6 adorable animals that teach us a thing or two about parenting

Who would have thought that watching National Geographic may be better than reading those parenting magazines at the checkout counter.

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  • Sometimes, being a parent seems to be the same job as being a zoo-keeper. But maybe that's not so terrible - some members of the wild animal kingdom can teach some valuable (and adorable) lessons on what it takes to be a parent.

  • Red Foxes

  • Red hair, good looking, and great with kids. The red fox would have one stellar online dating profile based on his 'pup raising' skills (and dashing good looks). He is a great provider for his little family, running to and fro to bring home dinner while mom stays with the kids. Red fox dads love to roughhouse with their pups, teaching valuable lessons about hunting and playing. When the kids are about 3 months old, they are required to find their own dinner. While dad knows the importance of being able to hunt for themselves, he wouldn't let the pups go hungry; he'll hid a snack or two and have the kids sniff out their meals, just in case they can't find dinner on their own.

  • Wolves

  • Built in babysitting comes free in this area of the animal kingdom. (Wouldn't that be nice?) Wolves have mastered the community approach to parenting. Though they may look fearsome, wolves make great parents....and not just to their own kids. All adults in the pack look out for each other, and each other's kids - just like one big happy family. When the pack welcomes a new litter of pups, the other wolves bring food to mom so she doesn't have to hunt-they'll even help out with the babysitting! Maybe having a child that is 'raised by wolves' isn't such a bad thing.

  • Turtle Doves

  • It's no mistake that these cooing birds are associated with love. A pair will mate for life, becoming loyal partners through the thick and the thin. Once they've found their match, the two will decide to build a nest together, working as a team. Both parents help raise their little chicks after they hatch. If their beloved partner passes away, the other will show signs of loss and mourning.

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  • Elephants

  • Pregnancy for anyone is a difficult process, but for an elephant...Even more so. Elephants are pregnant for 22 months (nearly two full years!) As you would expect, they have gigantic newborns that weigh in at about 200 hundred pounds. Yikes. Africa's gentle giants are more than qualified to teach a lesson on patience, endurance, and spending quality time with our kids. Elephants are attentive mothers as they look over their initially blind babies, but they continue to look after their kids until they reach adulthood. (Awww....)

  • Emperor Penguins

  • Dads out there, take note, because these Emperor Penguin dads rock. During the coldest and harshest months of winter, mom leaves dad with their unhatched egg-but don't worry, she'll be back. While mom is gone, all the dads huddle together to keep warm, cuddling their eggs on the tops of their feet. The "dad bod" then becomes very important for these fathers, pulling a fuzzy stomach pouch over the egg to keep it nice and warm. Dad skips out on eating for two solid months to babysit the egg, and take care of the fluffy chick when they hatch. When mom comes back, she takes care of junior, letting dad leave to get a much-deserved meal.

  • Swans

  • Elegant and romantic, swans are another type of bird that stay together for life. They raise several little batches of fuzzy chicks together, "until death do us part". If one mate dies, the other will mourn and often doesn't 'remarry'. Both parents work to raise the chicks, but if one partner disappears before the eggs hatch, both mom and dad are fully qualified to raise their little chicks as a single parent.

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Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.

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