We've gathered the most interesting, dangerous and messy, and down-right strange animal mating rituals to ponder this Valentine's Day.
🐍 Red sided garter snakes: Party on the Prairies
Any Raiders of the Lost Ark fans out there? Remember the Well of Souls filled with snakes? That’s not entirely fictional. Narcisse, Manitoba is home to the largest annual gathering of snakes in the world, and after some preliminary youtube research, it can undoubtedly be described as 50 Shades of red sided garter snake. Every spring, the males emerge first from their underground lairs. When a larger female turns up, the males form into a giant mating ball in which a single female is surrounded by up to 100 males trying to mate with her.
🐋 Humpback whales: The Show and Tell
Like many birds, male humpback whales sing to attract females. However, unlike most animals, they do so in chorus. When looking for mates, males gather in large groups in areas researchers call "arenas". They then spread out and all sing together to let the women know where they are.
🐁 Prairie voles: Super-loyal
Prairie voles are among the most monogamous and affectionate mammals. They can sense when their partner is stressed and shower them with affection. They spend most of their time together, and that's usually how they like it: the couple will chase away other voles of either sex that approach them.
🦃 Sage grouse: The Best of the West
Every spring, sage grouses that are native to the Canadian Prairies gather in large groups at a "lek", the word specifically for the Sage grouse mating arena. The males engage in competitive strutting displays, puffing out special air sacs in their chests and making specialized sounds, also known as "lekking". The females gather around and choose who they like best. 80 per cent of the females mate with the one or two most dominant males.
💛 Porcupines: Forget Flowers and Chocolates - Spray Pee!
The porcupine mating window is small: females are open to it for only about 8-12 hours per year. During this time male porcupines will stands on their hind legs and spray the female with urine. If she’s not impressed🧐, she (unsurprisingly) is quite vocal about it. However, if she likes her prospective mate, she lets things proceed.The 12-hour mating period is enough to get the female pregnant 90 per cent of the time.
Arctic Fox: #Couplesgoals
These sly foxes are known for being fantastic hunters, but did you know they also make fantastic life partners? Arctic fox mate for life and both males and females help raise the pups.
🐻❄️ Polar Bears: The Long Distance Relationship
Polar bears are, for the most part, solitary creatures. However, even these loners must mate for their species to survive. Males must travel long distances in search of a mate, sniffing bear tracks to catch traces of a female's scent. Once they do find each other, it's not always love at first sight/fight. The female will often perceive the male as a threat, and it can take more than a week to gain the females trust.
🥰 Canadian Geese
Canada geese, widely-regarded as a symbol of our country, have more elaborate mating behaviours than most wildlife. The female chooses a mate based on how well she believes he can protect her, they then form a monogamous relationship and mate for life. If one of the pair dies, the surviving goose will mourn and may eventually find another mate.
Happy Love Day, whoever you love and however you show your love!