Nature’s 9 Best Animal Dads

Father’s Day is June 20, and the perfect time to thank your dad for raising you right! But while we celebrate human fathers, don’t forget that good dads exist around the animal kingdom. Did you know about these 9 amazing animal dads?

9. Emperor Penguins


After the female penguin goes through the draining process of laying her egg, she must return to the ocean to feed and recover, leaving Dad to keep the egg safe and warm for the rest of the winter. This means keeping the egg tucked safely between his feet during Antarctica’s brutal winter months, which definitely isn’t easy. If he moves or lets the egg get exposed to the bitter air, the offspring could perish. What a huge responsibility, and an amazing dad!

8. Swans

Photo: Pixabay

Not only do swans mate for life, male swans don’t shirk their parenting duties. Though the mother swan takes a leading role in the parenting duties, the father swan is fastidious about guarding the family territory against feathered rivals who would happily swoop in and attack his offspring. But unlike some animal dads (including some humans), male swans don’t mind helping out the kids. In Boston, one grieving father swan went viral for lovingly carrying his babies on his back after the sudden death of his mate.

7. Frogs & Toads


Though they differ in appearance and habitat, frogs and toads have a lot in common when it comes to parenting. Some male frogs keep their tadpoles in their mouth until they’re ready to explore the world on their own. One type of toad (accurately named the midwife toad) carries his unhatched eggs on his back legs until they’re ready to emerge. Talk about dedication!

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6. Hardhead Catfish


This catfish isn’t hardheaded when it comes to his parenting duties. Quite the opposite, actually! He carries around the fertilized eggs in his mouth for up to 60 days until they hatch. It’s a method called mouthbrooding. He can’t eat during this period, but he keeps his young safe and that’s all that matters to him!

5. Gorillas

Photo: Pixabay

Gorillas may look tough and love beating their chests, but that gruff exterior hides a generous family man. Gorillas spend lots of time fending off rival gorillas, but they also make time to feed their whole (and frequently large) family, make time to play with the kids, and even let Mrs. Gorilla eat first with him before everybody else digs in.

4. Flamingos

Photo: Pixabay

This gangly pink bird is the definition of an awesome father. In addition to mating for life, male flamingos take on an equal share of the parenting duties, which include building a family nest, incubating the eggs, and raising their adorable young.

3. Red Foxes


The red fox is a dad who is as tough as he is sweet. For the first few months of his offspring’s life, the red fox provides food and shelter for his pups and their mother, but that soon changes. In an effort to teach them how to survive on their own, the father fox stops bringing free food around in order to encourage his young pups to leave the nest and become independent. What a great life lesson. Sounds like a lot of human fathers I know!

2. Wolves

Photo: Pixabay

It should come as no surprise that dog’s ancestors are also excellent fathers. After mating for life, loyal male wolves guard the den while their partners give birth, help raise and play with the pups, hunt for everyone in the pack, and (unlike all the animal dads who insist on eating first) make sure there’s plenty of food to go around. These pro-family values set male wolves apart from the animal kingdom’s many lackluster fathers — and make it feel especially unfair these awesome dads are under threat.

1. Seahorses

Photo: Pixabay

Not only are seahorses doting dads, male seahorses actually give birth to their own young. No, you didn’t read that wrong — it’s true! Male seahorses have a pouch on their stomach where females deposit their eggs, then he carries them for 45 days until his young ones are ready to be born. These awesome fathers can even experience contractions as they are giving birth!


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