By Stephen Messenger, TreeHugger
Does a dung beetle find love easier than us? From the humblest worm to the majestic blue whale, creatures large and small have spent hundreds of millions of years conceiving a variety of ways to impress their mates.
Single guys listen up: These savvy animals understand the language of love…and might just have the best advice for those looking for romance.
Mingle Like a Penguin
Every year in late spring, male penguins, often numbering into the thousands, congregate on their colony’s breeding ground to establish a nesting spot and await the arrival of females. When the ladies start pouring in, the giant singles’ mixer erupts in a cacophony of squawking and wing-flapping as the males vie for a partner.
Once the pairs mate, they form a bond which can last for years. With any luck, the same can be true for humans who mingle — and you don’t even need a tux.
Pimp Your Style Like a Peacock
Nothing’s quite as attractive to a lady than a well-dressed gentleman — and sometimes that means ditching those drab jeans and dull shirts for some more eye-catching threads.
Take the colorful peacock: Sure, the flamboyant blue and green hues of his plumage may not be suited to all tastes, but when he puts those generous tail-feathers on display during courtship, peahens can’t help but swoon — well, sometimes. So, take a tip from one of nature’s boldest fashion icons and dress to impress. (Tossing in that cute little waddle couldn’t hurt either.)
Take Her For a Spin Like a Dung Beetle
Sure, taking your date on a quiet stroll through the park is nice, but nothing beats a spirited bike ride to show off your sporty side. When it comes to romantic outings, Dung beetles are surprisingly on the ball — even if that ball is, well, composed of excrement. After male beetles finish gathering up some dung and find a partner to mate with, the pair venture off in search of a good place to bury it — often with the female hitching a ride while the male rolls. Eventually, she lays eggs inside the ball. which will protect and provide food for the growing offspring.
Image credit: heath.windcliff via Flickr
Play It Cool Like a Butterfly
Often when a single guy meets a gal that really makes his heart patter, he runs the risk of coming across as anxious on the first date — but in such instances, it’s crucially important to keep your cool.
Biologists have noted that when female Squinting Bush Brown butterflies are exposed to cooler temperatures as caterpillars, they are more likely to aggressively court males — effectively reversing the roles observed under normal conditions.
Researchers aren’t quite sure what’s behind this phenomenon in butterflies, but it’s no mystery that playing it cool works for guys as well.
Spruce Up Your Place Like a Bowerbird
Like it or not, from the moment your date steps foot on your home turf, she’s looking for clues — and if the first thing she discovers is indisputable evidence that you’re a slob, you might as well go no further. There’s one bird in particular, however, who knows the importance of keeping his abode clean and nicely decorated for the ladies.
Vogelkop Bowerbirds, native to Western New Guinea, are famous for constructing elaborate thatch structures adorned with a collection of colorful objects they’ve found lying around — all just to impress the refined tastes of a passing female.
However, unlike for the Bowerbird, that month-old pile of discarded candy wrappers doesn’t count as decoration for you.
Hit the Dance Floor Like a Sea Dragon
It’s no mystery, women love guys who can dance. Unfortunately, many men believe their two left feet prohibit them from enjoying this romantic pastime — but it’s worth bearing in mind that one of nature’s most seductive dancers has no feet at all.
During courtship, Weedy Sea Dragons engage in a subtle dance, mirroring each other’s movements through the water in delicate unison, a beautiful display of affection and solidarity as precursor to mating.
Weedy Sea Dragon wallflowers? They were weeded out of the gene pool long ago, so you’d better get jiggy!
Serenade Her Like a Koala
No matter if you’re a bird, a frog, a whale, or a certified public accountant — belting out a tune or two is one of the most effective ways of catching the attention of a prospective love interest.
Even koala males, one of the laziest animals on Earth, burn calories singing for the ladies when they’re in the mood. Their call might not be particularly pleasant, but it can reverberate through the forest during mating season for miles around, alerting female koalas to their presence…and the lazy male koala doesn’t have to make the trek to find them.
Koalas might be cute enough to be forgiven for their odd ‘song’ of gurgles and grunts, but you’d be wise to attempt an actual tune when trying to win over a human companion. Maybe she’d even find your off-key bellowing of “Unchained Melody” charming, too.
Prepare a Meal Like a Robin
They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but the same is often true for ladies — especially when you skip the fancy restaurant and wine and dine her at home.
Many male birds, like cardinals and robins, charm their mates by preparing them a delicious meal of bugs and grubs. Not only is it a thoughtful and chivalrous gesture, it suggests to the female that her suitor will make a good provider later on down the line.
Prove You Care Like a Bighorn Sheep
Your gal doesn’t want to date a brute, but that’s not to say she wouldn’t appreciate you fighting for her affections. This competitive spirit is an important part of the dating scene for Bighorn sheep
During mating season, rams put on quite a show, plowing into one another with their massive horns. While these dramatic battles settle mating rights among the males, evidently the ewes aren’t always so smitten with the display and still require some convincing on the part of the victor.
In the human world, such all-out brawls aren’t likely to win you any points with the ladies, but backing down in the face of little healthy competition from other suitors certainly won’t either.
Be Persistent Like a Hedgehog
For a fortunate few, meeting their partners means love at first sight — but for countless other couplings, cupid’s aim can be a little off the mark, and require a bit of persistence.
When male hedgehogs find their ideal mate playing hard-to-get, they’ll casually pace around her, trying to get her attention — which sometimes takes hours.
That stubborn persistence, while perhaps annoying at first, eventually endears the male hedgehog to his mate until she decides to give him a chance. In the world of human romances, too, sometimes just showing up is half the battle.