As it’s Father’s Day on Sunday, I thought I’d take a look at animals that are cared for by their dads when they’re very young.
A father Emperor penguin endures the freezing Antarctic temperatures for 60 days or more to protect his eggs, which he keeps on his feet, covered with a feathered flap. If the mother doesn’t return with food by the time the chick hatches, the father is even able to feed the chick for a short time himself, on special ‘milk’ he produces in his throat.
When the mother wolf gives birth to pups, the father stands guard outside their den and, along with other pack members, brings his family food. As they grow, he not only plays with them but also teaches them how to survive.
Rheas are large South American birds similar to ostriches. From eggs to chicks, the father feeds and protects his young until they are old enough to survive on their own.
The male seahorse has a special pouch in which the female lays her eggs. The father then looks after the eggs for a few weeks, until they hatch as ‘fry’ and leave the pouch for life on their own.
A father sea catfish keeps the eggs of his young in his mouth until they are ready to hatch. He will not eat until his young are born, which takes up to two months!