Wildlife Dads

In honor of Father’s Day, let’s not forget the wild fathers who are also remarkable parents. Below are just a few examples.

Red Fox dan and Kit (Photo by Sandy Sisti)

Red Fox dad and kit
(Photo by Sandy Sisti)

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes):

Making a monogamous pair for the season, the male stays with the female from the time they mate until the kits become independent in the Autumn. The first few days after birth, the male brings his mate food and then continues to provide for the pups (and the vixen) as they grow. As parents, they also assist in preparing their offspring for independence by caching food so that the pups learn to seek out sustenance.

Beaver (Castor canadensis):

A monogamous mate, the male is an active participant in maintenance, training and defense of its offspring. Beaver live in family colonies composed of two parents and generally two generations of offspring. They have a lifespan of approximately 12 to 15 years. Even if mom is lost, Beaver dads have been documented taking care of kits, as was recorded in this video from 2010 of a Castor widower.


Tree Swallow father feeds its young. (Photo by Steve Byland)

Tree Swallow dad serves up dinner for the brood.
(Photo by Steve Byland)

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor):

A fearless defender of the nest, male Tree Swallows use their incredible flight skills to “dive-bomb” perceived threats (females defend, also, if not incubating or brooding). Generally monogamous during breeding season, both parents find food (insects) and feed their offspring, even up to 3 days after the chicks have fledged.

5 thoughts on “Wildlife Dads

  1. Don’t forget the male sea horse which not only incubates the fertilized eggs in its brood pouch, but in effect gives birth when they are mature enough to leave.

  2. Is monogamous synonymous with “good”? If not, i’d nominate the hummingbird father who is very good at staying out of the way.

    • Good or bad are human constructs and these moral concepts do not apply in the natural world. Regardless of the arrangement (monogamy, polygamy, a combination of monogamy and polygamy, or single parenting), the application thereof generally results in better chance of immediate offspring survival or, in the longer term, stronger genetics.

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