In the Animal Kingdom, animal magnetism has evolved over time–shifting between monogamy and polygamy, to cheating and outright promiscuity–something humans have been wrestling with since walking erect.
Every animal species is wired to adapt, survive, and pass along the blood line, no matter what, and the behavior dynamics are fascinating to observe.
For instance, the primary male lion roams with a harem of ladies in his pride, but will momentarily pledge himself to the lioness who bears his cubs.
However, a rival male to the pride will kill his predecessor’s offspring to force the pride’s females into ovulation.
Male and female Grevy’s zebras live apart until food and water are plentiful. Female Grevy’s zebras are polyandrous and will breed with many different males in succession.
Male Grevy’s zebras establish territories that lie along paths to water, often intercepting an ovulating female while passing through. And then it’s on to the next.
African wild dogs live as a monogamous breeding pair supported by a small pack.
The litter of pups is first cared for by the alpha female and guarded by the alpha male…
who doles out hunting and caretaking responsibilities to subserviant wild dogs within the pack.
A dominant impala ram will manage a harem of 10 ewes and their lambs, keeping them in line with his constant braying, biting and boasting. Young bucks continually challenge the ram in charge, insuring ewes will always deliver the strongest gene pool…
thus providing a defense perimeter of plebes to discover danger from every direction.
Baboons run in troops ruled by social dominance. When it comes to mating, any male of the troop will accept any female’s offer should she present her swollen rump to his face; however, the social rankings between males will often lead to aggressive fighting.
Females are the primary caretakers of the young, although males on occasion will babysit to win a female’s affection.
Hippo bulls are polygamous by nature and insecure creatures by design. When the cows of the pod are fertile, the bull whips up a piss and dung cocktail that he atomizes with his propeller-like tail to capture their attention.
He will repeat this process until all the cows have been serviced. Should any of the offspring be male, the cow will protect it by hiding it near the fringe of the herd, lest it be killed by the bull.
Consequently, the bull fears his mature son will someday challenge him for control of the pod, and mate with his mother, creating a Freudian nightmare of hippo proportions.
Rival bulls that follow a female tower of giraffes will often “neck” together (spar with their necks) for the attention of a fertile cow.
The victor will smell her urine to determine her readiness, and court her by resting his chin on her back.
The females and their calves remain loyal to the tower, while the males move on, in search of long legs and firm hind quarters.
Ostriches have seemingly taken their cue from the Mormons, where the dominant and polygamous cock will mate with many hens, while the hens remain monogamous.
The flock of hens have their own pecking order. As one female emerges as the dominant majority hen, she uses the minority females’ eggs to ring around her eggs as an extra layer of protection.
Dominant kudu rams will keep company with three to five kudu ewes within a herd of females and their calves.
Usually the ram comes a-knocking when it’s time to mate. Otherwise, the ram is a solitary creature that enjoys alone time.
Male warthogs are not very selective. They will mate with any of their female counterparts wherever and whenever they may be found.
Maybe that’s why they are considered pigs.
Several cow crocs may reside within the dominant bull croc’s territory, and each one is fair game for mating. The bull courts his cow in an elaborate and sensual dance that is certain to win her scales and tail.
It so happens that bull crocodiles are always ready! They keep their ever-erect penis tucked inside their body waiting for the right moment when both bodies are properly aligned under water.
Dominant cape buffalo are distinguished by the thickness of their horns. They set the rules of their herd–
deciding whether to tolerate an overt act of copulation by a defiant subordinate bull, or keeping the cows in heat to himself by staving off all rival advances.
According to Kimberly Yavorski in “How do Elephants Mate?”:
“Elephants are social creatures and live in complex hierarchical communities. Each herd has one female that is the matriarch. She dictates where the herd goes and helps to teach the younger elephants proper behavior. Female elephants, or cows, live in multigenerational family groups with other females. Males stay with the family until they reach 12 to 15 years of age, when they leave the herd and live alone or join up with other bulls. Male and female elephants live separately with bulls only visiting when some of the females are in their mating season, known as estrus.”
“Elephants mature later than many other animals. Females reach sexual maturity at 10 to 12 years of age, males at around 25. A male doesn’t generally start breeding until age 30, when it has reached a sufficient weight and size to compete with other breeding males. At that point, it will start to seek out females in estrus.”
“Bulls enter a state called musth once a year, and older bulls tend to stay in musth longer than younger bulls, up to six months. During this period, they have increased levels of testosterone. They secrete a fluid from their temporal gland between the eye and ear and will actively seek a mate. Dominant males, which are older, tend to come into musth when a large number of females are in estrus, and the males exhibit physical behaviors, such as flapping their ears and rubbing their head on trees and bushes to disperse the musth scent. They also have a particular rumble, a low frequency vocal call, used to attract females who are also ready to mate. Females sometimes respond with their own call, indicating interest. While a cow can mate with any male, those in musth may be more attractive to females in estrus.”
“When a male approaches, a female in estrus may at first show wariness, but if she is interested, she will then leave the family group, walking with her head up and turned sideways to watch the male as he follows behind. The male may chase the female if she retreats and will chase off any other males. Elephants may stroke each other with their trunks before the male mounts the female from behind, standing almost vertically as they mate. Elephant sex lasts for up to two minutes and afterward, he will stay near the female and guard her from other males. Females may mate with more than one bull in each estrus cycle, which lasts up to 18 weeks. While elephants do not mate for life, a female may repeatedly choose to mate with the same bull, and bulls are sometimes seen being protective of females.”
“At 22 months, elephants have the distinction of having the longest gestation period of all animals and give birth to live young. Pregnancy almost always results in a single birth; twins are rare. When it is time to give birth, female elephants move away from the herd and then return to introduce the new member, who is inspected by each other member of the family. At birth, babies weigh 90 to 120 kg (198 to 265 pounds) and are typically around 3 feet tall. Baby elephants tend to be hairy, with a long tail and a short trunk that grows as its diet changes. Offspring are weaned at two years, though some may continue to nurse up to age six and a half. Because of this long gestation and nursing period, estrus cycles are between four and six years apart. On average, a female elephant will give birth to seven offspring in her lifetime.”