This Valentine’s Day, pour a glass of wine, cue up the Michael Bublé, and get ready to read about animal relationships that will make you believe in love. The committed animal couples listed below tend to stick together for life.
Here are some amorous animal couples
There’s a reason why one relationship guide is called Make Love Like a Prairie Vole. These tiny rodents are champion snugglers. Part of their secret to matrimonial bliss is rooted in oxytocin (the “love hormone”), but prairie vole partners also cooperate on things like building their nests, raising their babies, and more throughout their lives.
©Arco Images GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo
Geese take “in sickness and in health” seriously. If a goose is sick or injured, his or her partner will often refuse to leave, even if winter is approaching and the others in the group are flying south. When a goose’s mate dies, that bird will mourn in seclusion—and some geese spend the rest of their lives as widows or widowers, refusing to mate again. This enduring bond was evident in a series of photos that went viral of a male goose in China telling his mate goodbye as she was being loaded onto a motorcycle to be taken to slaughter.
It takes a village to raise a child, which is why these awe-inspiring animals don’t just stay with their partners for life—they stay with the whole family. Gray wolf packs keep close together, and everyone pitches in.
Many bird species mate for life, including sandhill cranes. You might get a goodnight heart-kiss emoji from your S.O., but these pairs profess their love for each other to the world by making sweet calls in unison.
Crows look for that one special bird they can stay with for life, and some lucky crow couples spend decades together. Babies live with their parents for about seven years, and older birds in the family help the parents with childcare. Crow families also work together to build their nests, but smart males know to let the females have the final say.
After about two years of living with mom and dad, eager beavers start looking to move out and find their own spouses (although they remain tight with their folks). Beaver couples enjoy up to 20 years of marital bliss. Dam!
Do you two like to spend your anniversary going dancing? So do laysan albatrosses. These faithful pairs solidify their bond annually by dancing together.
Gentle and cooperative, many species of marmosets live with their partners in tight-knit family groups that span three generations. Parents get some time for themselves by enlisting the older offspring to help with their siblings.
During California condor courtships, the birds shop for houses, flying around together searching for the perfect spot to build their love nest. But the females get the final say in all home-acquiring decisions.
Coyotes are among the most faithful of all species. National Geographic reported on the results of a coyote-fidelity study, concluding that “these canine cousins are loyal to their mates and never stray. Not ever. . . . These canids are remaining faithful both in good times and bad.”
Macaroni Penguins (also called “Royal Penguins”)
Many species of penguins mate for life. Do you get a hug after you and your beloved have been apart for a while? Macaroni penguins have you beat: These lovebirds dance when they see each other in an aptly named “ecstatic display.”
We humans might do well to model our relationships after mute swans. Their “divorce” rate stays low, at around 12%.
When you brush the hair out of your sweetie’s face or pull a loose string off of his shirt, you’re acting like scarlet macaws. These often-photographed birds like to look their best, so spouses help preen each other.
We all know that relationships can be challenging from time to time. Gibbons like to mate for life, but they have been known to cheat, break up, and remarry. Grooming each other and sharing childcare responsibilities help these couples make it work.
Whooping cranes really take a leap of faith. The tallest birds in North America also perform some of the most intricate dances for their partners, including jumping and bouncing.
Atlantic puffin dads help their gals incubate the couple’s eggs. But what we love most about them is that committed couples rub their beaks together in a display of affection.
Seahorse singles flirt with each other and intertwine their tails. Once they’ve found their lifelong mate, it’s the males who carry and give birth to the babies.
Black vultures’ love language seems to be “quality time.” These pairs like to hang out with each other as much as possible year-round.
These lizards’ long-lasting relationships can span two decades. Males often caress the females, and couples like to walk close beside each other.
This symbol of the U.S. is also a symbol for lasting love, as pairs mate for life unless one of them dies. During courtship, bald eagles lock talons, somewhat like holding hands, before flipping and spinning through the sky together.
Barn owls seem to have two love languages: “words of affirmation” and “receiving gifts.” Males and females make special sounds to one another to indicate their interest, and male suitors bring the females presents.
© iStock.com/John Carnemolla
Inspired by These Animals Who Mate for Life?
If you’re feeling inspired by these committed animal relationships, help keep loving couples and families together by taking actions for animals that can make the most difference right now: