Despite what Phoebe told Ross on Friends, lobsters don’t actually mate for life. But even though lobsters don’t, there are some creatures that really do favour monogamy, preferring to stick to one partner for the long haul. Here are seven of them.
These national symbols of Canada are generally monogamous and mate for life; they’ll only find a new mate if their partner dies. They share duties in raising their offspring as well as maintaining their dam and lodge, and once those kits (baby beavers) reach their third year, they themselves will go off and find a beaver mate of their own. Ain’t the cycle of life sweet?
Like beavers, Canada geese raise and protect their young as a duo. They are also extremely devoted to each other and protect one another throughout their lives; if one is injured or dying, the other will stay by its partner’s side, even if the rest of the flock has moved on. The widowed goose may even isolate itself while it’s in mourning. (However, if one dies, the surviving goose may eventually find a new mate.)
Wolves travel in packs, and usually it’s only the alpha male and alpha female who mate. The alpha male is generally monogamous, and both alphas share dominance over the pack. They can be very cute when they are in the courtship phase: they bond by touching noses and walking and sleeping close together. The male may even bow to the female and flirt by putting his legs over her neck.
A popular symbol for romance—can’t you just see their necks forming the shape of a heart together?—swans are famous for being monogamous birds. Many pairs do bond for life, but sometimes swan couples end up “divorcing” when they find they are unable to breed with each other any longer, since procreating is the main reason why they’re together. Divorced couples can still remain on good terms with each other, though—some continue to live close to each other, even with their new partners.
You probably wouldn’t guess that these insects are one of the most monogamous creatures on the planet, but they remain faithful to each other only after a sometimes violent honeymoon process where each partner makes sure it has chosen the best possible mate. A colony is actually a very complex family unit with a female queen and a male king producing a whole kingdom of termites. Each year the queen will produce a batch of male and female breeders with wings that will fly away to form homes and colonies of their own.
When barn owls pick partners, they usually last until death do them part. But like swans, they can sometimes divorce if there are breeding problems between them since they don’t like to cheat on their mates. Males court females by showing off how well they can fly and by making loud noises to indicate good nesting spots. After a male has won over a female, he’ll bring her large amounts of prey to eat—now that’s treating your partner right!
Not only are they adorable to look at, prairie voles act as true partners after they mate: they raise their pups together, groom each other, and generally just spend a lot of time with one another. If the female dies, the male doesn’t go looking for a new partner.