Romantic Animals: The Unique Ways 10 Species Show Love

Romantic Animals: The Unique Ways 10 Species Show Love

Now that we’ve hit February, the month of love, many of us are planning how to show our feelings to our partners on Valentine’s Day. Maybe we could take a cue from the animal world? Here are some interesting ways wildlife species express love.

Macaroni Penguins – Ecstatic Displayers

The macaroni penguin is very fashionable, so they’re already putting in the effort to be seductive. They got their name because the feathers on their heads resemble the feathers stylish men called “macaroni” would put in their hats. (Remember the “Yankee Doodle” song?) They also know how to make their mate feel appreciated. When they see each other, they do a dance called an “ecstatic display”. This involves puffing up their chests, swinging their heads from side to side, and making accompanying noises.

Pufferfish – The Artists

Pufferfish – also known as blowfish – can toughen up and bulk up when they’re trying to defend themselves, but they also have an artist’s heart. To attract a mate, males of one species of pufferfish create elaborate circular designs on the sea floor. This can take around a week, with these sandy art pieces stretching to about six feet wide, and it's all made by fins. Females that are particularly impressed with a piece of this sea bottom art will mate with the artist. The eggs will then be laid in the center of the circle.

Seahorses – Dancing Colorfully

Seahorses are interesting as pairs, especially as the males are the ones that handle pregnancy (which may be romantic enough as it is), but they also partake in one of the common couple pastimes: dancing. Seahorse mates spend each morning dancing together, often linking tails and sometimes changing colors, as a means to connect. It also helps them sync their bodies to prepare for procreation.

Adelie Penguins – They Wanna Rock

Another penguin species is also very romantic, if you enjoy receiving a rock… and who doesn’t?! Male Adelie penguins look for the best pebbles around the beach to bring back to their mate for their nest. A man who can build his own house can be irresistible. Once there are eggs and chicks, both partners take on offspring duties.

Bowerbirds – Wooing with Their Design Skills

Bowerbirds are found in Australia and Papua New Guinea, and though they’re the "love them and leave them" type (they don’t play a role in raising young), they work hard at seduction. The males build bowers – a collection of sticks creating an entrance – and then fill them with interesting and appealing items they find. This may include bones, shells, random bits discarded by humans, and flower petals. Many are colorful, as well. The females will choose a mate based on how good these curated collections are.

Mice – The Serenaders

Mice tend to get bad rap, but they are talented crooners. Yes, that’s right. Mice sing in a high-pitch that humans can’t hear. They also use their vocal abilities to attract mates. A Duke University study showed that their tune selection changes when they’re doing the chasing versus when their mate arrives. When they know a female is around, they sing more complex songs, but the tunes become longer and simpler when she’s in their presence. Who can resist a man able to write a variety of ballads for you?

Geese – Very Committed, Sometimes Aggressively So

Geese can sometimes inspire a bit of fear in people, but it could just be due to their passion, and their protective nature over those they love. Geese are known to mate for life and to stay by their mate’s side when they’re ill or injured. Every so often a news story will pop up that demonstrates this devotion, including this story from 2021, when a female goose stood outside a wildlife clinic while per partner had surgery. She even tried to break in to get to him! So maybe the next time a goose chases you, ask if you’re also willing to chase someone for your partner.

Prairie Voles – The Consoling Cuddlers

Prairie voles – who unsurprisingly, based on their name, enjoy open grassy areas - spend their days on runways above the ground and tunnels beneath. They make those tunnels homey with their mates, with whom they remain for life. They do everything together, from building their nests to raising their babies. They also love a good cuddle and are able to sense when their mates are stressed and to comfort them. It’s just like your partner giving you a little shoulder massage and some ice cream after a rough day.

Sandhill Cranes – Couples’ Choreography

The sandhill crane has been around for a while, with the oldest fossil on record dating back more than 2 million years. Maybe that’s why their dance moves are so good. They’ve had plenty of time to perfect them. Mates perform a specific dance together, which involves bowing, stretching their wings, leaping, and moving their heads. While dances attract mates to begin with, they’re also regularly performed to strengthen the bond between existing pairs.

Atlantic Puffins – Kissy Face

Atlantic puffins are often called the clowns of the sea, but when it comes to love and making “pufflings” (baby puffins), they’re not joking around. They’re good partners, raising young together, and they’re also affectionate in one way that’s similar to humans. In a move that resembles kissing, mates rub their beaks together to strengthen their connection. It’s kind of a spectator sport, too, with others gathering around and appreciating the show. Hopefully your friends don’t do that when you kiss, but at least the support is nice.

Michelle Milliken

Michelle has a journalism degree and has spent more than seven years working in broadcast news. She's also been known to write some silly stuff for humor websites. When she's not writing, she's probably getting lost in nature, with a fully-stocked backpack, of course.

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