Valentine's Day is the time of year when romance is - as the saying goes - "in the air". But romance is also in the sea, on the land, in the hay, and in the bushes. In fact, love is everywhere! Below are just some of the ways in which our furry friends, great and small, "get it together".
The Way to Her Heart is Through Her Stomach
Better than flowers or jewellery, the male Hanging Fly knows what his girl likes best of all - dead insects. Although the female Hanging Fly is actually perfectly capable of catching her own prey, she'd much rather have it brought to her. And the male hopes that by eating, she'll be distracted long enough for him to carry out his necessary business. Although the rest of the time the female hunts for herself, during the mating season she often doesn't bother; she just lies back, and waits.
The male "Common Tern" - a fish eating bird, goes in for dramatic aerial displays above the sea or a large lake to impress his chosen one. He will soar into the sky, and then plummet to the ground to attract her attention. He ends his displays by swooping over to his lover with a fish held in his beak. The female, meanwhile, indicates her pleasure or displeasure by a particular kind of love-talk. The female's long, low seductive "Keeaarrr!" means "Come here, baby!" while the sharp "kek kek!" means, "Get lost, loser!" And last but not least, the flirtatious "Kiki!" means, "Hey, big boy - bring me that fish!"
During the panda-mating season, China's forests ring out with barks, bleats and roars of pandas in search of a mate. Pandas live on a low calorie diet so take as little exercise as possible. In fact, they spend most of their time lying down in order to conserve energy. But during the mating season, such is his passion that the male panda will even climb trees to call out for Ms Right. Once she finds him, she gets straight to the point. She makes a "come and get me!" noise, and sticks her bottom up in the air.
The male Orangutan tries to impress the female, and simultaneously frighten off other males, by shaking branches, knocking down dead trees, and roaring and bellowing loud enough to hear half a mile away. Apparently, the female orangutan likes a strong man.
The Way to Her Heart is Through Her Stomach II
As we all know, the female preying mantis likes to eat her mate as soon as the act of passion is over. But what you probably didn't know is that sometimes she can get a bit peckish, and take a small bite out of him even before rumpy-pumpy has finished. Consequently, the poor male is absolutely terrified the whole way through (well, wouldn't you be, guys?). You see, in her eyes, he's lunch, not love, and the male knows he has to approach her with care. He creeps up behind her step-by-step, always careful to keep out of her line of vision. This process can take up to an hour. Then, he hops on top of her, before she has time to turn around and eat him. But all the same, he gets his head (literally) bitten off in the end.
The Queen bee, meanwhile, likes to "do it" on the wing. Chased through the flowers by her squadron of drones, she bonks them one after the other. This is not because she is particularly promiscuous: it takes from 7 to 17 drones to get a Queen bee pregnant. The act of sex, like the act of stinging, means instant death for the poor drone. So one by one, they literally drop from the sky - dead.
Size does matter
Well, we all know why men like to buy big, flashy cars. But when it comes moose, elks and deer, the antlers are where it's at. The males pride themselves on their bombastic, elephant like antlers; and that's what the girls like too - the bigger the better.
Size doesn't matter
The biggest animals are by no means the best "in the sack", however. Although a moose will travel miles to get back to his traditional hunting ground, and then spend weeks fighting battles to win a female, when it actually comes down to it, the whole performance is over in a few seconds. Bears and lions are no better, either.
All night long
Insects have much more stamina. Scandinavian earthworms hold the record for a marathon three-and-a-half-hour mating sessions. Unlike other earthworms, which like to do it underground, in Scandinavia, they prefer the open air. They are very choosy, visiting the burrows of all prospective partners before deciding on a mate. But once they make up their minds, there's no stopping them.
But the record for "longest lover in the animal kingdom" has to go to the western diamond-backed rattlesnake, who can keep going for up to 25 hours.
The best animal-lover of all, though, has to be the American alligator. These alligators enjoy several sweet days of courtship before going any further. Then there's the long foreplay, during which the male strokes the female and rubs his head against her throat. During the act itself he mumbles sweet nothings in her ears, and even blows bubbles gently against her cheeks! Now that's my kind of man.
See you later, alligator!
- Hilary Davies
prey - an animal that is caught by another animal and eaten, victim (ofiara, zdobycz)
tern - a bird that lives by the sea, similar to a seagull (rybitwa)
(to) soar - quickly increase to high level or altitude (wzbić się, poszybować)
(to) plummet - to quickly loose height (runąć w dół, gwałtownie spaść)
swooping - flying manoeuvre where plane, or bird, flies low to the ground for a period and then quickly regains height (pikowanie)
beak - hard curved or pointed part of a bird’s mouth (dziób)
seductive - sexually attractive (uwodzicielski, kuszący)
(to) bleat - make the sound that a sheep makes, complain about sth in a weak voice (beczeć, meczeć, biadolić)
(to) bellow - call out in a very loud voice (wyć, ryczeć)
preying mantis - large insect with long front legs (modliszka)
peckish - a little hungry (o kimś, kto ma ochotę coś przekąsić)
(to) creep - move slowly and carefully (skradać się)
(to) get one's head bitten off - expression meaning a vicious and quick verbal attack (odgryźć się)
(to) chase - pursue, follow (ścigać, gonić)
drone - male bee that does not do any work (truteń)
(to) bonk - socially acceptable slang (BrE) for "doing it". Became popular in the nineteen nineties
promiscuous - having many different sexual partners (rozwiązły, o bogatym życie seksualnym)
antler - horns on the head of a male deer (poroże)
where it's at - fashionable (na fali)
in the sack - in bed (w łóżku)
stamina - strength, endurance (wytrzymałość, odporność)
burrow - hole or tunnel in the ground made by an animal as a place to live (nora, jama)
rattlesnake - poisonous snake that makes a noise with its tail that sounds like a rattle (grzechotnik)
courtship - process where animals attempt to attract a mate (zaloty, konkury)
foreplay - kissing and touching before intercourse (gra wstępna)
(to) mumble - to say sth in a way that is difficult to hear and understand (mamrotać)