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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Take your partners for country dancing: Why animals have a spring in their step

Putting up a fight: The youngster, left, looks nervously on as his mother rises to do battle with the stag, right

It seems that everyone, and thing, has a spring in their step at this time of year.

As two red deer rear up on to their hind legs for their own version of the foxtrot, a hare and his mate show their contemporary routine has come on leaps and bounds.

But while it may appear these playful pairs are dancing with delight in the sunshine, there is more to their movements than meets the eye.

The doe and stag are exchanging blows rather than sweet nothings as the mother tries to protect her young calf, who looks on nervously at an RSPB reserve in Minsmere, Suffolk.

Boxing matches are usually only held to settle disputes between female deer, but this stag challenged the doe after she chased him away from her youngster. He may have regretted getting confrontational after the feisty female delivered a shower of blows that forced him to back down.

Two to tango: The female hare, left, backs away...

Photographer Paul Sawer, 39, from Saxmundham, Suffolk, said: ‘The stag didn’t trouble the hind any more so I presume her reaction to him was quickly understood.’

Meanwhile, the female hare is playing hard to get as her admirer tries to win her affections in Eccles Tofts in the Scottish Borders.

...so her suitor tries his best moves...

...but she will go to great heights just to get him off her tail

She leaps up and down and from side to side to evade his advances – before becoming impressed enough with his fancy footwork to settle down beside him in the grass.

Photographer Ron McCombe, 57, from Leitholm, Berwickshire, said: ‘This is part of the mating ritual. It’s a rare occurrence to get this close to them and get the action shots.’

source: dailymail


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