# A Mouthful of Kids

It’s Father’s Day, when America celebrates all the great things fathers do for their kids. But animals have really hard-working dads, too, and one who should definitely get a shout-out is the gafftopsail catfish. After the mama catfish lays her eggs, the dad carries those eggs around in his mouth for a whole month. He can hold up to 55 of them, each almost as big as a golf ball. Worse yet, he can’t eat anything that whole time, or he’ll accidentally swallow his own kids. Then when the babies hatch, they’re each already about 2 inches long, but he still carries them for a few weeks until they grow to 4 inches. And, of course, he still can’t eat anything until they move out. That is one patient — and hungry — dad.

Wee ones: When the babies grow from 2 inches to 4 inches, how much longer are they when they finally “move out”?

Little kids: If the dad carries the eggs for 5 weeks, then carries the hatched babies another 4 weeks, how long does he go without eating?  Bonus: If you’re counting those 55 eggs, what numbers do you say to count the last 3 eggs?

Big kids: If 1 baby fish finally swims out, then 4 fish in the next batch, then 9 fish in the next…how many swim out in the next batch?  Bonus: If the 55 babies hatch and every one of them is 2 inches long, how long an end-to-end chain can they make? (Try feet and inches as an extra bonus!)

The sky’s the limit: If some of the 55 babies swim out, and there are now 7 more babies outside the mouth than inside, how many have swum out?