A new BBC show called Animals Behaving Badly is highlighting some of the cheeky things animals get up to when caught on camera.
The series began last night on BBC One at 8pm UK time, looking into how some animals have peculiar mating habits. This included mongooses who start wars to pick a partner, with the female leading her troop into battle before sneaking off when she finds a suitable male mate.
Barbary macaques in Gibraltar, meanwhile, employ kidnapping. When two males fight over a potential mate, the loser presents the victor with a kidnapped baby monkey, which they bond over. The baby is later returned to the mother.
“Anyone who saw this would think Barbary macaques are some of the most evil characters, stealing a baby for no purpose,” wildlife and science presenter Liz Bonnin told the Daily Mirror.
“It is one of the strangest peace offerings I have witnessed in the animal kingdom and I have no idea how this olive branch evolved, but it works and is incredibly important for their society.”
Then there were prairie dogs, which were shown to change partners up to six times in just six hours. This is because these hours are the only time a female is fertile in an entire year, so they increase their chance of conceiving and encourage genetic diversity. Some are less promiscuous, though.
Peacocks are also pretty sneaky, with males unable to mate faking a squawk, which attracts females who think the male has climaxed while mating. Long-tailed manakins are a bit more honest, working in pairs to perform a dance to attract a mate – although only one actually gets to do the deed, while the other misses out.
Things get a bit more violent with Dawson’s burrowing bees. Females only mate once, and spend most of their time hidden underground. But when they emerge, a swarm of male bees fight it out to be her sole partner, with the battle sometimes killing the female by accident.
And finally, there’s the praying mantis. When the female has finished having sex with a partner for about 40 hours, she often eats the male to improve the quality of her hundreds of eggs. She does this by, well, beheading them. Yikes.
Animals Behaving Badly airs every Wednesday at 8pm on BBC One, and you can also catch it on the BBC iPlayer if you missed out.