Photo Blog: Animal Romance in AfricaFebruary 26, 2019
As the month of love comes to an end, we take a look at the peculiar ways some animals in Africa express their ‘love and affection’ during their mating courtship and rituals.
Although notoriously frightening reptiles, crocodiles know how to dance even if it is still a little terrifying. Male crocodiles dance to entice the female, with the sequence including a series of vibrations which create a low frequency sound, slapping of their snouts on the water and even blowing bubbles.
Forgoing their gentle and graceful demeanour to secure priority courting position, male giraffes fight one another by swinging their necks at each other, which can sometimes end in death. The male victor then prods the female’s buttocks, who will then spread her legs to urinate. The male sniffs and drinks her urine to see if she is ready to be mated.
The hippo wins the award for smelliest mating ritual as the male marks his territory by simultaneously urinating and defecating, which is followed by twirling its tail to spread the aromatic mess in every possible direction. Female hippos are attracted to this display and when matched up, the pair of hippos splash around in the water before settling in to get down to business.
Chimpanzees are performance artists when it comes to the mating ritual. The skin around a female chimp’s genitals becomes pink and swollen, which signal to males she is sexually ready. Both male and female chimps elicit sex; a female will push her swollen genitals right up in his face and the male will shake a tree branch or display his erect penis. Male chimps prefer older, more experienced females.
Courtship between tortoises begins with the male circling the female, nodding his head and biting at her legs and the edges of her carapace. He rams into her in an attempt to trap and mount her. The whole thing is a rather noisy affair, filled with the sounds of hissing, grunting and the male stomping his hind feet.
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