Father knows best? In nature, sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t. Can you match these fathers with their descriptions?

Beaver
Black Widow Spider
Chipmunk
Daddy Long Legs
Great Horned Owl
Lined Sea Horse
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Red Fox

1. This father helps his offspring by defending the mother’s territory and bringing some food to the young. He may also help keep the nest of this very clean creature in good repair.

2. This father teaches his children the skills they need to survive on their own, such as how to build and repair a dam or lodge.

3. Despite this species’ name, the father has nothing to do with raising the young once mating has taken place.

4. Most times, this dad never has a chance to meet his young. This is because mom is likely to eat him right after mating.

5. Mom lays her eggs in this dad’s brood pouch. He fertilizes, then incubates the eggs for about two weeks, when 100–300 young hatch and are released into the water.

6. The eggs of this species are laid in late winter and mom must constantly stay on the eggs to keep them from freezing and later, to keep the two to three hatchlings from freezing until they can maintain their own body temperature, which takes days, and sometimes weeks. During this time, mom (who is 25 percent larger than dad), and later, the hatchlings are totally dependent on dad for their meals. After a month, she is finally able to help him bring home dinner to the young, who by the time they are fledglings, are about the size of their parents.

7. Even though dad is in charge of finding the hole for the nest, he still needs the OK from mom. After they agree on a site, they will take turns tapping to one another.

8. While mom nurses and keeps the youngsters warm for their first month, dad is responsible for bringing her food every few hours until their children can be left alone and both parents hunt. This dad is known for enthusiastically playing with his offspring for long periods of time. When they are about 3 months old and ready to leave the den, he will stop bringing them food. Instead he buries it nearby under leaves and twigs in what is thought to be an effort to teach them to forage.

Answers

1. Chipmunk
2. Beaver
3. Daddy Long Legs
4. Black Widow Spider
5. Lined Sea Horse
6. Great Horned Owl
7. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
8. Red Fox