Language of Love: Unique Animal Mating Habits

Language of Love

(Images via: Red Bubble, Top News, Flickr, Friend’s Korner, Flickr)

The classic “boy meets girl” love story is hardly the invention of humans. Just ask our friends in the animal kingdom, who have certainly perfected the art of romance. From the love songs of the Mexican free-tailed bat to the dangerous, seductive dance of redback spiders, the language of love rings loud and clear in the animal world, with the end goal of winning her affection clear but the means not always so.

Humpback Whales: Crooning for Your Love

Humpback Whales

(Image via: RD)

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Apparently, crooning is not just reserved to the Frank Sinatras of the world but is fair game in the animal kingdom for attracting the attention of the fairer sex. Male humpback whales apparently sing, that is bellow noises that sound like hums, whups and chirps, to seduce females and claim their territory. Especially interesting is the recent finding that these male whales will change their tunes in response to other whale songs, as if they’re trying to one up each other. Humpback competition is not just limited to singing; when interested in a female, three to eight males will surround the object of affection and fight for the closest positioning to the girl of their dreams.

Giant Pandas: Secret Love Letters

Giant Pandas

(Images via: My Net Bizz, Flickr, Japan Probe)

Humpback whales are not the only animals with their own language of love. According to recent research, male giant pandas blurt out a variety of sounds (such as barks, moans, honks, growls, roars and squeals) when looking for a partner during mating season. One particularly prevalent sound (the bleat) was recently decoded by researchers as a cue to the female about the size of the male giant panda. Female giant pandas also respond with their own sounds (chirps, snorts and chomps) that convey information about their ages. Also cool were the findings that the male pandas prefer older females to mate with based on their experience, and that boy and girl giant pandas have distinctive masculine and feminine voices.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bats: Batty for Your Love

Mexican Free-Tailed Bats

(Images via: Life in the Fast Lane, Calgary Wildlife Control, Angry by Choice)

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Mexican free-tailed bats take animal mating communications to a new level, specifically with love songs that contain syllables and phrases to attract females and send a warning to other males about trying to mess with their girls. Barely audible to the human ear, these bat sounds are categorized as chirps, buzzes and trills, and used in different combinations during these songs of courtship. Especially interesting is recent research discovering that there apparently is some standardization to the bat love songs, with free-tailed bats in different geographic locations using the same “word” for love, even though bats generally do not have any language rules.

South American Songbird: Singing for Your Attention

Songbirds

(Images via: Tree Hugger, Photo Bucket, Flickr)

With a name like the South American songbird, one would hardly be surprised to know that these birds sing to attract females. However, the means in which these birds make their sounds is actually surprising. Rather than using their mouths, these birds rely on their feathers to make violin-like sounds to sweep female songbirds off their feet. The songbirds essentially vibrate a club-shaped feather against a nearby ridged feather to make their sweet music, with the wings acting as if they are part of an orchestra, according to a researcher who recently made this cool discovery.

Redback Spiders: A Love Worth Dying For?

Redback Spiders

(Images via: Moolf, Hotel Club, Nature, Hunter Valley Backyard Nature)

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Confidence and craziness are prerequisites for male Australian redback spiders looking to mate with females. Not only are the males often much smaller in size than the female spiders, but they risk getting eaten alive if they don’t suit the girl redback spider just right. Specifically, studies have shown that the female redback spider demands that the male spiders court them for approximately 100 minutes, or face getting their heads bitten off. This twisted courtship involves the male spider performing a long dance in which he incorporates the female’s web as part of his own and beats on her abdomen as if it is a drum. If the male does not do this for 100 minutes, he will likely be eaten and other males will scramble to mate with the female. Even if he performs this dance for 100 minutes, there’s no guarantee that the male will get to mate with the female.

Alligators: Love Will Keep Us Together

Alligators

(Images via: The Onion, Have Fun in the Southwest, The Music and You, The Gatorman)

Nearly 1 in 2 marriages in the United States end in divorce, and fidelity is hardly held close to the heart in the animal kingdom, as many species move on from one mate to the other (like female honeybees that mate with anywhere from 40 to 100 males). However, such is not the case for alligators, which often remain together through thick and thin. Recent research has found that up to 70 percent of female alligators remain with the same male partner for many years, with one pair first hooking up in 1997 and still together nearly 10 years later in 2005. Amazingly, female alligators choose to stay together and build nests with the same mate despite being encountered by many other ready-and-willing male alligators during the mating season. Who said faithfulness was a thing of the past?

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