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On Valentine’s Day, lovers who are eager to woo their partners show their affection with traditional gifts of red roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, or with romantic dinners at fancy restaurants. There’s usually some effort involved, but pulling off a memorable Valentine’s Day is easier — and generally safer — than some of the courtship rituals performed by other animal species.

For most animals, wooing comes with heightened personal risk. A male’s showy displays, while attracting a female’s attention, could also attract nearby predators, and fights between male rivals can also result in a date night with a body count. In some cases, winning a cannibalistic female’s affections places the male at the top of the post-coital menu.

Many of the courting behaviors practiced by animals may seem strange to us, but as peculiar and risky as they are, they work just fine for their intended audiences. Here are a few examples of unusual and extreme courtship rituals in the animal kingdom. 

By Mindy Weisberger / Live Science

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