Big Issue story: unexpected behaviour at the dentist's

A sign that gets attention

I was in town the other day and saw a sign that read: "SEX! THAT'S GOT YOUR ATTENTION, NOW COME ON IN AND FIND OUT MORE." So with that in mind I am using the same tactic here. But seriously though, I have a story to tell you that involves a bit of very fishy "how's your father?"

Paddeparing Common Toad mating

At the dentist's

I was at the dentist's the other day waiting for my turn to enter that dreaded room the surgery, and having flicked through a pile of out-of-date women's and teen magazines I noticed a new addition to the room's décor. A tropical aquarium had been set up and I could see the Neon Tetras gleaming in front while other fish were swimming in the background and an air-stone was bubbling away.

Now fish tanks have been found therapeutic and able to reduce stress, which was something I definitely needed. Many years ago I used to keep tropical fish so already I had an interest in our finny friends and I went over to take a better look.

Zebra Fish

There were all sorts of fish and I spotted Zebra Danios, assorted tetras, and a Corydoras catfish. But what really caught my eye were the multicoloured male Guppies, the orange Platies, and the fact that, as I watched, two male Guppies were having it away with a very pregnant female Platy. This was a "gang bang" of a most perverse nature because the lusty males were ravaging a female that wasn't even of their own species.

If that wasn't shocking enough, I next watched a black male Guppy indecently assault a blonde male of his own type. And all of this at 10 o'clock in the morning, illuminated by the lights for all to see.

To be fair to the male guppies though, there weren't any females of their own species and the guppy is a fish with a very horny nature. Mind you, even if there were female Guppies present it probably wouldn't have made that much difference as the males do have an extremely strong sex-drive and are not at all fussy about how they satisfy their animal passions. I have even once witnessed a Guppy male having full sexual intercourse with the leaf of an aquatic plant!

It's daft though, isn't it? People get so offended about human sexual behaviour and we have censorship and obscenity laws, while all around us animals and plants are indulging in all sorts of bizarre sexual behaviour, and often right in front of us. Not only that, but many of them are at it all the time! Then again a lot of sex is going on and we know nothing about it even when it is happening all around us.

In the spring male catkins of trees like the Willow, the Alder and the Hazel all liberate countless billions of their sex cells as pollen in the air to be blown at random to hopefully find a female flower waiting on another tree, which it can then land on and fertilise. This is a "blow job" on a very grand scale.

Hermaphrodite

On many a dark and wet night hermaphrodite snails, slugs and worms will find partners to exchange sexual fluids with. These creatures actually have both sets of genitals in their bodies so theoretically can mate with any other of their species, providing they are both sexually mature.

Male moths track down their females by scent alone and can smell a partner from miles away, attracted by their pheromones. You can put a virgin female in some sort of cage that denies easy access and watch the males assemble. Some moths in their adult stage live only for sex and can do nothing else. The common Vapourer Moth female cannot eat and she cannot even fly for she emerges from the pupa as a wingless, slowly crawling bag of eggs. The male can fly, however, and after finding the female and mating he can leave her to fate, which in this species is to lay her eggs where she is and then die.

I remember I was once looking for Lime Hawk Moths on the trunks of trees in a Cardiff street and had found mated pair, which I had placed in a jar. Two old ladies stopped to ask me what I was doing. I told them I was catching hawk moths and held up my jar.

"Aaaahh!!! Look, Doris," one of them said. "He's got flying mice in there!"

I tried to explain but it was no good and they left shaking with fright. I had to laugh though, after all they did ask, and if I hadn't shown them the moths they would have been none the wiser.

Common Toad

The female Common Toad has a rough deal too for every spring she must obey her instincts to reproduce and in so doing risk severe danger to her life. You will no doubt have seen news stories about "toad patrols" organised to try to rescue these amphibians when they cross our busy roads en route for a pond or lake, but for the females there is yet another danger waiting ahead.

For some reason there are always a far greater number of male toads and so avid are they to consummate their passions that they will grab on to all sorts of things that are not their females, living things like goldfish for example.

They are not put off by rival males having got there first either and very often, a whole ball of ardent males that will not take no, all fasten their grip on to a single female. She is then weighed down and unable to swim and thereby drowns. The males eventually realise this when it is too late. Result: one less female toad.

So that's just a brief sample of the strange sexual lives of the animals and plants we share the planet with. There's plenty of kinky sex about and there's some probably going on near you now.

Footnote: First published in Big Issue Cymru, No. 151, May 10-16 1999


© 2008 Steve Andrews

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Comments 17 comments

gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

very interesting hub!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you, gwendymom! I am pleased to say I have published my 100th hub!


Jerry G2 profile image

Jerry G2 8 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

Congrats, Ely! Fun hub to read, and a very strange (hence appropriate) 100th hub! :D


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you, Jerry! I have just been watching more toad videos at YouTube! lol


ibsdoctor 8 years ago

Sweet spice, Bard....Seldom read hubs but this was a cool break


pgrundy 8 years ago

This made me laugh! Great hub! I remember finding out that ducks actually gang rape girl ducks during mating season, and thinking, whoa! Can this be? And not long after that I was looking out the window of the apartment where I was living at the time at a pond there, and wouldn't you know it--it was true by God.

People get in such a knot over sex. You're right, we look tame by comparison! Thanks for a great hub. Now when I'm feeling blue I can say to myself, well, buck up Pam, at least you aren't a toad!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

Congrats on your 100th!


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

That poor girl toad - she looked exhausted! I'll bet not one of them even bought her dinner, either.

Really interesting and entertaining, and perfect to celebrate your 100th hub. Congrats!

I'm glad I'm not a toad. Or a platy.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks for your comments, ibsdoctor, Pam, Shirley and gwendymom!

Then there others I could have included like the Praying Mantis female, which eats the male and the Ear Mite in which adult males have sex with immature sexless mites, which can either become males or females but it makes no difference to the sexually active males. And the Swordtail fish can also change sex. Meanwhile the Indian Stick Insect gets along just fine without any sex at all and lays eggs that produce daughters only which go on to produce daughters.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

Fascinating hub. Now I know why there are always so many slugs and snails in the garden. All of them can reproduce!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Indeed they can!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Great Hub Brd, and well done on reaching your hundredth. We see our Ducks on the lake getting 'gang banged' all the time poor things. As fast as they fly up to the other end of the lake all the males follow. It is amazing they don't get drowned more often too.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks Cindy!


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

I'm not looking to the left or right, for chance of embarassing -- not them, but myself. It does make the planet go round. Or so I hear. LOL


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks for posting, Marisue!


wittywriter profile image

wittywriter 7 years ago from Concord New Hampshire

I never thought about it much, but I will never look at a frog again the same way. LOL!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you for digging this hub out and posting, Wittywriter!

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