Love is in the air

Not only humans can be romantic. Every living thing has romance in it's blood. Enjoy some romantic behaviors in the animal world.  

Love is in the Air: Romantic Lovebirds

Lovebirds, affectionate little parrots brightly coloured in green, yellow and orange, are known for being monogamous. The lady demonstrates her interest by fluffing up her feathers, and the male responds by doing a dance during which he'll be bobbing his head and scratching hers. Male lovebird will feed his partner during the nesting period and make sure both mum and chicks get the needed nourishment. Unlike some of their friends from the animal kingdom, lovebirds don't consider mating to be simply a reproductive strategy; they mate for life and will spend long periods just sitting together and cuddling. Should partners get separated and then come together once again, they'll express affection by feeding each other fruits, veggies, grass or seeds. A lovebird will get depressed if their mate dies, and if captured, you're very likely to see them mourn the loss of their partner. Isn't that romantic?

Love is in the Air: Flirtatious Seahorses

While Seahorses exhibit somewhat unusual romantic behaviour, it's though that most of the species mate for life. They'll demonstrate their interest in a relationship by holding tails, swimming snout to snout, and changing colours. The guy is actually the one to carry babies, after the lady has laid her eggs in his pouch which resembles that of a kangaroo. When ready to enter the world, babies will hatch straight into the water, and not long after the male has given birth, his partner will once again deposit eggs. The sight of seahorses in a flirtatious courtship dance is a truly fascinating one, with muscular tail used to grasp the partner during the affectionate embrace.

Love is in the Air: Affectionate Elephants

Stocky and weighing 3 to 6 tons, elephants might not be the first animals you'd think of when talking about affectionate behaviour. Yet they do exhibit it in their own unique way. Instead of touching each other with hands like we do, these gentle animals use their trunks, the ends of which are surprisingly more sensitive than human fingertips. Elephants will caress each other's heads and backs, often to comfort those they love, and when engaged in a courtship, the couple will entwine trunks to show affection. These large animals produce a variety of sounds to express love and pleasure of each other's company, rumbling in a soft manner and purring similarly to cats. When a lady is ready to mate, the bull will follow her around and defend from other guys.

Love is in the Air: Gifting Penguins

Isn't it heartwarming to recognise in animals a romantic behaviour typical of humans? While elephants use their trunks instead of hands to caress one another, penguins give stones in place of flowers and candy when courting the ladies. Hold on, people actually do the same with precious stones, and while a man might search for the finest diamond, male penguin will go looking for the smoothest pebble he can find. Having selected one, he'll offer it to the girl he fancies, and she will show her acceptance (of both the pebble and the guy) by putting it in her nest. They try to be monogamous and some breeds will mate with the same partner each year. However, if their sweetheart fails to show up, they'll choose another.

Love is in the Air: Dancing Albatrosses

Albatross is another monogamous animal which, having chosen a partner, will reunite with them each year in order to breed. Intricate mating rituals involve dancing, staring, pointing, and using their bills in what we might describe as a swordfight. They'll start off by „dancing“ with multiple partners, but each year choose to do so with fewer and fewer until eventually finding the love of their lives. Once the partner has been chosen, the two will snap their bills, swagger from side to side and make clacking sounds, in the end having developed a language of their own. Albatrosses will live for as long as 50 years, and though the  mating ritual will simplify over time and eventually disappear, they'll spend their entire lives with the same partner.

Love is in the Air: Courting Dance of a Blue Crane

This ground-dwelling bird, known as the national bird of South Africa, can be very aggressive to various other animals, even humans who approach their nest too closely. At the same time, they’re terrific dancers, demonstrating their skills during the courting period which normally takes place as of October. Potential partners will run in circles together, with males engaging in an energetic yet graceful dance. You’ll see them stretching wings, pumping their heads, bowing, flinging different objects in the air and leaping up. When the girl has been sufficiently impressed, the two will pick each other and start dancing in a similar manner together. Two weeks later, mating starts. These birds mate for life and will stick around their partner year-round.

Love is in the Air: Jealous Topi

We’re used to seeing males pursuing ladies they wish to mate with, while females pick and choose who’ll be the father of their offspring. With Topi antelopes, however, the situation is reversed. Ladies will go nuts about dominant guys who manage to secure central position of mating arenas called leks. They’ll fight each other and quite aggressively pursue males they’ve mated with before. If female Topi finds her chosen partner in bed with another, she’ll likely barge in and interrupt the exchange. Meanwhile, males play hard to get and seek out the least mated girls. Eventually, tired of jealous outbursts of their former partners, they’ll launch a counterattack and refuse to rekindle the romance. It seems like aggressive jealousy doesn’t pay in animal world either.

Love is in the Air: Leopard Tortoise, the Relentless Pursuer

Leopard tortoise is known to be a loner, at least until mating season starts. Like many of their friends from the animal kingdom, male tortoises will engage in combats with their competitors, doing a lot of ramming, butting, and occasionally turning the opponent on their backs (which, as you can imagine, could present a bit of a problem for the one with feet in the air). When they pick the lady to mate with, there’s no beating around the bush. Guys will opt for a direct approach and simply run after the girl (so to speak) for quite some distance, finally butting her until she says yes. Once the lady has accepted their advances, noisy action takes place, accompanied by the male’s groans, grunts and wheezes. Relentlessly trailing a female might be considered stalking in the human world, but seems to work well enough for the leopard tortoise.

Love is in the Air: Unique Courting Methods of Cape Porcupine

Not all animal mating rituals sound romantic to a human, and those practiced by Cape porcupine will certainly not win any two-legged ladies. Instead of taking a girl out to dinner and buying her flowers, male porcupine will stand on his hind legs, walk over, and soak the female using forceful urine sprays. If the drenched lady is less than impressed, she’ll scream to indicate she’ll have none of that and shake off. But if interested, the girl will turn around and offer safe access to her quill-covered body. Well, nobody would like to see their mate stabbed by sharp daggers - at least before the romantic encounter takes place. Once access has been granted, the boy better be in good shape as female porcupines tend to be insatiable and will not let go easily. Should the exhausted male tire too fast, she’ll simply leave him and go searching for another lover.