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How males trick females!

No. We are not trying to lure you in with a tricky headline! Among Topi antelopes that live on the savannahs of Africa, Dr. Jakob Bro Jorgensen of the University of Liverpool, UK, found this interesting behaviour.

As the savannah gives little space to hide for the predators like lions, leopards and cheetahs, they have to resort to surprising sneaking attacks to ensure they are not hungry. On the other hand, the antelopes have a clear view of the area and can see the hiding predators easily and give out a snort to warn other animals to escape. It might also alert the predator that their game is up, and they can either attack or lose.

Other antelopes have learnt to decipher this snort as a warning signal and flee from the scene. Now the tricky part is when the mating season comes up. The female antelopes are only fertile for one day, and the males compete to mate. A fertile female will mate as many as 11 times with around 4 males on that day to increase her chances.

Though the courtship is two months. The male defends his territory by strutting ‘stuff’ and displaying the enormous dung piles to the females. It all comes to the competition on that one day. That is when the fake snort comes into the picture.

On the day of mating, the male resorts to making a fake snorting sound to send the other males running and defending his female. These lying snorts might help in reducing the number of males the female mates with. Research shows that this increases the chances of the male by three extra sessions than when they do not use the lying snort.

Intelligent chaps these topi antelopes are! Aren’t they?

As we evolve as humans, we tend to learn some tricks and tips that we pass on to the next generation and use them to survive better. In nature too, we find many such instances where nature evolves to meet the needs of the day.

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