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10 Bizarre Mating Habits of Animals

Updated on July 21, 2021
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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, 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 mate.

Not all animals procreate the way that is most well known to us. For instance, the praying mantis rips her mate's head off after it has attempted to make baby praying mantises, although most people have heard that one. Then some hippos 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 the top ten most bizarre breeding habits.

Darwin's Frog

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Swallows Their Young

Frogs seem to have unique breeding habits, although Darwin's Frog probably takes the cake. The male will swallow its 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 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

Biggest Breeders

Mice and rats are by far our most prominent mammal breeders. Mice can 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 baby mice a year! The most common way a house mouse dies is in a trap. If we didn't set mousetraps, we would be knee-deep in mice.

Midwife Toad

Males Carrying the Young

Male midwife toads 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 to protect them from hungry predators. Sometimes they will 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 can 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 younger they have. Alligators are one exception. They will build huge nests that will fit up to sixty eggs in it at a time. Not only do they lay that many eggs, but they 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 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 heat of the nest will determine whether the baby alligator will be a female or a male, which occurs between 7 to 21 days. Lower temperatures produce females hotter (above 86 degrees) will produce males. Usually, there are five females for every male alligator.

Cuckoo Bird

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Animals That Put Their Young Up For Adoption

Cuckoos do not build their own nest. They will find a nest of a smaller bird and lay its egg in the bird's nests, even if it means pushing out one of the other bird's eggs to fit their own in the nest. Despite being larger than the birds from which they use the nest, their eggs are rather small and can easily be mistaken for one of the nest owners' eggs. 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.

Not all cuckoos are like this. Some do 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 believed that dung beetles can eat an entire cow pie in 24 hours. Although they choose not to finish off the pile where they lay their eggs, they choose that soft, warm landing so that way the larvae will have something to eat when they hatch.

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 their right to be able to mate with the queen bee. Worker bees will feed the queen bee a jelly substance 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 a plug to help keep her impregnated and not allow the other bees to mate with her. As you can imagine, if your breeding organ exploded, the male bee does die when this happens.

Clown-fish

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Changes Gender

Clownfish are very interesting. In a school of clownfish, there are not specific genders per fish. There is one female, a breeding male, and a bunch of non-breeding male fishes. Gender is determined by which fish is the biggest. The biggest fish is the female clownfish. The second-largest clownfish 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?

Porcupines

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Urinates On Their Mate

Porcupines have a fascinating 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. They do not want their eight to twelve hours a year 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 it's female on female reproduction? Well, he doesn't. Male whiptail lizards don't exist because they are all females. They reproduce by sliding against another female whiptail lizard. By doing this, they stimulate their eggs into reproducing. Then once produced, a new whiptail lizard was born, which is a clone of its mother. In this case, both females that rub against each other can conceive, making a clone of themselves.

© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz

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