Thursday, June 15, 2017

Animal Dads

With a nod to Father’s day on June 18, we googled “animal dads” to see what we could learn. 

According to Animal Planet,  the top 10 animal dads are:

  • Lion – fiercely protective (when awake), dad lions head up large family units called prides that can include up to seven lionesses and 20 cubs
  • Australian Marsupial mouse – Dad gives his all, dies after long mating period
  • India’s Golden Jackal – monogamous dads feed regurgitated food to the “kids”
  •  Giant Waterbug of Japan - Dad carries up to 150 eggs on his back until they hatch
  • South American Rhea - Dad incubates up to 60 eggs for over two months with just two weeks of food to sustain him, and also raises the newborn chicks as a single parent for nearly two years
  • Stickleback fish - Dad keeps the eggs oxygenated by fanning them at 400 beats per minute for more than half the day
  • Jacana - Dad builds the nest and remains on it to incubate them
  • South American Darwin frog – Dad protects the eggs by swallowing and keeping them tucked inside his vocal sacs for six weeks, then essentially upchucking his children. 
  • Emperor Penguin – Dad incubates the egg in subzero weather and provides first meal to the young chick
  • Seahorse – the male is the one who gets pregnant, carrying up to 1,000 babies at a time 

But wait, what about some of the species at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge?

Snow Geese – mate for life – female builds the nest and male guards it while she incubates eggs and nestlings    

Great Blue Heron – male collects nesting material to present to the female, who builds the nest

Great Egret – males chooses the display area and begins building the nest platform, then the pair collaborate to finish building the nest    

Painted Bunting – males help search for nesting sites and vigorously defend their territory

Eastern Bluebirds – male selects a nest site, then if female approves, she builds the nest; he may assist in some cases and both parents feed the young.  

White-tailed Deer, Bobcats – moms raises the young alone

Coyote – this Father of the Year assists in building den, feeds the female during gestation and helps rear the pups  

Happy Father’s Day!

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