Happy Father’s Day

Outside of the famous Studio 1 A after a "Today Show" taping.
Outside the famous Studio 1A after a "Today Show" taping.

Outside the famous Studio 1A after a “Today Show” taping.

I seriously have the best dad in the world. He’s been there for me every step of the way; whether it’s helping me on a local TV station in Casper, Wyoming or making sure a Fennec Fox doesn’t get loose on “The Today Show”, he’s always there. (By-the-way, the Fennec Fox did get loose.) All jokes aside, he’s my best friend and I couldn’t imagine going through life without him.

I decided to pay tribute to some of my favorite animal dads. Yes, we’ve all heard of the famous Emperor Penguin who incubates his egg in the frigid cold while his mate is off at sea. Though today, I wanted to share five dads who sometimes don’t get as much credit as the famous penguin.

My first nomination for great animal dads goes to the Jackal. For one, they are monogamous and stay in pair bonds for life. (Very odd for mammals.) They also hunt and provide the female and offspring with food.

One of my favorite animals, Irwin.

One of my favorite animals, Irwin.

I might be a little biased on my next decision because the next contender for best dads happens to be one of my favorite animals I personally care for…All of that aside, I have to give credit to the Solomon Island Tree Skink. These remarkable skinks display a very unusual trait among reptiles; they showcase a degree of parental care. The male will stay with his offspring and protect the family and territory.

emu with chicks

The emu has to be one of most dedicated dads in the animal kingdom! Not only does he solely incubate the eggs (the female leaves), he also stays with the offspring for several months afterwards, protecting them from predators and leading them to fresh food and water.

Holding Diesel the African Bull Frog.

Holding Diesel the African Bull Frog.

The African Bull Frog is one of the best amphibian dads in the world. He will fiercely defend his thousands of eggs until they hatch; often jumping at anything that could be considered a threat. He will also construct water channels for the tadpoles to connect them to larger water sources when their pools dry up. The only problem for the tadpoles? He often eats them while babysitting.

The Owl Monkey is my last and final contender for one of the best dads in the animal kingdom. They are devoted fathers caring for their offspring and are strictly monogamous, staying with their mates for life. They are the only primate to exhibit this type of dedication and parental behavior!