Wildlife’s Valentines day is sometimes more exciting than our own..
While they might not be giving roses and writing love poems, wildlife have some pretty fascinating – and sometimes downright bizarre – courtship and mating rituals of their own. You won’t find singles bars or online dating sites for grizzly bears but our furry and feathered friends have some pretty interesting habits.
Here are some intriguing examples provided by the National Wildlife Federation:
- Female moths release a chemical called a pheromone into the air that male moths find irresistible. The males detect the females’ intoxicating perfume with their fuzzy, sensitive antennae. A single female moth can lure dozens of males. The bolas spider has figured out a way to mimic the pheromones of certain moths, thus luring unsuspecting male moths to an untimely death in her clutches. Talk about deadly perfume!
- Male wood frogs emerge from hibernation in February and brave the near-freezing water of ponds formed by melting snow, where they put out their loud duck-like mating call to attract females. Being amphibians, wood frogs are cold-blooded and their body temperature is essentially the same as the surrounding freezing pond water. An antifreeze-like property in their body is the only thing that keeps these croakers from freezing solid. No love in front of a toasty fireplace for these guys.
- Some insects have learned how to take advantage of the irresistible visual display of the opposite sex as a way to score a meal. Male fireflies flash their light and wait for the females hidden in the vegetation to flash back. One species of firefly has learned to mimic the return flash of the female of another species, and when the hopeful male shows up to introduce himself, she eats him and goes on to mate with a male of her own species with a full belly.
For many species (including the human race according to many) the females hold all the power and ultimately decide when to seal the deal when it comes to mating. And the males have to work hard to earn their prospective lady’s attention.
- The male bower bird is every woman’s dream: he’s an excellent carpenter but also fabulous decorator. He builds a stick structure called a bower and then decorates it to impress the eligible ladies. Often he picks a monochromatic color scheme for his decor, which can include everything from shells, feathers, flowers, and even bits of string, plastic and other man-made items. If the house and its decor are good enough, females will choose him as their mate. It’s clear no human male teenager whose room looks like a war zone would ever score with this approach.
- Male painted turtles have very long front claws. When he’s trying to impress a particular gal, he swims around so he’s facing her and then waves his perfect manicure in her face in the hopes of turning her on. She’s likely to be simply annoyed by his flashy behavior, though, and he runs the risk of having her swim away if she’s not in the mood.
- Location, location, location – In spring, male house wrens migrate north a week or two before the females. They use that time to build multiple nests to impress the girls when they arrive. A male has got to have impressive building skills to score a mate. When a female finally does pick a male and one of his abodes, she moves in and promptly disassembles his “bachelor pad” nest and rebuilds it to her own satisfaction. Sound familiar?
- more via science news