The Mating Game – 17 October 2021 – BBC One

Jungles: In the Thick of It – Series 1 Episode 3 of 5 – Jungles and rainforests are home to 80 per cent of all species on earth, but they cover just 2 per cent of our planet’s surface. To win the mating game here, you need to be able to stand out from the crowd. For some it’s all about putting on a show, whereas others must fight for their chance of victory. And for a few creatures, working together is the key.

Chimpanzees are notorious for their brutality and violence, and for most this is the simplest way to secure a mate. Dominant males can fight off rivals and impress the ladies. But for one younger male, forging long-lasting relationships through care and attention has proved to be an incredibly fruitful method of currying favour with the female chimps.

The abundance of food in the jungle means that many species can focus much of their attention on breeding. In Papua New Guinea, a MacGregor’s bowerbird has spent his life collecting sounds and building a castle, all in the hope of attracting a partner. And for the first time ever in the wild, the courtship display of the great argus pheasant is laid bare for all to see.

Whilst some animals might prefer a more subtle approach to mating, one jungle creature has his desire to breed written all over his face. A mandrill, the largest and heaviest monkey in the world, wears his blue and red face like a badge of honour. Only the strongest males can wear such bright colours, so he’s hoping that his face alone will be enough to warn off any rivals to his throne.

When it comes to winning the mating game, a potential player can’t afford to lose his head. Unless, that is, his intended partner is a cannibalistic mantis. Sometimes, giving everything is the only way to win. Whatever the strategy, when it comes to mating in the jungle, there are few taboos.

About The Mating Game

Natural history series.

This show is broadcast on BBC, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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