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ABQ BioPark’s Most Romantic Animal Pairs

Some of Zoo’s animals know how to turn up the heat.

Updated Jan. 23, 2020 - It may still be winter, but a few species at the ABQ BioPark really know how to turn up the heat when it comes to romance. Here’s a list of BioPark creatures with the most romantic mating rituals.

Stick Insect

Mating walking sticks, photo Judy Gallagher, flickr.

Photo: Judy Gallagher, Flickr

When a male stick insects finds a mate, he mounts her and stays attached for hours or even days while he does his job. Even when they finish breeding, he stays on her back for weeks.

King Penguin

King penguins courtship stock photo

Male king penguins work to attract a mate with their trumpet-like song. He’ll also display a variety of other courting behaviors like extending his head up and bowing in front of his special lady.

Panamanian golden frog


Photo: Brian Gratwicke

Most people enjoy being embraced by their partner, but the Panamanian golden frog takes embracing to the next level. Females listen for special mating calls from males—if she likes what she hears, she will let the male hitchhike on her back as she goes about her business. This is called amplexus (Latin for “embrace”). When she is ready to produce eggs, she’ll lay them in a string and her mate will fertilize them simultaneously.


Siamang couple

You’ll never hear a siamang call quite like that of the ABQ BioPark Zoo’s Brian and Johore. That’s because there really is no other song like it—each monogamous siamang gibbon pair has a unique duet. The two welcomed babies Tika in 2014 and Eerie in 2017.

Wrinkled hornbills

Wrinkled hornbill couple

The ABQ BioPark’s two wrinkled hornbills seem to enjoy each other’s company—they follow each other from branch to branch and even engage in a little flirtatious “bill slapping” (this is when the two birds gently “slap” bills with each other). The two even successfully bred in 2014, 2016 and 2017. This species has an interesting behavior when a female is pregnant, though—males “mud” the females into a hole in a tree and feed them through a slit.

Chinese alligator


Although usually solitary, both sexes come together to bellow choruses during mating season. These “songs” last about 10 minutes and are sung in unison.

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