(CNN) — If you’re a father, you’ve probably experienced endless anxieties about whether you’re doing enough for your kids as they grow up.
What if your kids inherit your bad habits? What if you let your kids watch too much TV or feed them the wrong food?
Worrying about screwing something up is normal, and you’ll make mistakes — but you can put things into perspective when you know some parents are a lot worse than you, according to comedy writer Glenn Boozan in his book There Are Moms Way Worse Than You: irrefutable proof that you are indeed an awesome parent.” Priscilla Witte illustrated the book, which also features some “bad” animal dads.
Questionable fathers of animals include grizzly bears, who eat their cubs when food is scarce, and lions, who primarily stand guard and look tough while female lions venture out to hunt and kill.
“So if you’re feeling exhausted or have too much on your plate as long as you’re not eating your baby? Yes, you’re doing great,” Boozan wrote in her book. “As the panic mounts and the pressure mounts, remember you’re trying … and that’s all that matters.”
Here are three more evil animal daddies that might help you feel better about your parenting endeavors this Father’s Day.
“It’s not just moms, some dads suck too! They’re not all warm and cozy,” Boozan wrote. “A pipefish father will eat his children if he thinks they are ugly.”
Male pipefish can conceive and give birth, but their interest in being caring fathers may only last during pregnancy. A key factor in this decision-making process may be how the male pipefish feels about his offspring’s mother, researchers at Texas A&M University found in 2010.
The researchers discovered that a male pipefish who liked a mate he had mated with was more likely to care for her offspring. Male pipefish, being less interested in the mother pipefish, tended their young less and invested fewer resources in them. According to a 2009 article in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, pipe fishermen have also been known to absorb nutrients from some of their embryos and effectively cannibalize them.
“Horses seem to be super dads, but they’re not the best,” wrote Boozan. “They will threaten other horses’ children and kick them straight to death.”
If a stallion is capable of producing many offspring, he has a genetic advantage over other stallions, according to Good Horse, a horsemanship forum led by horse trainer and behavior consultant Diamanto Mamuneas. But since a stallion cannot give birth, he can never be completely sure that all of the foals around him are his — which can be stressful, as stallions invest a great deal of time and resources in nurturing and protecting their offspring when they might be able to mate or eat. And as the stallions mature, they become competition for the stallions in the deck pool.
Caring for rivals’ offspring is futile, so stallions have devised strategies to avoid having to raise stallions unrelated to them — including killing young foals, according to one in the journal Applied Animal Ethology published study.
poison dart frogs
“The Poison Dart Frog Dad isn’t so much a ‘hit’ as it is a ‘miss,'” wrote Boozan. “He sometimes uses his piss to keep his balls from drying out.”
Poison dart frog fathers guard their offspring for 10 to 18 days, occasionally urinating on them to protect them from predators and to keep them hydrated.
According to Animal Diversity Web, an online zoology resource produced by the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology, the eggs “need significant supplemental moisture to avoid dehydration.”
alleviate parents’ fears
A lot of parenting books are designed to sell things, Boozan said, to make readers feel like better parents.
“I wanted to sell them things to make them feel good[parent]and they don’t have to buy that other crap,” she added.
“Buying a specific swaddle blanket or any other type of binky doesn’t make you a better or worse parent,” Boozan said. “I think you will be a great parent no matter what if you do your best. My goal was to ease those fears, if only for a moment with a little laugh.”
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