Behaviour Psychology

Animals who mate for life

It’s not only humans that are monogamous. There are lots of creatures in the animal world who mate for life – from Gibbons to Termites.

It’s not only humans that are monogamous. There are lots of creatures in the animal world who mate for life.

Some animals have been found to pine and die shortly after a death of a mate, which although sad, shows animals can love each other.

Here is a list of 10 animals who manage a monogamous relationship which many humans find impossible:

  1. Gibbons – These are reportedly the closest primate to humans and studies have proven that the relationship with their mates is also very similar to ours. Gibbons will sit for hours grooming each other (the equivalent to humans sitting on the sofa holding hands), and an established pair will remain faithful to each other for life.
  2. Swans – Often found swimming in pairs, occasionally with several babies in tow, swans have been used to symbolise romance and love on many valentine cards. However romance is not necessarily the reason swans mate for life. It might be a simple case of survival as they share the work of raising their young. The male can look for food whilst the female keeps the eggs and subsequently the chicks safe from predators.
  3. Black Vultures – A look that only a mother can love, or maybe another Black Vulture. There is a strong social structure within the Black Vulture community and any philandering by one of an established pair is swiftly dealt with by others in the group.
  4. French Angelfish – These beautiful creatures, once bonded, are rarely out of sight from one another and will feed, swim and hunt for food in their pairs. Although they are faithful to each other, they are not sociable and will not tolerate other pairs in their territory.
  5. Wolves – Contrary to popular believe a pack of wolves is not a random number of males and females, but a family of mother father and children. As they cubs grow, they too find their own mate for life and move on to form another pack. Packs can live quite closely to each other but do not form a firm bond, much like humans and their neighbours.
  6. Albatross – These birds do not live together, known to fly great distances, once they have bonded with a mate, they will always return to that same mate when it is time to breed. They are famed for their mating dance which is performed each time the pair are reunited.
  7. Termites – Who would have thought it? But this isn’t a warm romantic relationship, some species die shortly after mating, making the lifetime relationship very short indeed.
  8. Prairie Voles – Are the champions of the equal partner relationship. Sharing everything from child rearing to building a nest and hunting, prairie voles work together for the good of the family.
  9. Turtle Doves – Made famous by Shakespeare and are an emblem of love and romance which is celebrated every Christmas; Turtle Doves, once paired will rarely be seen alone.
  10. Bald Eagles – These birds remain monogamous for life but will take another partner if one dies. Even impotency will result in the female looking elsewhere.

This is not a comprehensive list of animals who mate for life, but it gives you an indication animals can be monogamous.

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