Perhaps from the perspective of a ladybug or a white-fronted parrot, humans have some odd ways of wooing the opposite sex (think Valentine cards, romantic music and candlelight), but the animal world definitely has some bizarre sexual rituals of their own.
From penises that break off during mating, slimy love darts, to watching porn, continue reading to discover how other animals like to get it on!
Pandas like watching porn. When the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center in China implemented private porn viewings, their panda population doubled nearly overnight. How the researchers figured this out, remains an interesting question.
The male bedbug has a lance-like penis and to inseminate the female he must literally stab her in her abdomen like an overly enthusiastic Zorro! The semen he injects floods the female’s bloodstream and eventually fertilizers her eggs. Curiously, these bed-bound creatures do not seem to be particularly discriminating, as males have been found with the same stab marks on their bodies. This type of sex is known as traumatic insemination - and it could be happening in your bed right now!
The Pixar film, Finding Nemo, starts out with the happy scene of a mommy and daddy clownfish peering proudly at their 400-egg brood. The mommy soon gets eaten by a scary-looking barracuda, but that is beside the point. In reality, the percula clownfish do not have mommies and daddies, as clownfish switch their gender when the timing is right. Yes, the clownfish changes genders like your Aunt Gladys changes hats. The largest clownfish in its community acts like a female and the others act like males. When the “female” dies or is simply devoured by a hungry barracuda, the next biggest male will change sex and assume the female roll of laying eggs.
Red-sided Gardner Snake
The red-sided gardner snake loves a good orgy. These snakes conserve heat by wintering together in a big sleepy snake ball — up to 30,000 snakes big! When the weather warms and mating season begins, the males become a highly energized squirming, scaly ball of pulsating passion that can be over two feet high. One highly sought-after female is usually in the center of said snake ball and if the passionate determination of all her suitors doesn’t kill her, she will lay a lovely brood of eggs fathered by more than one male.
Be glad you are not a snail. If you were, your family jewels would be located on your neck, right behind your eye stalks. Snails, like slugs, are hermaphrodites, meaning they are both male and female. Even though self-fertilization is logistically possibly for the lazy snail, it is an evolutionary dead-end, so they must still seek out a mate. How do suitors send out a signal that they are in the market for a little copulating? Love darts. These cupid-style darts are chock full of calcium and mucus, which increase the amount of sperm that can be stored in a snail’s uterus.
The male angler fish is a born moocher, as he has a short-lived digestive system and thus must quickly find a female to latch on to. When he finds a female he gives her a love bite and becomes permanently attached to her side — a loyal sidekick, you might say. However, the female angler fish will be disappointed if she is hoping for some good fun, as her sidekick will soon disintegrate into nothing but a sperm bank that she can tap into whenever she lays eggs. Convenient, but not necessarily all that exciting, right ladies?
An octopus’ penis snaps off during mating — ouch! But do not fret, this penis-snapping octopus species grows another love organ just in time for the next mating season.
White Fronted Parrots
When in the mood, white-fronted parrots love to snuggle and kiss. They actually get quite passionate about this kissing. However, the parallel between human and parrot courtship ends here. Once the male is confident his lady bird is digging his moves, he gets ready to move to second base. How? By vomiting! So charming.
Female spotted hyenas wear the pants in the family — and she needs those pants because she is sporting a fake penis (which is actually a large clitoris!). How large? How about 7 inches large. See why she needs those pants?!
This large pseudo-penis is not just for emasculating males, but it is actually quite useful. The female hyena uses it to mate, to urinate and give birth. When a female hyena gets in the mood you know it because her already large clitoris gets super-sized and the boys come running. However, don’t get to uppity boys, the female is still in charge and will dominate the mating ritual. You really cannot blame her as she will be the one that will have to squeeze a baby hyena through her pseudo-penis, as that unfortunately is the only exit out!
Dolphins are one of the mammals most admired by humans. They are smart, playful, compassionate and seem to always be jolly happy. However, did you know that the males are also horny little devils with penises that have the agility of an elephant’s trunk? With their prehensile swiveling penises, male dolphins will hump nearly anything including turtles, humans and inanimate objects. Fortunately, for those turtles, humans and inanimate objects, it only takes a dolphin about 12 seconds to ejaculate.
Giraffes may want to reconsider the ease of Hallmark cards and a box of chocolates as compared to their odd ritual of courtship. To discern whether a doe-eyed female is able and ready, a male will jab her buttocks a few times until she pees in his mouth. The male can then determine through the taste of her urine whether she is fertile and should continue the courtship. If the taste of her urine turns him on, he will then relentlessly follow her around until she finally consents to a romp in the grass.
Next to giraffes, hippos take the cake for grossing humans out in their mating habits. To turn a cute girl hippo on, the dude hippo defecates while spinning his tail, thus creating a fan of feces. If the girl hippo is throughly impressed by his feces-fanning prowess, she will allow him to mate.
Okay, the female hyena has an oversized clitoris that makes safari-goers blush, but she has nothing on the 6 to 8 inch banana slug who wields an erect 6 to 8 inch long penis! To make matters even weirder, the slug’s penis emerges from a “genital pore” on its head! Banana slugs are also hermaphrodites meaning they swing both ways — and can do so at the same time. Consequently, it is not important to find the right gender to mate with, but rather to find one of the appropriate proportions. To ensure a sucessful mating, the two slugs must be about the same size. If not, one slug’s penis may get stuck during copulation and the other slug, in self-defense, will unsentimentally bite off its lover’s penis and move on to greener — and more appropriately-sized — pasture.
Bonobos are our closest relatives and, like us, they are sex-obsessed. But unlike us, they have no moral qualms about getting it on with whomever, whenever. All bonobos are bisexual and their answer to nearly all problems is to have sex. Tired? Have sex. Had a fight? Have sex. Scared? Have sex. Want to play? Have sex. In addition to the missionary position, they indulge a good french-kiss, engage in oral sex, mutual masturbation and even seem to enjoy penis-fencing foreplay. There must be some sound wisdom to this free-for-all as they are a very peaceful, gentle species.