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Celebrating the animal kingdoms’ diverse fathering styles at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

  • Friday 2nd September 2022
  • SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

Kofi The Goodfellows Tree Kangaroo 2 (1)

From overprotective, to primary caretaker, to dead-beat dads - WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium are celebrating the diversity of fathering styles amongst the many creatures in their care.

“Hoping to be a dad one day” dad:  Kofi the Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo

You know what they say about big feet… Kofi is one of Sydney’s most eligible studs, living in his very own Darling Harbour-side bachelor pad at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo.

As an endangered species we are proud to support the Species Management Program which is led by the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA). Managed programs play a role in protecting threatened species, conservation research and conservation education. This approach involves managing the animals at different ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums as one big population and supports genetically diverse and sustainable species populations.

With only a handful of these stunning tree-dwelling ‘macropods’ (translating to ‘big foot’) in care, it is one day hoped a breeding recommendation will be put forth, which would see this blue-eyed, striking red-head finally have the chance to not only find love, but most importantly, father a joey.

Kofi The Goodfellows Tree Kangaroo 3

“Overprotective” dad:  Morty the Giant Burrowing Cockroach

Forget Louie the fly, let’s talk about Morty the cockroach. Not the yucky kitchen variety! These native ‘body builders’ of the cockroach world are big softies. Hailing from North Queensland, the species earns its title as the ‘world’s heaviest cockroach’, by weighing in at up to a hefty, 30 grams.

Morty is currently enjoying fatherhood alongside his partner Morticia and their latest brood. The species can give birth to up to 30 live young and can live for up to 10 years. Males like Morty use their shovel like thorax as a weapon, when battling other male ‘competition’ in pursuit of love, and to protect their broods’ burrow.

For those who have fallen in love, you can even keep this fascinating species as pets.

Morty, Morticia And Their Brood

“Transitional” dad: Marlin the Clownfish

Any Finding Nemo fan will vouch for the sheer dedication that dad Marlin showed whilst nurturing Nemo’s development following the loss of his mum. This isn’t far from the truth with male clown fish, the primary caretakers of their young.

Female clownfish can lay thousands of eggs. After they are laid, the male will fertilise them and guard them until they hatch.

What wasn’t depicted in the hit Disney Pixar movie is that all clownfish are born male, however, carry both male and female reproductive organs. Clownfish live in a group consisting of one dominant female, a dominant male, and a group of smaller males. The dominant male ensures its position by taking advantage of the best food opportunities.

The most interesting plot twist is that if the female within the group dies, the dominant male fish will transition into a female and the largest of the smaller males will become the next dominant male.

Clownfish 2

“Dead-beat” dad:  Trio aka ‘Bad boy’ the Grey Nurse Shark

Shark courtship and the road to fatherhood, is a rough love affair which takes the term ‘love bite’ to a new level. All male sharks have claspers; extensions of their pelvic fins, used to transfer sperm during mating events.

Males like Trio will grasp the females with their impressive jaws and teeth. Once the male’s claspers are inserted, he expels sperm into the female along with seawater and the eggs are fertilized inside the female's body.

Both parents play no active role in pup rearing and being opportunistic predators, they have also been known to predate on their own young.

Grey Nurse Shark 1

As displayed in the animal kingdom, we know dads come in all different forms and styles, so whoever the father figure is in your life, treat them to a special day out at one of Sydney's top attractions!

We're celebrating all caregivers for the tireless work they do, with an exclusive online offer where 'Dads' go FREE with a full paying ticket. Those wishing to visit with dads working on Father’s Day need not to worry. Both attractions have got you covered - this offer is valid from Sunday 4th - Friday 9th September 2022! *For full terms and conditions, visit:

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