This year in honor of Father’s Day we are having a TOAD-ally Awesome Father’s Day event at the zoo and giving you a chance to name a Houston Toad in honor of Dad.
Some of the smallest primates, on the other hand, make the best dads. Among the many species of marmosets and tamarins, it’s the dads who carry the kids around and provide day care. Mom is there to provide milk and attend the PTA meetings, but dad is the main caregiver and transporter.
And speaking of Dad-Of-The-Year awards, siamang dads are well-deserving. Like tamarins and marmosets, siamang dads are very involved in the lives of their youngsters. And since siamangs don’t leave for college until they are eight or nine years old, it’s a fair commitment on dad’s (and mom’s, too) part. Siamangs dads help moms carry their offspring from about 8 months until about two years, at which time the kid usually gets her first car and is embarrassed to be seen with either parent.
Siamangs and tamarins are (mostly) monogamous, so the male can pretty much count on his mate’s offspring having his genes. It is to his advantage, then, to put a lot of effort into making sure the kid prospers and goes on to marry the football captain.
Chimps, on the other hand, live in large multi-male, multi-female groups, and since the ladies don’t “limit their options”, so to speak, it’s basically anybody’s guess who the kids belong to. Most of the time, child care is up to mom, but as the kids grow and learn how to be chimps, the involvement of the adult males is important. Big brothers especially, play with and look out for their younger siblings, but most big males, even the tough guys, enjoy playing with the youngsters.
It has even been recorded more than once in the wild that seemingly unrelated adult males have “adopted” very young kids when they have lost their moms. They will protect and even carry the infants through the forest, looking out for them as best they can. Now if that doesn’t warm your heart this Father’s Day, nothing will!
Happy Father’s Day to all you Dad’s out there looking out for your little ones!
Celebrate Dad by giving him a memorable Father’s Day gift this year–name a Houston Toad after him! With your gift, you help support the Houston Toads, a critically endangered species native to Texas. Click here to learn more about Houston Toads and how you can further the Houston Zoo’s conservation efforts that help ensure their survival.