These Amazing Animal Dads Deserve Appreciation This Father’s Day
Father’s Day is a chance to recognize and celebrate dads—like your own father, an uncle, your grandfather, someone you love as a father figure, or an animal dad of another species—for their love and dedication.
The bonds between paternal figures and their offspring transcend species, and it’s up to us to make sure humans aren’t the only ones who can enjoy that love. Here are some of the best animal dads around the world:
Frogs and Toads
The males of many frog and toad species are devoted dads. Some frog fathers keep tadpoles in their mouths to protect them from outside threats. They often won’t even eat until the tadpoles can leave their mouths and survive on their own. Other frog and toad dads have different ways of protecting their young: Pouched frogs keep their tadpoles in a pouch on their stomachs, and midwife toads wrap their eggs around their legs and carry them until they’re ready to hatch.
You can help prevent frogs and toads from being snatched from nature and killed for science class by advocating for kinder, cost-effective, educational animal-free dissection options at school.
Marmoset monkeys live in large families, and everyone plays a role in the group’s well-being. The fathers help groom and feed their babies and give them piggyback rides to move them more easily. They also serve as monkey midwives, helping their partners bring their babies into the world during the birthing process.
But beautiful marmoset families are torn apart when experimenters imprison parents and their offspring in labs and force them into lives of misery. Right now, experimenters at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst are cutting into and killing marmosets in pointless tests.
Male red foxes really know the meaning of “work hard, play hard.” 💪 They hunt every day to bring home enough food to keep their partners and babies nourished. When their pups are old enough, they play with them for hours at a time. After a few months, the fathers train their pups to find their own meals by hiding food underneath debris and sending them to sniff it out.
These intelligent and emotional animals deserve to enjoy their loving relationships, but some companies sell fox-fur products. Stand up to the cruel fur industry by buying stylish clothes and accessories made only of vegan materials.
These dads take parental equality to the next level—seahorses are one of the only species on Earth known for male pregnancy. 🤯 Females lay their eggs in males’ pouches, and it’s up to the dads to keep the eggs safe for weeks until finally giving birth. They have contractions during labor, and the birthing process can last several days.
Imagine going through all this just to be caught by loose fishing nets and left to die away from your babies. 😢 To spare sea animals, learn more about “bycatch” and how you can help keep nets out of the ocean by keeping fish off your plate.
It’s true that male lions often lounge while their female partners hunt all day, but the fathers prove their loyalty when the pride (a group of 30 or more lions) is in danger. When they sense a threat, lion dads protect their pride by any means necessary to keep their family safe.
Lion families are torn apart by the entertainment industry, which forces many male lions to live in complete isolation in run-down roadside zoos or perform in abusive circus acts. Lions should live free in their natural homes, where they can care for their families. The choices you make as a consumer and an activist can ensure that you never support their exploitation.
As the leaders of their troop, which can contain several dozen individuals, male gorillas have a lot on their plate. They have to find food for the whole group and defend it against threats. Gorilla dads also have a soft side—they play with their young, help them socialize, and settle arguments between siblings.
These gentle giants have been hunted and driven off their land by poachers and agriculture conglomerates for decades, and some companies have exploited captured gorillas by forcing them to be spectacles in animal displays, gawked at by crowds.
Wolves live in social packs, and everyone helps raise the pups. Often mating for life, mother and father wolves work together to keep their babies safe and well-fed. After giving birth, the mothers can’t leave their dens for a long time, so the fathers are in charge of hunting for food for the whole fam and guarding the den against threats. But while wolves are experts at handling natural threats, humans with guns keep pushing their populations to critical levels.
Hunting may have been necessary for humans centuries ago, but today, it’s just a violent hobby.
Living in troops of up to 30 members, macaques base their culture around the babies born each spring. Males carry their infants on their backs to earn respect and build social networks. These dads will even pick up babies and take care of those who aren’t their own to show that they provide for the entire group.
How could anyone destroy these heartwarming relationships for absurd experiments? Harvard Medical School experimenter Margaret Livingstone has no problem ripping baby macaques away from their parents and psychologically tormenting them.
Flamingos are parenting goals. Couples mate for life and build a nest out of mud together. Instead of each parent handling different tasks, the dads and moms take turns keeping their eggs warm and feeding their babies “crop milk,” which both males and females produce in their upper digestive tracts, once they hatch.
SeaWorld imprisons these amazing animals in artificial environments. The company subjects flamingos to loud, intrusive crowds during tours in which human strangers can come within just a few steps of the birds.
After female emperor penguins lay their eggs, they set out to sea for a two-month hunt for food that will help them regain their energy. During these two months, it’s up to their male partners to keep the eggs warm between their fluffy legs in the face of frigid Antarctic winds that can reach well over 100 mph.
In order to protect the eggs from the harsh weather, the determined dads don’t eat or even move until their chicks hatch. But while the freezing temps are tough to bear, penguins are equipped for them. Human-caused climate change, on the other hand, is threatening their homes.
Thankfully, there’s one way you can make a huge positive impact on the climate: Go vegan!
Here’s to dads who make the world a better place for their offspring. 🎉 Struggling to think of the best gift idea for your father figure? The fastest way to a dad’s heart is through his stomach! 😉🍽️ Try making a delicious vegan breakfast, lunch, or dinner to show him you care about fathers of all species.