I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.
- Sigmund Freud
- Sigmund Freud
Males in the animal kingdom are either very strong father figures or they are horrendous disappointments. On one side, we have dads who put their life on the line to protect their young ones, while on the other, we have those like the Grizzly bear, who is known to attack his own cubs.
Apart from the top 10 dads in the animal kingdom mentioned here, there are a few like the hardhead catfish, African bullfrog, and the giant water bug who are very dedicated fathers. The hardhead catfish carries as many as 48 eggs in his mouth for two months till they hatch. He does this by starving himself for the time that the eggs are in his mouth.
Similar to the catfish, the African bullfrog carries around 6,000 eggs in his vocal sacs, while the giant water bug carries his eggs on his back till they hatch. Here is a list of the best dads in the animal kingdom.
The Top 10 Countdown
Poison Dart Frog
Poison dart frog daddies are super cool. They stand guard at the nest where the female lays the eggs, till they hatch, which lasts for a period of about two weeks.
Once the tadpoles have hatched, the poison dart frog carries his young ones on his back to a pond or lake, where they can grow and feed.
Emperor tamarin dads are very similar to marmoset dads. The fathers carry their little ones on their back till they are old enough to walk on their own. During the time that a Tamarin baby is on its dad's back, the father feeds, secures, and protects it from potential predators.
Silverback Mountain Gorilla
Silverback mountain gorilla dads are a little too overprotective. They are strict with their young ones while teaching them to search for food, settling disputes with other baby gorillas, etc.
Even though Silverback mountain gorillas make stern fathers, they do indulge in many playful activities with their little ones.
The father rhea rolls the egg into his nest, where he sits on it till it hatches. He may sleep for a maximum of two minutes a day, just to keep a watch for predators. He is responsible for raising the little chicks for the first 6 months without any help from the mother. This bird is very calm, but during the incubation period, he becomes very protective.
Great Horned Owl
A funny thing about the great horned owl is that the male is smaller than the female.
Once the eggs have been laid, the mother sits on them to keep them warm, while daddy dear is out hunting and foraging for food that includes rats, mice, and squirrels. Once the chicks hatch, the father is still the one bringing back food, but this time, he has to work even harder as he has more mouths to fill.
Daddy marmosets pamper their young ones by carrying them everywhere they go on their backs. As this species of monkeys forages on the upper canopies of trees, they are careful while swinging and climbing, as they carry their infants too.
The fathers play the role of a midwife during the birth of their little ones. They are known to go to the extent of cleaning up the afterbirth including biting off the umbilical cord. They also help other marmosets bring up their kids.
Red Fox is one animal that is devoted to his cubs even before they are born. The minute the vixen is pregnant, the daddy fox takes on the role of the sole provider for his family. He hunts and brings back food for his mate every few hours during her gestation period.
Once his cubs are born, he takes an active role in protecting, providing, and playing with them. As the little ones grow older, he trains them by concealing food with leaves and twigs near the den. By doing this, the puppies learn how to forage for food, thus learning survival tactics.
Daddy seahorses are the most motherly figures in the animal kingdom. During the mating process, approximately 1,500 eggs are deposited by the female seahorse in the male's brood pouch.
The male seahorse carries the eggs for about a month to about 45 days, and once they are mature, he releases the hatchlings from his pouch. Seahorse fathers are also known to undergo contractions while giving birth to young ones.
Daddy lions are a little weird when it comes to their young ones.
They are not the typical dads who play, provide, and pay too much attention to their cubs. But what makes them number 2 on this list of the best dads in the animal kingdom is that they are fiercely protective towards their cubs and the rest of the family. He protects them with his life, specially when he feels that his family is under threat.
The male places the egg between his feet, where he incubates it in his brood pouch. He stands over the egg throughout the winter till it hatches. He does not even eat a morsel, as he cannot go to the sea and fish.
Usually the chick hatches once the females return from the sea, approximately 2 months after the egg has been given to the father. If the egg hatches before the female returns, the father feeds the chick a curd-like secretion produced from the glands of his esophagus.