There are a lot of things that we can learn from animals - how they care for their young, how they ferociously guard their territories, and get this, monogamy. Yes, you heard that right. There are certain animals that mate for life. These creatures prove that indeed, one is enough!
What animals mate for life? Check out our top 15 list of loyal animals.
Top 15 animals that mate for life
What animal stays with its mate forever? Take a look at some of these cute animal couples that give off real relationship vibes.
These monogamous animals will teach you a thing or two about loyalty.
1. Macaroni penguin
What birds mate for life? Macaroni penguins are a great example. These birds dance when they see each other, called “an ecstatic display.”
They puff up their chests, swing their heads side to side, and make a gurgling-like sound. Once their baby is born, the father looks after the chick while the mother hunts for food.
2. Prairie voles
These tiny rodents are champion snugglers. Part of their secret to matrimonial bliss is rooted in oxytocin (the “love hormone”), but prairie vole partners also cooperate on things like building their nests, raising their babies, and more throughout their lives.
3. Bald eagles
According to the National Audubon Society, this national bird uses nest-building to solidify its bond with its mate.
Bald eagles stay hitched until death do they part, often returning year after year to the same nest. While there, the pair continuously adds to the structure, so that after many seasons it assumes gargantuan proportions and stands as a symbol of their fidelity.
What animal has the same mate for life? River otters are a good example. River otters in particular are known to be monogamous, and typically stay loyal to one partner during the course of their lives.
On top of their romantic commitments, mother otters also demonstrate their maternal superpowers by caring for 2 litters a year — that’s up to 12 otter pups, with just a 60-day gestation period.
Gibbons are the nearest relatives to humans that mate for life. They form extremely strong pair bonds and exhibit low sexual dimorphism, which means that males and females of the species are of roughly equal size, a testament to the fact that both sexes are on relatively equal footing.
The coupled male and female will spend time grooming each other and (literally) hanging out together in the trees.
But research has found that these unions are not quite as uncomplicated as once thought. With mates occasionally philandering, and even sometimes dumping a mate, the gibbon mating culture has started to look a little less idyllic.
6. Shingleback skink
Shingleback skinks (Tiliqua rugosus) roam solo much of the year, but hook up with the same partner each mating season. They often travel in pairs, with the male following the female.
Swans are universal for love that last a lifetime. Their heads come together to form a heart and their beauty is captivating.
The pair is loyal to each other and will only look for a possible new mate if one passes away. They are very protective of their territory and are quick to defend it.
Young albatrosses learn from older birds how to woo their mates using an elaborate system of preening, pointing, rattling, bowing, and other sweet dance moves.
After they learn advanced wooing, albatrosses may "dance" with many partners until they find the right one — but once they select that perfect mate, they are boo'd up for life.
According to PBS's NatureWorks, these rodents mate for life, only seeking out new partners if and when their first one passes away.
When a goose’s mate dies, that bird will mourn in seclusion—and some geese spend the rest of their lives as widows or widowers, refusing to mate again.
If a goose is sick or injured, his or her partner will often refuse to leave, even if winter is approaching and the others in the group are flying south.
11. French angelfish
You will hardly ever find a French angelfish alone. These creatures live, travel, and even hunt in pairs. The fish form monogamous bonds that often last as long as both individuals are alive. In fact, they act as a team to vigorously defend their territory against neighboring pairs.
Researchers have also observed pairs of these patterned fish traveling to the water’s surface to release their eggs and sperm together.
12. Gray wolf
The pairing of an alpha male and female establishes the social structure for the rest of a gray wolf (Canis lupus) pack. The mainly monogamous duo will breed once per year.
13. Barn owls
These fascinating birds find a partner and stay with them for life – on one condition. Barn owls sometimes “divorce” their partner if they are not producing enough offspring or chicks are not surviving.
Either partner may choose to leave to search for another partner. When a pair is making a lot of babies, the birds remain quite loyal—and that chick-making relationship only gets better with time because the two mate more often, potentially maximizing the size of the family long-term.
Termites are one of the most monogamous creatures on Earth. In fact, each termite colony is really just an enormous, complex family unit, more sophisticated than the families of any other animal.
When researchers from Ohio State University followed 236 coyotes in the Chicago area over a 6-year period, they found zero evidence of polygamy or of a mate ever leaving its partner while they were still alive.
The results of the study, published in a 2012 issue of the Journal of Mammalogy, concluded that:
"urban coyotes display no variability in their monogamous mating system."
Maybe humans can learn a thing or two from these animals that mate for life. What do you think, aren't these creatures adorable? Let us know in the comment section below.
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