The wonderful dads of the animal kingdom.
The trials and tribulations of being a parent is never easy. In the animal kingdom, it is even more trying, as everything depends on survival. It is often believed that when it comes to parenting, the males of the animal world shirk their responsibilities and leave it up to the mother. But this isn’t necessarily true with some species. When it comes to parenting, these dads put it all on the line for their young’s survival.
When it comes to good fathers, there’s nothing these dads won’t do. The moment the female lays her egg, the male Emperor Penguin steps up to care for the egg. The female passes the egg to the male. He must be quick when receiving the egg, as it can freeze in the 40 below weather of the Antarctic. Once the egg is passed to the male, the females will leave the fathers behind for nearly two months. It’s a good thing the fathers bulked up before the females left, for they will not get a chance to eat until the females return. The fathers will huddle together in the cold for warmth, keeping the eggs nestled underneath them, on top of their feet. When the eggs finally hatch, the fathers, who have lost half of their weight by now, will feed the chicks with a milky white substance that resembles milk. When the females finally return, the fathers transfer the chicks back to the mothers, so that they can finally get a chance to eat.
Sea horse males are the only male animals capable of giving birth. The female will deposit her eggs into the male’s abdomen. The male fertilizes them, and then the embryos will attach themselves into the male’s pouch. Here he will nurture the embryos, delivering oxygen and removing waste. As if this wasn’t taxing enough, he will then go into a painful labor, whereby his color will drain, becoming pasty in appearance. The exhausting contractions will leave him spent after pushing up to nearly 200 sea horses out of his body. No sooner is he done giving birth, that some males will begin to show off their pouch, wanting to become impregnated again!
South American Marmoset (or Common Marmoset)
The male marmoset is an outstanding father in the terms of fatherhood. After a few weeks, the mother begins to pull away from the young. She will usually give birth to twins, although triplets aren’t unusual. The father will then take care of the young by grooming them, feeding them, and carrying them on his back. At times, the male has even acted as a midwife, by licking the newborns. It is thought that male marmosets become highly involved in the raising of the young because the females give birth to such large infants (they make up 25% of the mother’s weight). Not to mention that unlike other species, where nursing can act as a from of birth control, in marmosets, the female can become pregnant again within a matter of weeks.