It’s easy to see animals such as dogs and cats being affectionate at home, but there’s animal affection in the wild, too — it’s just harder to observe.
Some animals show affection like some humans do, by mating for life. Swans, gibbons (a kind of ape), French angler fish, albatrosses, wolves and black vultures are just some of the species who pick a mate and stick with them.
Even black vultures have been known to attack other members of their species who have been caught being unfaithful.
Prairie voles are another monogamous animal, which is actually very rare among rodents. But prairie voles take their relationships a bit further than just monogamy — they basically run a household together. The voles huddle and groom with their mates and share nesting and pup-raising responsibilities.
Among other animals, there are many interesting mating habits. It may not be “affection” as humans think of it, but it’s perhaps the closest thing to love these animals can get.
The male angler fish has a very interesting way to mate. The male is quite a bit smaller than the female, and he actually attaches himself to her. After being attached, he then shares the female’s blood and nutrients. Whenever it’s time to fertilize the female’s eggs, he’s right on board and ready.
Lots of birds have very interesting ways to show attraction or affection. The male prairie chicken attracts females by making loud booming noises that can be heard from miles away. They also perform a dance, inflate an orange air sack in their neck area and stamp their feet.
Men might think they’re clever when they decorate a bed with rose petals, but male bowers (a kind of bird) in Australia and New Guinea were doing something similar way before humans thought of it.
Bowers pick a spot on the forest floor and decorate it for potential mates with leaves, flowers, shells and other found objects. Some even “paint” with chewed berries.
Another stereotypical romantic scene humans relate to is a boyfriend on the front lawn of his girlfriend’s house, blasting a meaningful song from a boom box. Humans can’t lay first claim to this strategy either, since crickets shape leaves by biting holes in them to make the leaves amplify their mating chirps.
Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week
Part of the Ozark big-eared bat’s mating ritual includes nuzzling heads, which has been compared to human kissing.