ve included videos from each of the winners, so you can see for yourself just how remarkable these animal dads can be.
There are oddities like seahorses in which the male of the species actually undergoes pregnancy and the act of giving birth.
And there are examples of tireless dedication, like the hornbills that seal their growing families into a tree cavity for safety. With the female and eggs walled up, the father becomes completely responsible for supplying every bite of food that the mother and young need to survive.
But it isn’t just the species of a distant ocean or a faraway forest that make great animal dads. As part of our Father’s Day video roundup, we’ll check out footage of a great father that many Americans can find right now in their own backyards.
The female of the species leaves the eggs in the nest for the father to raise. As a result, he may lose one-third of his body weight during the weeks he spends sitting on the eggs. He spends another 18 months raising the baby chicks to adulthood.
7. Emperor Penguin
In the winter cold of Antarctica, the female lays the eggs and makes a run for the ocean. The fathers must then huddle together for two long months in temperatures as cold as 60 degrees below freezing to incubate and hatch the eggs. Brrr!
Unlike some mammals, the father wolf — and the rest of the pack — is involved with his young. It may look like play, but the young ones are learning to cooperate — important for a pack-hunting species:
In this amazing video from The Deep Hull aquarium in the United Kingdom, you can see a male seahorse giving birth to hundreds of babies — and then the female seahorse comes around and pesters him for more.
4. Rhinoceros Hornbill
Both parents work to seal the female in the trunk of a tree cavity with the young for safety. There she remains incubating and hatching the eggs, and then raising the chicks, for months. Daddy hornbill has to fetch and carry everything they need, because they’re completely dependent on him:
3. Asian Arowana
The male broods the fertilized eggs and even the young carefully within his mouth. This fish dad was found carrying babies in his mouth, but it’s for their protection, not to make them into dinner.
2. Titi Monkeys
Titi monkeys are well-regarded fathers, especially for primates. In some cases the father may perform most of the care for the baby, only bringing it to the mother to nurse. In this video you’ll see a captive-bred red titi monkey whose affectionate parents share the baby duties.
1. Northern Cardinal
There are lots of songbirds that make doting dads, but the brilliant male Northern Cardinal is one of the most visible. Here, Daddy feeds two babies that have fallen from the nest:
He’ll keep that up for weeks, until the babies are big enough to go out on their own — and sometimes longer. I see perfectly capable flying youngsters pestering their father for attention all the time.
Fortunately, cardinal — like human — fathers seem to have a lot of patience.
Enjoy your Father’s Day with these top eight great animal dads.
[wolf photo by A.J. Gagnon via Shutterstock]