Swollen throats, screaming, and decapitation: these are just some of the things that drive these creatures wild! If you think our ideas of attraction are weird, just wait until you see what these guys are into.
In evolutionary terms, an organism aims to produce offspring and pass on its genes, and some will go to crazy lengths to do so.
While their methods may seem strange to us, there are usually (somewhat) reasonable explanations behind them.
Creatures’ concepts of ideal mates usually correlate with traits that allow them to survive and thrive within their environment.
How are some animals’ mating rituals similar to ours? Which creature has hundreds of sexual partners at the same time? And why do some males sacrifice their lives for sex?
In the human world of mating, men are usually known for their tendency to show off, and the same goes for a slew of other species.
One such species is the frigatebird, who somehow concluded that engorging his red throat sac was the best way to attract a mate.
Well, believe it or not, it works! Female frigatebirds go after the males with the most massive throat sacs because they’re a sign of good health and fertility.
The males puff themselves up to signal that they’re ready to mate, and once they’re with a female, they cover her eyes so she won’t be distracted by other sacs.
And since we’re on the topic of grabbing people’s attention, let’s talk about boobies. Blue-footed boobies that is.
These birds like to show off their bright blue webbed feet to potential partners. The vivid color indicates to females that the male is well-equipped to acquire food.
He puts his feet on display through an elaborate sort of tap dance, that eventually spreads to his wings and beak. If the female is interested, she reciprocates the dance, and they live happily ever after.
When it comes to showing off, it’s not always about your physical assets, just ask the bowerbird. These feathery creatures construct and decorate elaborate nests to attract their mates.
They even use smart tricks like forced perspective to make their nests look bigger than they are. Decorated with fruit, flowers, and discarded human objects, these bright nests are used to catch the attention of females and display good genes.
While these mating rituals may be a little strange to us, we can at least relate to the motivations behind them. But now we’re going to look at a couple of species that have left us scratching our heads.
First up is the Red-Sided Garter Snake, who has one of the most bizarre mating rituals on the planet. When the female wakes up from hibernation, she releases a pheromone that attracts a lot of males, like hundreds of them, at the same time.
The snakes form a giant “mating ball,” in which the males all vie for the one female’s attention. The males rub their heads against her chin and try to maintain body contact to establish a connection.
The phenomenon is such a sight to see that it’s become a tourist attraction in Manitoba, Canada. One mating ritual that definitely won’t be attracting large crowds anytime soon is that of the praying mantis because theirs involves murder.
In a form of sexual cannibalism, the female chews off the head of her partner either during or after mating, for nourishment.
So what’s in it for the male? Well in a way he sacrifices himself to achieve his life-long goal of passing on his genes. If he can help the offspring by feeding their mother, this will give them the best possible start in life, ensuring his genes survive. Maybe next time just take her out to dinner first.
- 13 Most Unique Animal Features For Attracting Mates
- 10 Weird Ways Animals Find a Mate
- Why Female Praying Mantises Devour Their Partners During Sex
- I’m a real heart-throb, ladies! Magnificent Frigatebird looks fit to burst as it puffs out its bright red chest to attract a mate
- Animal Attraction: Beauty Is in the Brain of the Beholder
- Five lessons in seduction from the males of the animal kingdom
- The Crazy Courtship of Bowerbirds
- The largest gathering of snakes in the world woke up from a nap — and the photos are insane