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Love knows no limits - as this tale of the loved-up swan shows

posted 21 Apr 2011, 07:00 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 21 Apr 2011, 07:02 ]

They say that opposites attract. But can a bird ever find love with a piece of agricultural machinery? Ja, says a German hotelier, who claims that a swan is besotted with his tractor.

Love is in the air for Germany's most unlikely couple: a swan besotted with a blue tractor.

The eight-year-old swan called Schwani (Swanny) has become so obsessed with the vehicle that every time the engine starts up, he waddles over to say hello.

This affection is not a short-term fling, according to observers from the village of Velen in north-western Germany: Schwani has been devoted to the blue tractor for years.

"He follows me around all the time," caretaker of the hotel "Sportschloss," Hermann-Josef Hericks told Reuters. "No matter where I go, whether I cross the street or go deep into the animal garden to take care of the path ways, the swan comes along."

Hericks says that even if he takes little breaks the swan waits next to the tractor, ready to jump in if he would let him.

Hericks says he doesn't know why the swan is so besotted.

"Experts are puzzled why he has fallen in love with the tractor. But they think that he was in close contact somehow with machines, with very loud machines when he was very young and that made its mark. And so he fell for the tractor now."

Schwani's confusion is not the first one of its kind, though: five years ago, a black swan named Petra made headlines when she fell in love with a plastic pedal boat - in the shape of a swan.

Germany seems to garner a reputation for curious animal stories. First there were the gay penguins of Bremerhaven zoo, near Bremen. Then there was Knut and the drama of the abandoned cup, the loving keeper and the untimely death. Then there was of course Paul the Octopus who became a sensation when he allegedly picked out World Cup winners for South Africa with his tentacles before each match.