Feb 14

What will you be doing to impress your loved one this Valentine’s Day? Are chocolates and flowers too cliché? Are all the good restaurants fully booked? Is the whole event just too commercial? If you are short of ideas then fear not! Here at ARKive we’ve dug up some of the most weird and wonderful romantic strategies from the natural world for a little inspiration…

Shot by cupid’s arrow (sort of)

If you are struggling to win the affections of your sweetheart, you might like to consider the strategy of the long-tailed ‘ninja’ slug. Slugs are hermaphrodites, possessing both male and female reproductive organs, and when it comes to finding a partner these slugs will fire harpoon-like ‘love darts’ at each other – who needs cupid?

Long-tailed slug photo

An adrenaline-fuelled date

If dates are starting to feel a little too tame, why not spice things up by trying out some action-packed extreme sports together? Bald eagles reinforce the bond with their mate by undertaking spectacular, acrobatic flight displays that include the pair flying to a great height, locking the talons, and cartwheeling towards the ground, only breaking off at the last moment. Unleash your inner thrill seeker!

Bald eagle photo

You smell divine!

When it comes to impressing a partner we all know the importance of smelling your best, and huge amounts of money are spent on perfumes and aftershaves each year. However, some of our counterparts in the animal kingdom take things a step further. For example, during the breeding season the male moose wallows in urine-soaked mud in order to attract females. A word of warning though, we’re not sure this strategy will work for everyone…

Moose photo

Dress to impress

A stylish outfit is a sure way to catch the eye of that special person in your life. If you need some fashion inspiration, look no further than the magnificent frigatebird. The male has a bare patch of skin on his neck which can be inflated into a bright red balloon to impress the ladies during the breeding season. Accessorise to stand out from the crowd!

Magnificent frigatebird photo

Win her over with a rock

If you really want to dazzle this Valentine’s day, you could try presenting your significant other with a big shiny rock. After all, we all know the saying, diamonds really are a girl’s best friend. This male gentoo penguin seems to have the right idea and doubtless his offering will be a fine addition to the nest, but we think your human couterpart might have something a little more sparkly in mind.

Gentoo penguin photo

And if all else fails

If romance is still evading you, or all of this sounds a little too much like hard work, why not take a leaf out of the Brahminy blind snake’s book and embrace single life? The Brahminy blind snake is one of only a few snake species known to reproduce through parthenogenesis, a process where the female lays unfertilised eggs which hatch into a new generation of females without the need for a mate!

Brahminy blind snake photo

Don’t forget, this Valentine’s Day we are asking you to share your love for the world’s endangered animals and plants with our #LoveSpecies campaign. Tweet us your favourite species and tell us why you love it. It’s easy to join in:

  • Follow @arkive on Twitter
  • Explore over 15,000 species on ARKive to find your favourite
  • Tweet about the species you love and tell us why using the #LoveSpecies tag
  • Is it the cutest or creepiest? Does it make you smile? Be informative, funny or plain outrageous!! Get involved and tweet now!

Claire Lewis, ARKive Researcher