Happy Father's Day! 3 Amazing Dads In The Animal Kingdom You Had No Idea About!

Happy Father's Day! 3 Amazing Dads In The Animal Kingdom You Had No Idea About!

Posted by Ellie Hutchin on 18th Jun 2017

Father’s Day 2017 has arrived and we want to give well deserved recognition to all the dads out there, both human dads, and the animal dads! The Great Projects have discovered some doting and devoted fathers within the animal kingdom, and we had no idea some of the dads even played these roles! From fish, to birds, to monkeys, these animal dads are simply some of the best!

The Sea Horse

sea horse images

These tiny little fellows are certainly dedicated parents. They are one of the only species in the animal kingdom where the males carry out pregnancy! The poor little things even experience contractions during labour, when up to 2,000 even teenier little sea horses are born! The mother deposits her eggs into the father’s pouch, which he then fertilises and incubates for around 10-25 days.

Scientists do not have a definitive reason as to why the species has evolved so that the male carries and delivers offspring as opposed to the female but it is theorised that this is a way of ensuring the species’ survival. The pouch of the male is an organ with complex features, that allow it to regulate blood flow, temperature and water salinity. This way when the babies are born they are prepared as possible for the ocean. Also, the male carrying the eggs allows time for the mother to generate more so they can make more babies quickly.

Surprisingly, neither parent raises the children once they are born. As soon as they are projected into the deep blue, the wee little things that are even smaller than their parents, are out there alone. Sadly it is estimated that only five in one thousand babies make it to adulthood, so quick reproduction and abundance of it are essential for the species.

The Flamingo

flamingos nesting

Some would even go as far to say that flamingos are quite the feminists, and appear to be all about gender equality. I know, you’re probably thinking “What?”, but seriously, it’s true!

The male stays completely faithful to his woman, participating in a monogamous relationship his whole life, even within a flock of thousands of pink pinned birds. Additionally, rare in the animal kingdom, mum and dad pick and build their nesting site together, using the raw materials surrounding them, such as mud, sticks, stones and feathers. The mother then lays her egg, and the pair share the responsibility of incubating, taking turns to sit upon the nests for equal amounts of time. This crucial process can start around 6 weeks before the egg is laid. These dads really go above and beyond to make sure everything is perfect for the arrival of their little one!

To top it all off, when the baby flamingo hatches after around 31 days, the parents share all their rearing duties between them equally! Adorable right?

The Golden Lion Tamarin

images of baby monkey on parents back

Ever heard of dad’s taxi? Golden lion tamarin infants will be glued to their dads’ backs almost 24/7 by the time they are 2 weeks old. One at a time, roughly every 2-3 hours, he will hand them back to their mum to be nursed for around 15 minutes at a time, and then he will take them straight back! It is said that Dad does this to give Mum much needed rest from nursing her infants. It must be exhausting, because after all Golden Lion Tamarins can weigh up to only 2lbs!

As if hauling the infants around all day wasn’t devoted enough, at around 4 weeks old the babies can start experimenting with soft food, so Dad takes it in his stride to peel and mash up bananas to hand-feed to his offspring! The babies will stay with dad on his back up until they are around 7 weeks old, and then they begin to climb and be cheeky just like their fellow primates.

On a positive and celebratory day like today, it is also worth noting that 30 years ago these wee monkeys were on the verge of extinction due to habitat fragmentation. However, due to successful breeding within captivity and of course fabulous wildlife conservation efforts, population numbers have increased! While they are not yet out of the dark, they are definitely on their way, and they reside in the wild within South America.

So there are our three top fathers in the animal kingdom, do you have any other ideas you would like to share with us? Let us know in the comments! Alternatively, if you would like to surprise your dad with the trip of a lifetime, then please check out our volunteering projects page!

Happy Father’s Day!

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