10 Bizarre Mating Habits of Animals
Most everyone has seen a dog trying to breed, or heard a cat mating late at night, or even been a human breeding. These seem quite normal, if not somewhat amusing. In each of these cases, there is a male and there is a female and they... well... mate.
Not all animals procreate the way that is most well known to us. For instance the preying mantis rips her mate's head off after it has attempted to make baby preying mantises, although most people have heard that one. Then there are hippos that fling their urine and feces by spinning their tail to attract their mates. As disgusting as that may be, the hippopotamus did not make the list of top ten most bizarre breeding habits.
Swallows Their Young
Frogs seem to have very unique breeding habits, although the Darwin's Frog probably takes the cake. The male will actually swallow it's young and keep the developing tadpoles in its vocal sac until they are ready to hatch. Usually the female will lay around 30 eggs, after about two weeks of the males guarding them, they will then swallow them into their vocal sac. Once the tadpoles reach a half inch long, they are ready to leave, and will hop into a nearby lake.
I wonder if the male ever accidentally ingests their young?
Mice and rats are by far our biggest mammal breeders. Mice can actually start breeding at six weeks old, and up to ten times in one year. Since they have five to seven young in a litter, that can be anywhere between fifty and seventy mice a year! If we didn't set mousetraps, we would literally be knee-deep in mice. The most common way a house mouse dies is in a trap. Now that I know this, I don't feel so guilty when I hear about people setting mouse-traps. I probably will still be one of those insane people who trap a mouse in a bucket and scream as I carry it in a bucket in the car, until my husband takes the bucket from my lap after laughing hysterically watching me totally freaking out, as he sets it in the woods. In case, you're wondering, I am speaking from experience.
Males Carrying the Young
Midwife toads are named for this apparent reasons. The males actually carry the eggs on their backs. What happens is the female toads will lay the eggs in a string like structure. The males will come along and wrap their eggs around their legs in order to protect them from hungry predators. Sometimes they will actually have more than one females egg string at a time. They will continue to carry these strings until the eggs are ready to hatch in which case the male will then wade in a nearby pond, until the youngsters are able to swim off on their own.
Abnormally Big Nests for Sixty Young
Generally you think of the smaller the animal the more young they have. Alligators are one exception. They will build very large nests that will fit up to sixty eggs in it at a time. Not only do they lay that many eggs, but they actually care for their young for up to a year. So if you feel like your three little ankle biters are driving you crazy, you may just want to think how a mama Alligator feels.
Another thing to note is that they do not mate until they are at least six feet long. The sex of an alligator is determined at 7 to 21 days. The heat of the nest will actually determine on whether the baby alligator will be a female or a male. Lower temperatures produce females hotter (above 86 degrees) will produce males. Usually there are 5 females for every male alligator.
For more information on these attentive mothers check out this hub!
Animals That Put Their Young Up For Adoption
Cuckoos actually do not build its own nest. They will find a nest of a smaller bird and lay it's egg in the birds nests, even if it means pushing out one of the other birds eggs to fit their own in the nest. Despite being larger than the birds which they use the nest from, their eggs are rather small and can easily be mistaken for one of the nest owners egg. In many of these cases the cuckoo doesn't even care for its own baby bird. The "adoptive" mother will help in the feeding of the bird, but not always.
To be fair to cuckoos around the world, not all cuckoos are like this. There are some who do in fact make their own nests and care for their young.
Laying Their Eggs In Dung
A Dung Beetle wins the award for laying its egg in cow excrement. What a fitting name for the creature. Dung beetles are notorious for eating cattle poop, which is a good thing since it helps prevent the spread of diseases and filth. It's actually believed that dung beetles are able to eat an entire cow pie in 24 hours. Although they choose not to finish off the pile they lay their eggs in. They choose that soft warm landing, so that way the larvae will have something to eat when they hatch.
If you would like to learn more about the dung beetle read this hub!
Exploding Breeding Organs
Honey Bees probably have the strangest breeding habits. The queen bee is bred in a special queen cell. Honey bees will fight its right to be able to mate with the queen bee. The queen bee will be fed a jelly substance by worker bees until she becomes sexually mature. Once sexually mature, she will take a mating flight with ten or so male bees. Once the male bee mates with the queen bee, his mating organ explodes and is left inside the queen bee acting as kind of a plug to help keep her impregnated and not allowing the other bees to mate with her. As you can imagine if your breeding organ exploded, the male bee does in fact die when this happens.
Clown-fish are very interesting. In a school of clown-fish there are not specific genders per fish. Basically there is one female a breeding male, and a bunch of non-breeding male fishes. Although gender is not assigned at birth, instead it is determined by which fish is the biggest. The biggest fish is the female clown-fish, the second largest clown-fish is the breeding male. If anything happens to the female clown-fish, then the breeding male fish will become a female clown-fish and the next largest male gets promoted to the breeding male fish.
So do you think Nemo's dad became his mom after she died? For more facts and interesting photos of Clown-fish, view here!
Urinates On Their Mate
Porcupines have a very interesting mating ritual. First off, the female is only willing to mate for 8-12 hours a year. Yes, I did say hours and I did say per year. That was intentional. So the males will seek out the breeding females. When they feel they have found one, they will get about six feet away and stand up on their back legs and urinate all over their would-be mate. If the female is not ready, she will squeal at the male and run away. If she is ready, she will encourage him to come close, and force him to mate until he is tired. If she is still in heat, when he tires she will find a new male porcupine. Apparently they do not want their eight to twelve hours a year being wasted which will optimize their chances of procreating.
Female on Female Reproduction
You may wonder how the male whiptail lizards feel if its female on female reproduction? Well, he doesn't. In fact, male whiptail lizards don't exist. They are all females. They reproduce by sliding against another female whiptail lizard. By doing this they stimulate their eggs into reproducing. Then once the egg is produced there is a new whiptail lizard born, which is basically just a clone of its mother. In this case, both females that rub against each other can possibly conceive making a clone of itself.
© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz