In the animal kingdom courtship and mating rituals are as wide and varied as the beasts themselves, which means there are some quaint and odd practices out there. Now some of these practices are what we would see as romantic. Acts that melt our hearts and imply to us a lasting and unbreakable bond, whereas others, let’s just say less so…
Where else would we start?! A universal symbol of monogamy and affection, lovebirds are at the cute end of the spectrum when it comes to animal pairings. Ancient Greeks actually believed the coupling was so strong that the birds would die if they were split up. Although this isn’t the case the bond between these little lovers is fairly impressive. They get together at the age of two months and basically don’t ever look back.
Ok, so there are lovebirds, which are lovely and then there is the white-fronted parrot. Now plenty of animals, especially birds, even lovebirds in fact do a bit of upchucking when it comes to feeding the family. However this fellow takes things a step further. These guys lock beaks in the first stage of courtship, which is fairly cool, ‘look they’re kissing’. However the male then progresses things by vomiting in to the girl’s mouth… Just like a Friday night in Swansea, and there is nothing romantic about that.
Bonobo’s are known for being overtly sexual creatures partaking in intercourse and stimulating activities that are not seen in any other animals bar humans. So that makes them romantic, right? Well sort of. To be honest the Bonobo uses sex a lot. They make out when they greet, when they find food, when they’re angry, when they’re making up, when they’re hanging in a tree, when they’re not hanging in a tree… etc.
This behaviour is maybe just a bit too out there to be considered really romantic, but they are the only creatures who regularly practice tongue kissing, oral sex and face to face intercourse. Acts we believe distinguish our own sexual habits from those of animals…
Being slimy, slow and hermaphrodites suggests that romance isn’t something that would much concern snails. And maybe it doesn’t, however they do fire love darts just like cupid! Despite their hermaphrodite status they require a partner to lay eggs, which means a courtship routine is necessary.
This entails a lot of slow circling and dart firing. Most miss, but the ones that hit stimulate the female organs and allow them to hold more sperm. They also trade sperm cells in a process that can last for up to six hours, and that’s good going by anyone’s standards.
These are just a few of the romantic and not so romantic creatures from the animal kingdom, unfortunately there wasn’t time to mention the somewhat scatological hippo (eww) or the beautifully possessive prairie vole (ahh)… However if you’re looking for an interesting and romantic alternative to compare your own relationship to, hopefully you now have a place to start…
- License: Creative Commons image source
Jim Jackson is a romantic soul and loves getting involved with the Valentine’s Day gift based shenanigans at Find Me A Gift.