Monday, 20 December 2010

The Most Bizarre Animal Mating Rituals

Most animals go through the mating process and reproduction as well. Here, we shall explore some of the most bizarre animal mating rituals.

Sex is indeed an important aspect to most living things. We have spent much of our time studying and exploring human sexuality that influences virtually every aspect of human interaction. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the animal world is equally complex and intriguing. But what surprises me is that the inhabitants of the animal kingdom have demonstrated some of the strangest behavioural habits such as their bizarre mating rituals. Let us find out what happens when these animals get busy.

Red-sided Garter Snakes

Red-sided Garter Snakes

Found mostly in Canada and the Northwestern United States, the small red-sided garter snake is a venomous snake that exhibits a very unusual way of mating. During the mating ritual, thousands of the snakes get together to have an orgy. As such, one female may have hundreds of mates vying for her. When this happens, it is called a “nesting ball” which can grow to over two feet high. As a result, the female may get killed sometimes.

Octopuses

Octopuses

Octopuses mate in an incredibly unique way. At the end of one of the male octopus’ arms is something akin to a penis. After inserting it into the female octopus, he then breaks it off from his body. A transfer of sperm occurs at that point and the female becomes pregnant. The male usually dies within three months of copulation whereas the female dies once her eggs have hatched.

Whiptail Lizards

Whiptail Lizards

The whiptail lizard is a fascinating creature as there are no male whiptail lizards – they are all female. They use a method of reproduction called parthenogenesis, whereby the offspring is a perfect clone of its mother. During mating, one female will behave like a male by mounting on the other. This form of simulated sex helps to increase fertility.

Anglerfish

Anglerfish

As the male anglerfish is born without a digestive system, he needs to find a female very quickly. Once the male has found a female, he will bite her side and attach himself to it. The poor male then wastes away and dies, leaving behind a permanent supply of his sperm for future fertilization of the female’s eggs.

Bedbugs

Bedbugs

Bedbugs are awful creatures. Their mating methods are equally revolting as well. The male does not bother finding the female’s sex organs and he simply stabs any part of her body with his sharp penis to insert his sperm. Curiously, these creatures do not seem to be particularly discriminating as there have been males found with the same stab marks on their bodies. This type of sex is known as traumatic insemination.

Giant Pandas

Giant Pandas

As giant pandas in captivity tend to dislike mating, it leads to a serious problem at zoos trying to increase their endangered population. However, a bright spark at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base in Sichuan Province, China, came up with a great idea in 1998 to stimulate reproduction – to show the pandas steamy videos of ”panda porn”. The zoo’s population doubled as a result of this porn.

Percula Clownfish

Percula Clownfish

The percula clownfish was made famous by the movie “Finding Nemo”. The clownfish looks cute in the movie but what we do not know is that it does not really have a gender. All clownfish take on both the male and female roles. The largest acts as the female and the second largest acts as the male in a group of clownfish. When the female dies, the male will change sex and become the female. A new clownfish will then become the male.

Giraffes

Giraffes

The sex life of a giraffe tends to be a fascinating one. They live in pacts – the younger males hang out together and the older males live on the outskirts of the community. The males will take turn impregnating the females of the pack. To determine whether a female is ready for sex, the male will give her butt a few jabs till she pees in his mouth. This way, he can then determine, by the taste, whether to get on with her. The male giraffe will follow her around until she gives in and lets him have her.

Porcupines

Porcupines

The porcupine has a strange way of mating as well. During the process, the male will stand on his hindlegs and urine on the female. If she is interested in him, she’ll rear up to expose her quill-less underbelly and let the male mount on her from the behind. If she is not interested, she will scream and shake off the urine. Once mating begins, the female is insatiable as she will force the male to mate many times till he is thoroughly exhausted. She will leave him for another male if he gets tired too quickly.

The Spotted Hyenas

The Spotted Hyenas

In the spotted hyena family, the female wears the pants. The female spotted hyena has a fake penis which is actually a very large clitoris. She uses this pseudo-penis in a few ways – to give birth, to have sex, and to urinate. When it is copulation time, the enlarged clitoris stretches, allowing the male to get on the action. During sex, the female dominates the act because of this unusual clitoris.

Banana Slugs

Banana Slugs

The banana slugs have a weird mating habit. They have an enormous penis averaging around 6 to 8 inches. This is quite impressive as their entire body length is 6 to 8 inches as well. Banana slugs are hermaphrodites so two slugs will try to fertilize each other. To ensure proper mating, a slug must choose a mate roughly its own size. If it miscalculates, its penis will get stuck during copulation and the other slug will actually bite off the stuck penis. This is a term scientists euphemistically called “apophallation.”

Snails

snails

Snails have genitals on their necks that are right behind their eye-stalks. They are hermaphrodites meaning they have both male and female sexual organs but they do not self-fertilize. Before two snails mate, they shoot “love darts” at each other. These darts are made of calcium. The mucus on the darts allow more sperms to be stored in the snail’s uterus, thus helping it gain an edge in reproduction.

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