Amazing intelligence in Animals—Swans

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I think everyone is familiar with how two swans, facing each other, head touching head, and with their long, curved necks, form a perfect heart shape. From that point of view, one could consider them as the symbol for love birds and are often associated with beauty.

Swans are closely related to geese and ducks. Swans are the largest members of the waterfowl family, Anatidae, and are among the largest flying birds and are generally found in a temperate climate area. A female swan is called a pen, and a male swan is referred to as a cob, and a group of swans is called a herd. Although they may, at times, eat small aquatic animals, they are almost entirely herbivorous.

Much like most human couples, a male and his female partner can form a strong bond that lasts for their lifespan, and the bond can form as early as 20 months of age, and the pair can live together for over 10 years! There are cases of “divorced” swans, but this is rare.

“There’s no need to curse God if you’re an ugly duckling. He chooses those strong enough to endure it so that they can guide others who’ve felt the same.”  —Criss Jami

Stories about swans appear in fairy and folk tales, mythology and legends, the best known fairytale is the Danish Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, “The Ugly Duckling,” in which a baby swan, hatched into a family of ducks—a misfit, but yet grows up to become a beautiful white swan.

In Greek mythology, the story of “Leda and the Swan,” tells of how Helen of Troy was conceived by a union between Zeus, disguised as a swan, and Leda, queen of Sparta. To have used swans in this mythological tale shows the high regard ancient Greeks had for swans.

In Hindu religion, a swan is compared to a saintly person who lives in the world without getting attached to it, just like a swan’s feathers, although in the water, don’t get wet, and the swan is mentioned several times in Vedic writings where the swan is compared to a person who has developed great spiritual capabilities and is referred to a Paramahams—a Supreme Swan.

On the other hand, swans are not as peaceful as often depicted. Swans can be very aggressive, and especially a mated pairs can become a real “fighting machine,” as many humans can attest to who have crossed the path of a swan! Swans do not make good pets. They are friendly up until maturity—about 3 years, then they can, as already mentioned, become quite aggressive and mean.

“Every lake belongs to the quietness desired by the swans.”  —Munia Khan

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