Do Swans Live On After They Lose Their Mate?


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We all know that most swans live in pairs. In fact, if you visit an average swan lake, you will find out that almost all the swans are in pairs. This will make us wonder what will happen if one of them gets separated for any reason. Like, do their hearts break ‘literally’? Do they survive the loss? Do they continue to live on after losing their mate? Are they ever the same after the loss? Do they move on and replace their previous mate? Well, in this post you will get answers you may have been searching for regarding swans and their mates and also find out if swans really live on after they lose their mates.

Do Swans Survive And Live On After Losing Their Mates?


No, swans do not survive or live on after losing their mate. Swans are called “The Bird That Suffers Heartbreak” for a reason. If you have watched swans with their mates and seen how they roll with them, you would have noticed a deep connection and bond. For this reason, a swan’s heart breaks when they lose a mate and this can cause them to withdraw and even fail to function normally. Eventually, this finally could lead to their demise.

Some people argue that the deep feeling of heartbreak which can even lead to their passing on works against adaption which helps species to survive and prevent extinction. The thing is when a swan’s partner feels heartbroken by the loss of a partner, they may lose their lives and therefore not be able to reproduce and this may constitute a threat to their existence even though it is not at this time. When the partner on whom all these depend passes on, they are left heartbroken and can even pass on as a result of heartbreak. The heartbreak can cause them to be socially withdrawn from other swans. They sometimes refuse to eat and can starve.

What You Should Know About The Love Life Of Swans

Swans have a unique social and emotional life which makes them very interesting creatures because certain aspects of their behaviours look very similar to the social and emotional behaviours of human beings in the aspect of love, emotions and keeping a mate. Walking by a lake with swans, you can always see two swans that are deeply into each other playing in the water and sharing great company. Swans do not just have mates because they want to, but they also show deep emotional attachment to their mates to the extent that they literally feel heartbroken when they lose their mates.

Interestingly, swans are known to show deep emotional relationships with each other and some scientists even suggest that they practice monogamy. This implies that they can remain with a single partner throughout their lives. When viewed from the swan perspective, two swans who are mates can stick together for life to the extent that one can suffer heartbreak leading to their end if the other partner passes on. This shocking aspect of their life shows not just a similarity with human life but also something much deeper. They form a strong attachment with their mates and are always seen together.

The reason for this close bond with their partners is not entirely known but scientists suggest that there are some reasons behind their monogamous practice. Unlike humans who often attribute most aspect of their social life to some religious or traditional factors, there are strong scientific reasons why swans stick to one partner for life and become so emotionally attached to their partners that the passing on of one may cause heartbreak for the other. First is that they are seen as jealous birds who are not ready to share someone they call ‘their own’. Second is because their love is so loyal such that when they share it with you, they just want to give you all of it and also have all of yours.

Biologically, some species are bound to live in such a way that they can continue to reproduce and avoid extinction, that is called adaptation and even humans have those features too. Swans use this social aspect of their behaviour as an adaptation measure because by sticking to one partner for life, they can raise more cygnets and offspring in their lifetime.


Do Swans Get A New Mate After Losing An Old One?

Almost all the swans that lose their mates do not go for another one. If they manage to survive the heartbreak caused by the passing on or separation of a partner that they are so attached to, they do not try to find another partner for the rest of their lives. Their love is pure, loyal and true even till the end. That is most likely the reason why greeting card for lovers and even some movies use swans to depict true love especially those from the western and Christian traditions that practice monogamy.

Swans symbolize enduring love, a love that never leaves even when the other person is not present; it is a loyal kind of love that may pierce the heart of the other when one of them is no more. That is, the Romeo and Juliet kind of love that can claim both lives. This is in fact paradoxical because it is both an example of true love and a warning on the disadvantages too. This leaves the reader with a plethora of perspectives to understand the swan in relation to human behaviour.

Can We Compare Swans To Humans In Terms Of Emotional Behaviour?

Yes, we can compare swans to humans because swans and humans have a lot in common emotionally. Among humans, heartbreak easily happens when we lose a partner either by separation or by their end. The pain of not seeing the partner again or experiencing their love and care can be excruciating making the bereaved partner feel that there is nothing more to live for. It happens quite often and the effect can be devastating especially when both partners were deeply in love.

The experience of a heartbreak changes everything about how the partner that is left sees life, as victims have narrated feelings of anxiety and depression which worsens by the day as the partner realizes that moving on is difficult. They come to the realization that to move on they will have to start afresh like babies learning to do everything afresh. That is too big a task for lovers that have gone too far with their feelings for each other. In extreme cases, they become socially withdrawn, not willing to live their normal lives and often mourning the demise of their loved ones. It is often difficult to begin again when it reaches the extreme level because the attachment to the unavailable partner seems too strong to ever be broken.

In human societies, some people affected by this intensity of heartbreak live the rest of their lives not willing to find a partner again. Even if they manage to find one, a good number of them would still have the previous person in mind and would keep making comparisons. This pattern of reacting to such changes in relationships is what made great thinkers consider the human being as the most rational and emotional of all living animals. However, research into the behaviour of animals has revealed an aspect of the lives of some animals that no one ever thought existed. You see the above scenario painted about humans, it is just the same for swans. Many of us never knew that there are some hidden and unique aspects of the life and behaviour of swans except for the common knowledge that swans are very beautiful and loving birds.

It is time we humans rethink our long-held beliefs that we are the only rational and emotional beings in the world. Modern scientific findings have revealed certain aspect of the lives of swans that seem very similar to the emotional experience of humans. Such an aspect of their lives could not have existed if they lacked emotions and reasoning as we thought before now.


Majority of swans do not survive a heartbreak after losing a mate. The few that survive are most likely not going to remain the same bird they were. Many animal rights activists tell us how animals have feelings and emotions that deserve to be respected. They also explain that by understanding and respecting the rights and feelings of animals, people will better know how to appreciate and defend them. If you do not have any idea about why the feelings and rights of an animal should be respected and defended, the emotional life of swans shown in this post should give you a hint. And if we find ourselves in a situation where a swan’s mate is about to be taken away, we should remember that the other is likely not going to survive and that is one less swan cut off from reproducing and filling up the bevy or wedge (that is what a group of swan is called).


So, what do you think? Let’s hear your thoughts below.

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