The sex lives of animals in the wild is often as bizarre as some of the craziest scenarios you can imagine. With barnacles playing the Jonah Falcon of underwater mating (their penises grow up to eight times the length of their body) to lice that have sex for 40 – 70 hours, animal sex is freaky!
However, most of their ‘weirdness’ isn’t just for fun; they’re usually vital to the successful perpetuation of the species. Like the way barnacles spermcast; at the bottom of the ocean, glued to a rock, how can they mate? Turns out, in addition to the long penile appendage, the gooseneck barnacle can ‘fling’ their sperm to be caught by a potential mate, up to 8 inches away.
Animals are weird and wonderful in their own way. The following are some of their attributes that just may remind you of someone you know.
10. Garter Snakes And Group Sex
Garter snakes are pretty to look at, so pretty that tourists flock to Manitoba to see them every year. However, they’re not there just for the pretty colors, but for snake mating balls.
At the beginning of spring, the female red-sided garter snake emerges from hibernation and releases pheromones to attract male snakes. She attracts so many that a typical mating ‘ball’ is literally that; a writhing moving mass of over a hundred male snakes trying to mate with the female at the center of the ball. Some of the males are so eager to mate that they mistake other male snakes for females.
9. Ducks And Birth Control
Yes, animals practice birth control and they can do it on their own. Among fowl, forced copulation is a thing; an extremely painful one as male ducks have backward pointing penile spines. Male ducks also have 20cm long, corkscrew-shaped penises.
Female ducks have evolved vaginas that are long and also corkscrew-shaped, but in the opposite direction. This ensures that any attempt at forced copulation proves too challenging for the male and he abandons the pursuit. However, if she is willing, she relaxes the muscles of her genital tract to allow the male to fully enter her.
Other animals that practice birth control include the female Grevy’s zebras who dump the sperm they don’t want and female bedbugs who have evolved structures can kill sperm.
8. Male Bowerbirds And Courtship
Unlike the Guinean bird-of-paradise who dances his way into a females heart, the male bower bird shows off his prowess as a master builder. He builds an elaborate nest to woo the female bird. Using twigs, stones, flowers, feathers; anything to make his bower more attractive to the female.
He lines his entrance that’s carpeted with moss, with fruits, beetles, brightly colored leaves to attract the female. The male chooses a colour theme and sticks with it, blue rocks, pink flowers, golden leaves etc. This fancy build is due to the picky nature of the female; she visits potential suitors at least three times before she decides who to mate with.
7. Bats And Oral Sex
The act of oral sex isn’t monopolized by humans; bonobos, macaques, fruit bats, all engage in fellatio. During their upside down copulation, the female short-nosed fruit bat repeatedly bends to lick the male organ. Researchers found that this helped to prolong their copulation, often making it twice as long.
Among Indian flying foxes, the males use oral sex to woo females before sex. Scientists say they may be cleaning off their competitors sperm to ensure their sperm impregnates the female. It may also be used as a foreplay to arouse the female.
6. Porcupines And Golden Showers
The journey to making adorable little porcupettes isn’t a smooth one for either the male or the female porcupine. For one, there are over 30,000 razor sharp quills to contend with. Plus the female porcupine only has an 8 to 12 hour fertility window. As porcupines are notably solitary creatures, it becomes a race for any males in the vicinity to reach the female and mate.
After she sprays her scent to attract males, she climbs a tree and watches as the males who arrive fight over who gets to mate with her. This is usually a long drawn brawl, leaving broken quills in its wake. The victorious male now has to climb the tree to a branch close to her, rear up on his hind legs and shower her with urine from his erect penis. This stream can be shot up to six feet across branches. If she is ready, she will lift her tail and allow the male mount her. If not, she’ll bite him or simply run away.
5. Bonobos, Sex, Sex And Sex
To a bonobo, sex is the answer to everything. Disagreement over food? Have sex. Someone encroaching on your space? Have sex. They even use sex as a form of greeting.
Bonobos are also well known for their display of human-like sexual ‘expressions.’ They kiss (with tongues), they mate facing each other, they engage in oral sex even giving out mutual hand stimulation. They have evolved to use sex as a way to diffuse aggression and not only a means of reproduction.
Scientists speculate that this may why they are one of the most peaceful species in the world today.
4. Fiesty Dolphins
Dolphins are supposed to be highly intelligent creatures. Male dolphins channel this intelligence into satisfying their carnal desires. How? Because they know females who have just given birth are not interested in mating, male dolphins kill baby dolphins just to get the mothers interested in mating again. Some males have been reported to separate the female from the herd, ensuring she can’t feed until she allows him to mate.
Dolphins also display a huge appetite for sex; scientists say dolphins, bonobos and humans are the only species that have sex for pleasure. Male and female dolphins have been sighted getting off with dead fish and eels. Female bottlenose dolphins use their snouts to arouse other females. Dolphins have been known to ‘attack’ humans when they are aroused. And when dolphins get sexually frustrated, they satisfy their cravings by killing anything in sight.
3. Giraffes And Taste Tests
Male giraffes pick mates by taste. Not with a taste of her lady parts like the flying fox or even of her tongue like the bonobo, but through an approach known as the ‘Flehmen sequence.’ A male giraffe assess the suitability of a female by nuzzling her rear to
get a taste of her urine
In a weird ‘taste-test’, the male giraffe has to get a face full of female urine before he can determine if the female is a good mate. He nuzzles her until she pees and he catches some of it in his mouth. If she does, he can tell if she is in heat. If she is, he proceeds to woo her while keeping other males away, until she allows him mount her.
2. Pandas, Lack Of Interest
When in captivity, these exotic animals are notoriously bad at breeding. Even in supposedly ideal environments, sex just doesn’t happen. One reason may be because female pandas only experience sexual excitement, once a year, within a narrow 24 – 72 hour window. Another aspect of this problem is that the window can occur anytime between February and May.
Other reasons include the production of sperm for males which varies depending on the season. To get pandas in the mood for sex, zookeepers at the Sichuan Giant Panda Research Centre recorded pandas engaging in sex. A video of two pandas making love for over eight minutes, which is a record, as their mating usually lasts 30 seconds. This video has been sent to all zoos that have pandas. It is hoped that showing other pandas the footage can encourage breeding and help boost dwindling numbers.
1. The Antechinus And Death By Sex
The Antechinus is a type of shrew indigenous to Australia. It is one of the few marsupials to exhibit semelparity i.e. they have sex only once in their lifetime.
With the clock ticking (males of this specie usually live for only one year), the shrew must find a way to procreate. As much as possible. To ensure breeding success, the male spends up to 14 hours mating, with as many females as possible. He is literally jumping from partner to partner to ensure that he has a chance at having offspring. He is so focused on this that he does little else. His body is stripped of vital proteins so fast that he bleeds internally, his fur falls off and even his immune system is shot to pieces.
Yet he’s still after more sex. By the end of the mating season, a few weeks short of his first birthday, the average Antchenius male is dead from sheer exhaustion.