“I wanna be alone..” insisted Greta Garbo. Although many creatures, including us, opt for social interaction, there are some who shun the company of others and are determined to go it alone.
Maybe it’s the rather odd looks of the duck billed platypus that make it a loner. Rather than searching for pals, the platypus prefers to throw its energies into searching for its prey – small bottom dwelling crustaceans. It builds itself a burrow for one and passes its days enjoying its own company. The only time it comes into contact with another of its kind is for mating, and even then, the female tries to give the male the slip if at all possible. She does, however, incubate her eggs and suckle her young until they’re old enough to go out into the world all on their ownsome (just like mum!).
With all that gorgeous fur, surely bears love to get together for a cuddle? Nope – hugging is the very last thing that the average bear wants to do, because bears are the most solitary large carnivores in the world – they like to be on their todd. You’d think they might make an exception in the depths of winter, but, no way Jose, they stubbornly brave the cold alone, tucking themselves up in a single burrow and sleeping away the bad weather unaccompanied. The only time they’ll see other bears (apart from for mating) might be if they fancy a spot of salmon fishing – but beware! Their chosen angling spots are a solo affair!
Speaking of cuddly, another bear (that isn’t really a bear at all) – the koala, also likes to go solo. These lonesome marsupials mark out their territory to warn others off and if another koala thinks it can get away with sidling up on their patch, it’ll soon get bellowed at to back off! Not very neighbourly then!
If you spot a mole hill (or 3!) in a field (hopefully not your garden!) you might think that there is a gang of diligent diggers out there raking up the soil – but not so – all this activity is likely to be down to one, solitary mole. These solo excavators are very territorial and it’s unusual to find more than a couple in an entire acre of land. They like to while away the hours by digging more and more tunnels, just for them (as they don’t like to share) and spend their time tucked away from the world.
Solitude is not just a preserve of land dwellers – the lion fish is one prickly customer that shows a clear warning to give it a wide berth – it’s gone to the lengths of growing lots of poisonous spines that are definitely not cuddly! If you don’t take the hint that it isn’t looking for company, then you’ll find all that armoury being waved at you – a sure sign to go away and stay away!
Birds of a feather flock together – but not the solitary sandpiper. These birds migrate individually and like to keep themselves to themselves, choosing just one partner for life, who they meet up with to mate and lay and incubate their eggs as fast as possible so that both the young and parents can all go their own ways again.
So for now they go on living separate lives….