14 Lessons in Love from the Animal Kingdom

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With valentine's day fast approaching, we've been looking to the animal kingdom for some lessons in love. 

1. Show your caring side


Female tamarin monkeys are attracted to males they think will make good fathers. That’s why we’ve often spotted our male emperor tamarins carrying young on their backs, it’s all one big act to show off their parenting prowess to potential mates.

2. Dress to impress


Rumour has it, the sexiest parrots are the ones with fluorescent feathers. Both males and female parrots are attracted to those who have the most brightly coloured plumage, which glows by absorbing ultra violet light

3. Shake your tail feathers


The ideal mate for a peahen is the peacock with the most ‘eyes’ (or ocelli) within his spectacularly plumed tail.

4. Unleash your creativity


The most elaborate courtship display in the animal kingdom is that of the bowerbird. These resourceful birds build complex structures to impress their females, some males will use twigs and shiny objects as decoration, while others will fill their nest with entirely blue items.

5. Give the gift of pebbles


Securing a monogamous relationship with a fellow penguin is no easy task. You must search far and wide to find the perfect pebble to offer to your desired mate, if accepted, you’ll become mates for life.

6. Stick together, forever


Lovebirds are monogamous, it’s essential to the social stability of flocks and underlies much of their social behaviour.

7. Holding hands is encouraged


While not strictly a behaviour between lovers, it’s definitely one worth learning from. Some otters are known to hold hands in groups - called a raft - while they eat, sleep and rest, to prevent families losing each other.

8. Don’t give up


Male reindeer will battle each other for access to females. Two males will lock their antlers together and try to push each other away. The most dominant males can collect as many as 15–20 females to mate with.

9. PDA’s are okay


Need we say any more?

10. Dark and handsome all the way


The colour of a lion’s mane directly correlates with his health, testosterone and vigor. The darker the mane, the more powerful the lion. Lions with a darker mane are more likely to attract potential mates.

11. Persistence is key


The courtship ritual of the meerkat consists not of the males displaying or fighting, but simply hours of persistent stroking and grooming of the female until she relents.

12. Dance the night away


During courtship, sea horses display a romantic dance that can last up to eight hours. The male and female will hold tails, swim snout-to-snout, and change colours to indicate their readiness to mate. Once the male is pregnant — yes, the male— the female stays by his side until birth, visiting daily to ensure that he will continue to protect their eggs. 

13. Put your best foot forward

Blue footed boobie

To court females, male blue-footed boobies display their feet in an elaborate choreographed dance that would make Fred Astaire proud. Dancing prowess is not the only indication of a quality mate; the brightness of the males’ feet, which dull with age, plays a critical role during selection as well. So if a male is young enough to possess bright blue feet and skilled enough in the dance department, he can secure a partner for life, as these birds are often monogamous.

14. Sing it loud for all to hear


To attract a mate, male gibbons rely on the sweet and sensual captivation of song. Their singing can reach potential mates up to half a mile away. If the love song works, male and female gibbons form pair bonds that can last a lifetime, leading these apes to be monogamous match made in the forest.


There's plenty we can learn from the animal kingdom when it comes to romance. So if you're stuck for ideas where to take that special someone this Valentine's Day, why not consider a day out at the zoo - surrounded by our loved up animals it's the perfect place for a date!