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Animal love

January 20, 2011 | Tag(s): Valentine
By: Brenda, Director of Education and Volunteers, Audubon Zoo

The mating game in the animal world is very different from the human dating game.  Humans can be attracted by physical appearance or perhaps a certain perfume.  Humans can be wooed with chocolates and sparkly objects.  We are aware of the many similarities between the human species and other animals, but do you know about the differences?  Some are quite fascinating.

Some animals are very promiscuous- like dolphins and Bonobos.  They believe in “make love not war”. Some animals believe in offering gifts.  Adelie penguins offer carefully chosen stones (though not as pretty as the human chosen gemstones!) to attract their gal.  African elephants show very public displays of affection by caressing and entwining their trunks.

In many species the male makes the first move, but female baboons will shake their booty to get the male of their choosing.  Some animals seem to have very unattractive forms of attracting their mate.  Did you know that male hippos tail-flick their feces as a territorial display?  In the tern (a seafaring bird) world the first males to the breeding spot have the best chances of finding a mate.  So the early bird gets the babe!

There are lots more fascinating mating games to learn about and we are giving Adults only an opportunity to come learn about them.  On February 12 we are hosting a special Valentine’ Animal Amore`.  It will be a very unique opportunity to bring your special mate and learn more about the animal world.  We will have chocolate and spirits, some great short lectures on animal love lives and a twilight trek through the zoo with an entertaining education naturalist and his insights into our collection’s mating rituals.   Dinner and flowers can be done anytime, Animal Amore` just once a year.




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