Top 10 Animal Lovers
By Animal Planet
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they’re taught about “the birds and the bees,” but the actual birds, bees and others looking for love in the animal world are everything from picky and proud to brutal and bizarre. For these creatures, getting it on is not always about romance, but often in the name of survival. Find out who made the Top 10 Animal Lovers list, but consider yourself warned: their qualifications may bring out more the “Huh?” or the “Ew!” and less of the “Aw, isn’t that sweet!?”
10. Tasmanian Devil
The “devil” in this little critter’s name may be due to its rather rough and tumble approach to courtship. On top of having a mating call that could shatter glass, the Tasmanian devil also has a nasty temper and will throw down with anything that gets in its way — even a potential mate! Good thing this dalliance only lasts three days, at which point the she-devil has finally had enough and kicks Mr. Wonderful to the curb. Guess it comes as no surprise that these charmers tend to live alone.
Related: 8 Animals That Mate for Life
9. Whiptail Lizard
This amphibian doesn’t waste any time looking for Mr. Right or even Mr. Right Now — in fact, in this species, there’s no “Mr.” anything! Thanks to evolution, males are nonexistent, but the whiptail lizard ladies have found a way around in vitro. A female will get a surge of testosterone, mimicking male behavior enough to trigger reproduction in another female, who can lay eggs and fertilize herself. How’s that for girl power?
Image: Paul and Jill
8. Crested Macaque
These Indonesian island dwellers are hardly the poster children for monogamy, as both males and females will mate with numerous partners during their life span. However, what makes these lovers unique is the way the ladies let the guys know they’re interested, though quite frankly the booty call signal would be a little difficult to miss, considering they actually use their booty to make the call! When she’s in the mood, the female crested macaque’s buttocks fill with fluid and swell like a giant red balloon. Obvious, perhaps, but effective.
Showing off may not always be the best tactic when it comes to attracting the opposite sex, but for the peacock, it does wonders. This proud bird of India first nabs a lady’s attention by pretending he’s found food, then switches the focus by shaking his tail, fanning over 200 feathers that can reach 8 feet wide. It’s an important feature for the females to assess — the number of spots on a male’s tail directly correlates with their health and longevity, and the more the spots, the better. In this case, quantity does equal quality.
Related: 15 Incredibly Beautiful Birds
6. European Bitterling
For the European bitterling, which is a freshwater fish, three’s company, not a crowd — the courtship begins with male showing off his best dance moves in the hopes of charming a mussel. If the fish successfully gets its attention, the mussel serves as the Bitterling’s best asset for luring a lady. Let’s just say in this case, size does matter — if the shellfish is large enough for her, the female will extend her long, egg-laying tube into the mussel, which will then be fertilized by the male. The mussel then serves as an incubator of sorts — or perhaps a surrogate mother?
5. Demoiselle Crane
If a demoiselle crane ever challenges you to a “Dance Dance Revolution” competition, politely decline. This bird is a master when it comes to cutting a rug, as it not only uses the technique to attract a life partner, but also as a way to get their hormones going. In fact, if they don’t dance, they won’t be able to lay eggs, so their survival actually depends on it.
Related: Beautiful Bird Mating Dance (video)
4. Indian Rhinoceros
The male Indian rhinoceros loves the scent of his woman, but in this case, the elixir is not exactly Chanel No. 5. A whiff of a female’s urine is all it takes to get his motor running, and with a sense of smell that rivals a bloodhound, this rhino can pick up the aroma from over a mile away. Both the male and female are extremely near-sighted, so they often charge first and ask questions later. Once they’re up close and personal, the courtship becomes a game of chase, with the female playing hard to get and keeping her suitor in tow for three days.
3. Red-Sided Garter Snake
The ladies are way outnumbered in this species, to the tune of up to 3,000 males for every one female. With those odds, it’s no wonder the singles scene is competitive for the males, to say the least, and it’s made even more difficult by the female’s ability to produce a sexy pheromone that drives the boys wild. But these guys are quick studies and have learned how to mimic the scent to distract their rivals, in effect acting like a woman to get the girl.
2. Kakapo Parrot
This rare parrot makes his home in the deep forests of New Zealand, but as this bird is flightless, it’s imperative to attract potential lovers their way. This is not an easy task for a male trying to attract maybe one of six viable females on an island the size of Manhattan. A hopeful suitor will give it his all by stationing himself in a clearing and giving the performance of a lifetime by belting out a call up to 10,000 times a day. His tune comes out at such a low frequency, it’s more felt than heard, but it’s also so powerful that it can travel up to three miles away. Now that’s a love song!
1. Redback Spider
The redback spider tops the animal lovers list because this arachnid would literally kill for some action — and does! The courtship begins with the male back-flipping into a sexual position, taunting the female by placing his rear directly in front of her venomous fangs. Guess that’s one way to say, “Come and get it!” The female happily obliges, taking a bite out of her lover, but before the poison sets in, the male scurries away from her deadly embrace. Too bad he can’t leave well enough alone — he eventually returns, only to be eaten by the female. Well … that’s one way to avoid any awkward, serious relationship discussions!