For Valentine's Day, Animals Share Tales of Love, Affection and Romance

In honor of Valentine’s Day, members of the animal kingdom were kind enough to recount their own stories* of parenthood, breakups, dating and marriage.

In our special love-themed gallery, you’ll meet Henry and Belinda, a cheetah couple who met while speed dating, as well as chimpanzees Burt and Mary, who seem to have all the answers to maintaining a perfect marriage. And, of course, there’s Matilda, a mother koala who isn’t ready for her young son to grow up.  

Animal Love Stories

Koalas hugging

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Matilda never wants her joey, Benjamin, to leave her pouch. What will she do without him? She’s not ready to be an empty nester.

Benjamin thinks he has outgrown his mother’s pouch but doesn’t have the heart to tell her. He truly loves his mom and, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, will let her hug him as much as she wants.

Cheetahs kissing

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Henry was reluctant to try speed dating, but after a breakup with his girlfriend of five years, the heartbroken fella knew he needed to get back in the field. Speed dating seemed like the quickest and most practical way to do it.

Well, it worked. On the fifth date he met Belinda, an accomplished huntress with a passion for traveling, exotic foods and running.

They’re expecting their first litter in May.

Cows kissing

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Mark and Diane met by chance at the coffee shop one September afternoon, when their dairy allergies caused them to order the exact same iced half-caff venti four-pump sugar-free cinnamon soy latte — and they both reached for the same cup.

These days, they’ve perfected a way to make their favorite coffee concoction at home, and Mark always has one ready for Diane when she gets home from her Saturday morning spinning class.

Meerkats cuddling

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This meerkat trio has never known an ounce of sibling rivalry. Big brother Langston always looks out for his younger twin sisters, Liesl and Lola — especially when the colony’s resident bully, Brutus, torments them at school.

Liesl and Lola aren’t sure what they’ll do when their brother goes to high school next year, but Langston has already enlisted the help of some neighborhood meerkats to make sure Brutus gets a locker full of sand if he messes with the twins ever again.

Chimpanzees hugging

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Burt and Mary have been going strong for 10 years. The secret to their happy marriage? Never going to bed angry, date nights once a week and being there for each other no matter what.

As if that weren’t enough, they also can’t get enough of each other’s in-laws, have three straight-A chimps who never act out and share household chores and child rearing 50/50.

Raccoons hugging

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Kathleen and Joe struck up an online relationship via email back in the late '90s, but an unexpected twist of fate threatened to break them apart. Kathleen, the owner of a struggling, family-owned bookstore, confided in Joe about her constant battle with the management of the big-box bookstore opening in her neighborhood, not realizing that Joe was, in fact, said management.

After many back-and-forth emails, Joe ("NY152") and Kathleen ("Shopgirl") finally agreed to meet. And, well, you know what happens next.

Horses hugging

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Fate brought these two lovebirds together. One gorgeous spring day in 2012, Jane was on a trail ride with a human woman riding on her back when a young stallion named Danny saddled up beside her with a human man on his back.

The two humans hit it off right away and practically rode off into the sunset together. And soon enough, Jane and Danny were spending almost every weekend together while the humans fawned all over each other.

Before they knew it, Danny and Jane began fawning all over each other, too.

Otters hugging

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Alice knew Kevin was the one when they spotted each other from across the room at Rivercreek Bar and Grille.

“You are otterly beautiful,” Kevin whispered in her ear and offered to buy her a drink.

Not one to be coy, she responded: “I would love one. We otter get to know each other.”

The rest is history.

Elephants kissing

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Syd and Magda celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last month with a lovely night of dinner and dancing to the best big-band ensemble in West Palm Beach. Magda insists that Syd’s ears have grown at least an inch every year they’ve been married, but Syd says it isn’t so. They plan to celebrate their 60th anniversary by going on a photo safari in Africa.

*All names, relationships and stories are entirely fictional. You know, in case you were wondering how raccoons got access to email or what coffee shop catered to cows.

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