Lovesick Mammals

It is fitting that Valentine's Day, the annual, commercialized celebration of romance, occurs in mid February.  After all, this is the time of year when many mammals roam about in search of mates, ensuring that their young will be born in spring or early summer, when conditions will favor their survival.

Raccoons, opossums, skunks and various mustelids are among the suitors and the increase in their roadside carcasses bears witness to the focused nature of their activity.  Fortunately, many will survive our concrete ribbons of death and their next generation will be conceived.  Of course, as with the human species, it is the female that accepts or rejects the determined male suitor, swayed by whatever traits she might find appealing.

Unlike humans, our wild neighbors need not demonstrate their love with flowers, candy or diamonds.  Since most are not monogamous, neither do they carry the burden of conflicts that may have tainted the intervening months.  Driven only by instinct, these lovesick wanderers can zero in on their target, free of regret, insecurity and the fear of rejection.