From Deadbeats To Cannibals - These Are The Worst Dads In The Animal Kingdom

Nature can sometimes be incredibly cruel, but more often than not it's simply just not fair, especially when it comes to animal parents. Within the animal kingdom, parenting duties are rarely split evenly between a mother and father. In fact, the worst animal dads are so terrible at being a parent that they might as well not even be involved in the process all together. The truth is that these bad animal dads frequently abandon their roles as fathers as soon as they have finished mating.

While there are examples of good parents in nature, deadbeat animal dads are common. Whether they simply don’t contribute to raising a child or pose an active threat to their offspring’s safety, many adult males would never win any father of the year prizes. This leaves mothers not only having to raise children all on their own but also charges them with defending infants against fathers who might well want to kill them. Read on to learn about some of the sh*ttiest animal dads operating in the world today.

  • One of the first things that a male lion will do when they take over a pride is kill all the cubs. Yes, you read that correctly. This gets rid of potential threats that could stage their own coup in the future and ensures that the females are more likely to mate again in the short term. Even when not killing infants, adult males are not the most responsible parents in the world. They generally do no hunting, leaving it to the female members of the pride, and will instead laze around most of the day.

  • When their female partner is around, the male sand goby will act like a perfect father figure. The fish will carefully look after his clutch of eggs and build nests; however, when the mother is not around, the male will tend towards more nefarious behavior. They will eat as many of the eggs as possible for a free meal, and also make a point to single out particularly big eggs as they know they will need more care and resources, reducing their overall workload.

  • Grizzly Bear
    Photo: John Good / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    One of the things that really makes the grizzly bear stand out from other mammals is that grizzlies are prepared to eat their own cubs even when other food is readily available. Most other animals will only resort to cannibalism in desperate circumstances. These bears, though, are willing to kill and eat any young bear that enters their territory. As they are so protective of their territories, bear cubs have to be taught to stay out of areas that are home to other grizzlies.

  • Pigeon Guillemot

    The guillemot is a seabird that is found throughout various parts of the North Pacific Ocean. While many birds show strong parental sensibilities, that is not always the case with this particular seabird. Research carried out in 2008 showed that males of the species were often responsible for killing chicks in their nests. Experts found that the birds were regularly pecking them to death or even throwing them from high cliffs. The reason for this was that researchers believed they were killing off competition for resources during food shortages, making it more likely for them to survive.

  • Sea Bass

    Male sea bass will act in the same way as many other fish in terms of being a dedicated father. They diligently protect the eggs, building up nests and watching over them to ensure they remain safe. Unfortunately, this behavior quickly changes after the eggs begin to spawn and the vast majority of the newborn fish swim away. The few that remain behind become lunch for the dad who has so far been their protector. The impromptu meal acts as a way of gaining quick nutrients after spending a long period of time unable to hunt for other food.

  • Hanuman Langur

    Hanuman Langur
    Photo: Amarms34 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0

    Much like lions, Hanuman langurs have been observed killing infants. The males usually carry out this behavior after taking over a new group of females. They see the young as a potential future threat to their leadership and so often cull them to get rid of this threat. Not only that but it also allows them to mate with the females in the group much sooner than they otherwise would. Like several other mammals, langur females cannot ovulate while lactating. Killing their infants means that they can get pregnant, allowing the males to pass on their genes.