Dec 4

Looking for inspirational gift ideas this festive season? From tasty treats to decorations for the home, the animal kingdom is packed full of thoughtful gift-givers…

Bee mine

Photo of a European bee-eater offering prey as a courtship gift

The male European bee-eater knows the way to a female’s heart – insects! Throughout the courtship and egg laying period, the male European bee-eater supplies the female with insects such as honey bees. Tasty treats are always a good gift idea!

Mud spa retreat

Common warthog photo

One of the characteristic features of the distinctive common warthog, as well as its two curved tusks and long dark mane, is that it likes to wallow in mud, largely to keep cool. A nice trip to the spa for a relaxing mud facial is a great idea for people too!

Gifts for the home

Male gentoo penguin presenting stone 'gift' to incubating female

Gentoo penguins often form long lasting pair bonds, returning to the previous year’s nest and being loyal to their breeding partner. The pair build a stone nest in which to lay the eggs, and here you can see the male bringing stones for the incubating female. It’s always nice to receive something for the home!

Cosmetic monkey

Golden snub-nosed monkey photo

The interesting looking golden snub-nosed monkey is a species found only in China, and has a fascinating appearance, with bright golden hair (hence its name), a flattened nose, and a blue face. Why not give someone a new make-up set this Christmas so they can look like this marvellous monkey?

Care for a bite?

Male nursery-web spider presenting gift to female

Some male insects, such as this nursery-web spider, give the female a nuptial gift, in this case an insect wrapped in silk. Gruesomely, this was thought to protect the male from becoming the female’s next meal; however it is now known to just be a way of enticing the female to mate. The larger the gift he brings, the longer she will mate with him. Goes to show, sometimes not all the best gifts come in small packages!

Old fashioned okapis

Okapi photo

The okapi is a fascinating looking animal, with zebra like stripes. It is actually closely related to the giraffe, and possesses a relatively long neck. Looking at its lower limbs, you would think it was wearing nice white socks - a nice old fashioned gift idea!

Tasty treats

Chimpanzee photo

Chimpanzees are highly social animals, being well known for their high level of intelligence. While they feed mainly on fruit, they are also known to hunt in groups for meat. Males will sometimes give a females meat as a gift to increase tthe chances of reproducing. How could you resist that?

Playful kids

Black rhinoceros photo

The long-lived black rhinoceros female will give birth every two to four years, to just a single calf. It seems that, with no siblings around to play with, this youngster has found another way to keep itself entertained - a stick! It’s always important to find ways of keeping the kids entertained during the festive season, but this just shows that its not always the most ellaborate of toys that are required.

Shake your tail feathers

Raggiana bird of paradise male displaying to female on branch

Sometimes the most thoughtful gifts cost nothing. That’s certainly what the male raggiana bird of paradise seems to think, opting for a nice display rather than an extravagant gift. The male claps his wings and shake his head in an attempt to impress the female.

Just there is great!

Dominant male olive baboon groomed by subordinant male

Many species, including the olive baboon, will groom other members of the species. This allogrooming is often a great way of reinforcing social structures and dominance hierarchy’s, but can also help with bonding and reconciliation between members of a group. So how about giving something simple like a nice back rub this year?

Rebecca Taylor, ARKive Media Researcher

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