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10 Bizarre Mating Habits of Animals

Updated on April 4, 2017
angela_michelle profile image

Angela, an animal lover, has a passion for learning and understanding God's creatures. As a born teacher she enjoys sharing her knowledge.

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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.

Darwin's Frog

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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?

House Mice

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Biggest Breeders

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.

Midwife Toad

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.

Alligators

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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!

Cuckoo Bird

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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.

Dung Beetle

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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!

Honey Bee

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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

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Changes Gender

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!

Porcupines

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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.

Whiptail Lizard

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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

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    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 5 years ago from United States

      Thank you so much!!!

    • Ebower profile image

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      These are pretty crazy! Thanks for sharing; voted up and awesome!

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 6 years ago from United States

      LOL, I can see your point. Fortunately for me, in either situation I'd be the female. Not a bad spot to be. LOL!!

    • Sterling Carter profile image

      Sterling Carter 6 years ago from Indian Mound, Tennessee

      The title hooked me...

      Being a person of science and a naturalist the content kept me reading.

      Learning something excited me.

      I would rather be the male Preying Mantis vs the bee. At least that way it is quick and I there would be no time to think about all the things I could have been doing other then getting myself into that situation.

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 6 years ago from United States

      I'm glad to entertain you! :)

    • stazstaz profile image

      stazstaz 6 years ago from Canada

      Wow, I read the title and I just had to read the rest. Very interesting though, I haven't been this entertained by a hub in a while :)

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 6 years ago from United States

      Thank you very much lenka. I appreciate the sweet comment!

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      lenka 6 years ago

      I love the pictures in this hub. Great content too. Thanks for sharing.

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks so much for that Valerie. I wanted to write something about them being lesbians, but I was afraid my hub would be flagged as inappropriate. This was such a touchy topic, I had to scrap humor in fear of being indecent. Still, it was very interesting.

    • valeriebelew profile image

      valeriebelew 6 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      Interesting hub. I guess Whiptail Lizards were the first lesbian lovers on record. The porcupines are also quite (should I say) different, in their mating style. Good research and interesting topic. i also liked the bird that let others watch her nest, and only sometimes assisted with feeding. ha. Voting up and awesome. (:v

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      LOL, Yes, Teresa, we actually get along really well!!!

    • Teresa Schultz profile image

      Teresa Schultz 7 years ago from East London, in South Africa

      oh, wow, lol, I hope you and your mom-in-law get along :)

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the great compliment kelleydove!!!

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      Thanks for menomania, I found it very interesting myself. I actually just read a couple of them, and I thought that would make a really interesting hub!

    • kellydove profile image

      kellydove 7 years ago

      very informative hub

    • menomania profile image

      menomania 7 years ago from Elmira, New York

      Thank you for this interesting hub. I love to learn new and unusual things. God bless

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      Oh my goodness starvagrant!! I will definitely have to check out your hub. And Yes, I am so going to have to add that one. I need to have a free twenty minutes or so, everyone has such awesome ideas. I also have a feeling I'm going to have to link to your hub in someway. I so wish I had a free twenty minutes to work on this. :) Maybe in a couple of days.

    • starvagrant profile image

      starvagrant 7 years ago from Missouri

      Good to see another lover of weird animals. Perhaps I might add the tiger shark. Their shark eggs will open and eat each other until there's only one infant left (who then gets born)! I have a hub that's a good compliment to this one, "Human Sexuality and the Animal Kingdom" which is bit more general than this.

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I got a kick out of several of these as well. Believe it or not there were many that didn't quite make the list that were even more humorous. Partly because I didn't know how to write it without the wording getting a little naughty and questionably appropriate.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      You certainly gave me a lot of information I didn't even think I needed to know! However, it was an entertaining and funny hub that I enjoyed very much.

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      Mentalist, you're right they do. I was trying to remember which one does that. I might just have to put an 11th. :)

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      Thanks DRBJ, I so was not expecting a reciprocation, but I very much appreciate it. Thank you so much!!!

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      Dallas, LOL.... Well, if my daughter ever tries pulling that one on me, I'm not falling for that!!!

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      I hear the horsefish male carries its young,haha...A real unique collection of kinky mating rituals Angela_Michelle;)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, a-m - happy to discover you and your interesting hubs. Weird animals and weird fish fascinate me so I enjoyed this hub immensely. And thank you for the link which I shall reciprocate.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Despite being a prior science instructor, I learned something! Interesting hub! Perhaps teenagers will tell their mom's, "It happened like the Whiptail Lizard. They did not have sex." (Clinton).

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      Thanks David, I had to be careful, because I didn't want it to be flagged, but there were a few things I wanted to write to make it funny, but I was afraid it would get flagged as inappropriate.

    • angela_michelle profile image
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      Angela Michelle Schultz 7 years ago from United States

      Haha, Teresa Schultz, very true, that poor male bee. :) By the way my mother in laws name is Theresa Schultz. :) Isn't that neat!!!

    • David Stone profile image

      David Stone 7 years ago from New York City

      Nice. Funny and playful at the same time.

    • Teresa Schultz profile image

      Teresa Schultz 7 years ago from East London, in South Africa

      Some odd breeding habits indeed! An interesting hub, and, wow, that poor male bee, hee hee.

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