Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Wild Valentines

Posted by  //  February 10, 2021  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Animals prefer love on the wild side, making their intentions known in ways that clearly say, “BE MINE.”

Red foxes breed in late winter during which females are fertile for just 1-6 days.  It is the only time of year that males produce sperm.  Foxes may mate for life, choose new partners or breed promiscuously; regardless, the vixen selects only one male to help raise offspring.  Males sometimes spar as they collectively trail after one female until she settles on Mr. Right.  Once she does, the pair strengthens their bond, mate and selects a den site.  Foxes are notoriously vocal during mating season, expressing rapture with loud barks, yips, soft howls and hair-raising screams. 

Every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp-dressed man, and hooded merganser gals are no exception.  “Hoodies” are small diving ducks that nest around secluded ponds.  Their courtship rituals kick in over the winter when the flashy-feathered guys do their best to impress the more subtly dressed ladies.  Male hoodies sport chestnut flanks, bold black and white patterns, bright yellow eyes and an eye-catching circular white crest edged in black.  During dramatic courtship dances including wing-spreads and head bobbing, the fellas flare their magnificent crests and utter drawn out, frog-like croaks.  Who, I ask, could possibly resist?

Article & Photo by Margie Manthey

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