Happy Valentines Day from Mulligans Flat! Love is always in the air for someone at the sanctuary. To celebrate, we bring you some of the romantics that go above and beyond for love and courtship:
The only true ‘love train’.
Towards the end of winter, Echidnas come out of hibernation in preparation for breeding. During this time, you might see multiple males following one female. This bizarre behaviour, also known as an ‘Echidna train’, is like a season of ‘the Bachelorette’. The female and her potential mates will wander through the bush together, feeding and sleeping. The males then drop off one by one until the lucky last (is given the final red rose) is chosen.
The Peacock Spider
Dance or die.
Male peacock spiders bust out delicious dance moves and slap on hypnotising garb to impress a gal. Like its namesake, the peacock, it has an iridescent backside that sparkles in hues of deep turquoise, reds and greens.
However, because it only lives for one year, it spends the majority of life dressed in dull tones of brown. It’s not until the weather warms up in Spring, that it molts its last exoskeleton and reveals its dazzling new outfit – ready for a night of disco fever in the woodlands of Mulligans Flat.
Presenting its choreographed masterpiece to a female spider, the male waits eagerly to see what she thinks. If she is impressed by what she sees, and hasn’t already mated, she may choose this John Travolta of the spider world. If she decides he’s not the one, and is feeling peckish, she might decide to eat him instead.
The Shingleback Lizard
Independent soul mates.
The heavily armoured shingleback lizard is an unexpected romantic, and unlike most reptiles, will mate for life. At the same time they value their independence and spend most of the year apart hibernating and finding themselves.
During the mating season Shinglebacks travel far across the sanctuary to find each other again, rekindle their flame and catch up on the year. These soulmates are so hopelessly devoted that when one of them dies, the other will stay by their side and mourn for up three days.
We wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day and we hope your love lives are less dramatic than these critters!