Dancing isn’t just limited to the nightclub or the dodgy disco – animals like strutting their stuff too. In the wild, a good dancer often gets the girl – while some use their fancy footwork to communicate, or even hypnotise their enemies. These beasties like to boogie – and they boogie well.Share
SHOW ME THE HONEY – DANCING HONEYBEES
One animal that loves to perform interpretive dance is your average honeybee – in fact, for them, it’s a way of life. When one bee finds a new source of food, it will return to the hive and perform a unique dance to communicate the route to its family and friends! This bizarre form of communication also allows them to decide on where to build new hives.
PLUMED PIROUETTE – THE WHOOPING CRANE
While the endangered whooping crane is one of many birds that dances to attract a mate, it’s also one of very few animals that actually does it for fun! It’s said that a dancing crane is a confident one, and with its wild leg-kicks, bobs and weaves, they really need to know what they’re doing to avoid injury! These natural dancers have been copied by tribes and choreographers the world over.
DEEP DISCO – THE CUTTLEFISH
While mating dances are a popular ritual in the bird and insect world, the sea-strutting cuttlefish is perhaps a minority in their colourful, flailing displays. There certainly isn’t a fish that can adjust the colouring of its skin so vividly, even while putting on a fluttering to-and-fro with its tentacles. The male actually changes its skin pattern to inform females that he’s of the opposite gender!
DANCING HYPNOTIST – THE STOAT
Stoats and weasels are ruthless killing machines – most likely to take out a rabbit without a second thought – but, bizarrely, they’re also known for pulling off a bizarre series of breakdancing moves that have to be seen to be believed. As shown in the video, a stoat will pounce, bounce and spin on its back (and even its head) purely to hypnotise its much larger prey – getting it so captivated in its performance that the crafty predator will take it unawares!Share
WEEDING PARTY – THE GREAT CRESTED GREBE
The great-crested grebe is an aquatic bird that will pair up with another to perform an amazingly choreographed courtship dance that is less about attraction and more about commitment! A grebe couple will mirror each others ducking, weaving and preening on the water with perfect timing – before finishing off the display with a final movement where each bird will duck into the water to retrieve each other a gift – usually a weed or other piece of nest material.
ON THE GLOW – THE WHITE’S SEAHORSE
This rare breed of seahorse, only found in Australian waters, adds something extra special to its mating dance. While a pair of seahorses will twirl and mimic with brilliant timing and ease, they will know the ritual is at an end when one or both start to glow a completely different colour! A pale fish will soon glow a brilliant yellow if the dance has been successful – sometimes it’s good to get obvious signals!
WEST SIDE SSSTORY – THE RATTLESNAKE
Already a rather musical beast on account of its natural maracas, the rattlesnake’s dance might look like it’s a mating ritual – but unlike most of the animals in this article, the snake will dance to impose! Two male snakes will square up, lean against each other, mimic, and generally show a bit of bravado before one slithers away, knowing he’s been beaten. The victor gets a mate – female rattlesnakes love the best dancers!
THE ARACHNID ASTAIRE – THE JUMPING SPIDER
Whilst well known for being a spring-heeled champion of the spider world, the jumping spider is also incredibly smart, has incredible eyesight and performs complex courtship dances. Indeed these colourful crawlers happily bust a wide variety of ‘tap dancing moves’ in order to attract a mate – its choreography and timing putting it up there with the tap-dancing greats!
BLAME IT ON THE BIRDIE – THE MANAKIN BIRD
The Manakin’s crazy tree-dancing skills have become something of a hit on the Internet (watch video below) – as its nimble backwards and sideways shuffles looks to copy Michael Jackson’s legendary moonwalk dancing! This is actually part of a mating ritual – and if it has humans this impressed, it’ll be a sure fire hit with other Manakins!