Lurve In The Animal Kingdom

D sent me this clip just this afternoon and I fell in love with the simple act of affection between these 2 sea otters at Vancouver Aquarium. (Click here for some facts on Sea Otters)

They just held each other’s paws as they napped on their backs and used their tails to steer in the waters. Towards the last couple of minutes of the clip, when the 2 otters were somewhat separated from each other, one of the otters continued to nap and was quite bochap (Singlish for “Can’t be bothered”). The other otter, having realised his/her partner was a lil’ distance away, steered towards him/her, raised its lil’ paw and connected with the other partner before they continued their lil’ quiet time together.

When I first saw the clip, I was like “OMG, D, they are so sweet. Reminds me of us when we sleep.” Heheh, D and I do have this habit of holding one another’s hands in bed before we slip into our respective dreamlands.

Obviously my first impression was that this is a couple, male and female, sharing their affection for one another. Howe easy it is to transfer human romanticism to animals.

D had mentioned that otters mate for life, and I did a little research on that.

From this website: “Sea otters are polygynous (i.e. male mates with more than one female in the mating season). Males will mate with females who wander into his territory or, if none are available, will go seeking for females in estrus.”

And according to this other website: “River otters usually mate for life”

But then again, the Animal Kingdom is so huge that even in the Otter family, there are many different breeds depending on the location. Hence even within the River Otter branch, there are those that mate for life and those that don’t.

So I became interested in which animals are monogamous, i.e. mate for life. However in the Animal Kingdom, mating for life doesn’t always mean staying faithful to your partner. This is where it gets a lil’ complicated, these animals definitely has a certain mate and most likely stay with that mate in the pack or nest, but could be “straying” elsewhere or perhaps due to sickness or other threats, would mate with another to ensure posterity in its pack.

Well, animals function on a different plane than humans, or maybe not that different afterall.

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