It may still be cold outside and you may still be wearing your coat, but many animals are gearing-up for spring. And, for many animals, this means mating season. To be successful in finding a mate, many species will engage in courtship rituals. These may be simple gestures like singing loudly, or they may be elaborate dances, or even be extremely strange. If you think your love life is difficult take a look at the few weirdest courtship rituals in the animal kingdom.
Procupines- Mating has to be done carefully for these prickly critters. So to get a female interested a male will…what else…drench his potential lover in a urine bath of course. If the female is interested she will move closer to the male. If she is not interested she will shake off, whine and then leave the area.
Praying Mantis- For these insects a female is a dream come true and the worst nightmare all rolled into one. Sometimes after mating a female mantis will become hungry and start munching on her mate. This also happens in a lot of spider species as well. So each time a male approaches a female, he has to determine whether it’s worth the risk.
Painted Turtles- Once Painted Turtles emerge from hibernation, when the water is still rather cool, they begin thinking about mating. To attract a female, the male Painted Turtle will approach the female head to head and tickle her face gently with his claws for a few minutes. He will do this over and over again! If the female is open to the idea of mating, she will stroke the arms of the male. Eventually, if both the male and female decide it is a match, they will mate.
Sandhill Cranes- Sandhill Cranes are monogamous which means they keep the same partner every year. But, even though they have their mate already chosen, they still perform courting dances to strengthen their bond. These amazing dances involve the male and female facing each other and jumping in the air with their wings outstretched. They kick their legs forward and make a loud croaking sound. Venture into central Nebraska during the spring migration (late-February through early April) and you will see thousands of Sandhill Crane pairs dancing together!