Looking for love: 12 animals that mate for life

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    Looking for love: 12 animals that mate for life

    This Valentine's Day, monogamy isn’t just for humans. From termites to bald eagles, check out the animals that search for their one true love.

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    Looking for love -



    By Jessica Dukes

    This Valentine's Day, love is in the air! And especially so for these members of the animal kingdom. Monogamy in the animal kingdom is rare — around 5% — but there are still a lot of creatures looking for the perfect mate. Sure, many of these animal couples are known to cheat and even break up, but for the most part, they agree that staying together through good times and bad is worth it.

    Bald eagles

    Our nation’s national symbol has a far lower divorce rate than its citizens. Bald eagles mate for life, and they only stray if their partner dies or is infertile.

    Gary Cameron / Reuters
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    Picking penguins -

    Serial monogamy counts as monogamy, right? Among the many types of penguins, those with the shortest breeding seasons tend to stay together the longest, sometimes for life. Others, like the emperor penguin, usually switch partners every year. Good thing penguins don't get jealous!

    Stringer / Reuters
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    Touching termites -

    A termite queen will choose one king to mate with for life. Luckily for him, unlike an ant king, termite kings don’t die after mating. A whole termite colony, therefore, is the queen, king and their thousands of children.

    China Photos / Getty Images
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    Sweet shingleback skinks -

    Males can spend months courting a gal, but once they mate, they’re bonded for approximately the next 20 years. When one of them passes away, the partner is known to stand watch over the body, grooming them and generally looking sad.

    Virginia Star / Getty Images/Flickr RM
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    Bonded barn owls -

    The male barn owl can come off like a drunk frat boy during his first attempts to mate with a female, but once he’s successful, he sticks by her for life.

    Joel Saget / AFP/Getty Images
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    Paired prairie voles -

    Prairie Voles are the most loyal critters on this list. They stay with the first partner they mate with, and if their mate dies, they refuse to re-bond. That’s commitment!

    Todd Ahern / ASSOCIATED PRESS
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    Fearless French angelfish -

    Once a pair of French angelfish mate and establish their territory, watch out. This power couple constantly works together to defend their turf and their kids.

    David J. Phillip / AP
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    Familiar friend -

    Of every animal on this list, gibbons are the closest human relative. Like us, they take care of each other physically, and they like to hang out with each other socially. Unfortunately, they also sometimes cheat, break up, make up and divorce.

    Matt Rourke / AP
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    Bustling beavers -

    Beaver mom and dads are extremely practical. They work hard and stay together for the kids, which they raise together. When junior leaves the dam at age 2, they start over. No wonder they’re so busy!

    Allison Shelley / Getty Images
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    Albatross adoration -

    Have you ever seen an albatross mating dance? It’s kind of funky…and noisy. But once an albatross has danced and sung its way into a relationship, that’s it. Even though they cross oceans, they always return to the same dance floor—and partner—when it’s time to breed.

    Dean Lewins / EPA
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    Wolf pack -

    A wolf can live up to 12 years, so mating for life really means something—especially for alpha wolves. Unlike the prairie vole, they will seek out a second love if their first one dies. Having a nuclear family is everything to a wolf.

    Carsten Rehder / AFP - Getty Images
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    Symbolic swans -

    Maybe it’s their lifetime of loyalty. Maybe it’s the way they can bend their heads toward each other, forming a beautiful heart-shaped postcard. It’s no wonder that these graceful and beautiful birds are a universal symbol of love.

    Don Emmert / AFP - Getty Images
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