Fantastic Fathers With Fins, Feathers, & Fur

Published by Amy Skylark Elizabeth.

Sure, human dads will slip you a couple of bucks and give you lots of advice—but can they give birth? Male sea horses can. PETA hopes while you’re praising your family’s patriarch this Father’s Day, you’ll also remember that some of the best dads in the world can be found in the animal kingdom:

  • Sea Horses: The “Mr. Moms” of the marine world, male sea horses carry up to 2,000 fertilized eggs in pouches in their stomachs until they hatch. Even after the babies are born, they stay inside the pouch until they are ready to venture out on their own.

Tim Sheerman-Chase
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  • Microhylid Frogs: These frogs from New Guinea take family road trips to a new extreme. Once babies hatch, up to 24 froglets climb onto their father’s back as he hops 50 feet every night, dropping the froglets off along the way to begin a new life of their own.

Frank Vassen|cc by 2.0


  • Darwin’s Rheas: Thought your dad could be overprotective at times? Darwin’s rheas, also known as South American ostriches, are so protective of their children that they routinely rush cowboys on horseback and have even been known to attack small airplanes on the ground if they get too close to their brood.

Just chaos
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  • Marmosets: These little monkeys do everything but attend Lamaze class. Fathers assist during labor by biting off the umbilical cord and cleaning up the afterbirth. They also let mom get some R & R by taking care of the kids when she’s not nursing them.

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  • Sandgrouse: These pigeon-like birds sponge off their fathers—literally. Living in areas where water is sparse, fathers fly as many as 50 miles to get water for their offspring. After they soak up the water in their breast feathers, they fly home and let their chicks suckle the moisture from their bodies.

Alan Manson
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  • Emperor Penguins: Protecting their eggs is just the tip of the iceberg. While the female leaves the colony for the winter, the male incubates the egg by putting it on his feet and covering it with a skin fold to keep it warm. The males can’t go out and feed, so they fast for four months until the chicks hatch.

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  • Red Jungle Fowl: Red jungle fowl are the progenitors of the domestic chicken, and dominating males go to great lengths to care for their flock. Fathers not only protect both hens and chicks from predators but also introduce chicks to the pecking order when they are just a week old and teach them the ways of the world in the first seven weeks after they are born.

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All dads deserve to be honored—whether they have fins, feathers, fur, or a cardigan. This Father’s Day, honor animal dads, too, by practicing kindness and compassion toward all animals.   

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind