Love is giving someone a bouquet of flowers. Love is building a home for your family. Love is doing a beautiful dance. And sometimes, love is simply staying together! Wild animals and humans both show love in a lot of different ways.
But is animal love the same as human love? The answer is a little tricky. Scientists have trouble figuring out how humans love each other, so trying to decide if animals feel love can be even harder. Check out these different ways animals might be showing love.
A gift of true love
Male field crickets may not give a bouquet of roses to their partners, but they do offer up one of their wings. She will eat the wing so she has strength to lay their eggs. Without his wing, he will never be able to sing again. Now if that isn’t love, what is?
Home sweet home
Male and female gray squirrels sleep in their own nests, but that doesn’t stop the males from taking care of their partners. He helps her build her nest first so it’s sturdy and warm for the winter and raising babies. Whether they are nesting in the branches or in a hole in the tree, the pair bring leaves and moss to create a soft and safe home. Male squirrels show love by taking care of their families.
Mating for life, or staying partners forever, is a good clue that two animals feel connected to each other. Even if they spend some time apart, they return to each other again and again. This can happen for an animal that lives for only a few years and for some that live to be more than 20 years old.
Bald eagles really know a thing or two about “falling in love.” Eagle pairs mate for life, and each year, they perform a special dance in the sky. The pair locks talons and spirals to the earth, letting go just in time to fly back up again. This annual trust exercise helps bond them together. Can you think of anyone you trust that much?
Sandhill crane pairs truly have love all figured out. They mate for life, and every year when spring arrives, they will dance and sing to each other in unison. Sometimes they will dance together in other seasons too. They just can’t get enough of their partner’s dance moves!
Love is in the air all year long, but remember it can look different for each individual pair, humans and animals alike! The next time you see animals together, try to see if they are in love or just friends. Or try giving your own love a cricket wing and see if they accept!
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