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Weird Mating Habits of Animals

Updated on May 23, 2018
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Kawai loves to learn about the weird, wonderful and wild things in life.

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The animal kingdom is just full of interesting animals, along with their unique mating rituals. And here are 8 examples of animal mating that might surprise or even shock you.

1. Anglerfish

Angelerfish are amazing deep sea creatures. And if their looks ain't already scary enough, their mating ritual is even more creepy.

Male angelfish are small (with some as small as 6mm) and can be about a hundred times smaller than their female counterparts. You may then wonder how such a tiny being can mate with the female without being squashed!

When looking for a mate, the male anglerfish will be guided by pheromones which are specific to the species and also by the bioluminescent emitted by the female.

Being so small, the only logical thing that the male can do once they find a mate, is simply to attach themselves to the females. The male, or sometimes males will bite near the female belly with their long sharp teeth and stays there forever. Slowly, his mouth will start to fuse with the female's flesh and his circulatory system will combine with the female while his organs start to disintegrate. Eventually there will be nothing left of him, short of his reproductive organ, the gonads. The gonads will continue to supply sperm whenever she is ready to spawn. A female can carry up to about 6 males on her.

Poor little fish.

2. Sea Slugs

Sea slugs are hermaphroditic, meaning that they have both male and female reproductive parts. And because of this unique feature, they are able to mate as they please. So sea slugs chose to do the most interesting thing - to mate using both their male and female parts at the same time!

Prior to mating, the sea slugs will circle around one another before each of them inject their male reproductive part into the other mate's female part. While mating, some sea slugs will also stab their partners with another appendage penile stylet which injects a chemical into their partner. The chemical is thought to prevent the sperms from being rejected. Stabbing can occur in any part of the body but some species of sea slugs will stab each other in the head.

Some sea slugs also have disposable male reproductive parts which they dispose of after each mating session. A new part will regenerate, ready for the next copulation. How convenient!

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3. Giraffes

When a male giraffe is ready to mate, he will find a female to rub against her behind until she pees. When she does, he will taste the pee to see if she is ready to mate or not (almost like a personal ovulation kit!). If she is ready, the male will follow her and at the same time try to fend off other males until she gives in.

Giraffes are known for their long neck but do you know that their male parts are also another extra long body part?

When a male giraffe is on heat, the male part can extend to about 1 - 1.5 metres. It may sound wonderful for some, but the length is actually quite problematic for the giraffe. When the male mounts the female from behind, he must move his hips and swing his part till it gets close enough for him to penetrate the female.

Giraffe males definitely needs to have a good aim.

How the Animals Do It: The Weird Mating Habits of the Wild Beasts
How the Animals Do It: The Weird Mating Habits of the Wild Beasts

This is a hilarious animated book giving a simple overview of how some animals and insects do the deed. Some of the information from this article is from this book. I have a copy dated back in 1992 but this book has since been updated. A great gift idea if you want the receiver to have a good laugh (while learning something). The book is full of illustrations with short descriptions so it is a easy and fun read.

 

4. Sloths

Sloths are lazy creatures, sleeping on trees on an average of 19 hours per day and they are are lazy in everything that they do, including mating.

Sloths generally live alone and when the female is ready to find a mate, she literally screams loudly, to call her potential suitors over. The males will climb down from their trees and start heading towards the noise. Males will fight with one another to win the rights to mate with the female (slow motion fighting maybe?).

When the female finds a suitable mate, the female and male will meet for a brief and almost obligatory mating session. The male and female will hug each other for about half an hour to do the deed before climbing back onto the trees to go back to sleep.

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5. Ducks

Ducks will pair up when they find a suitable mate and the male will stick around (at least until the eggs are laid). The male and female ducks will mate out on the water and once they are done, they will start to build a nest.

However, ducks also have a violent side and will perform acts of rape when driven to do so. Male ducks that cannot find a mate may gang up together to look for female victims. Once they spot a potential, they will chase after the female duck until she is exhausted. The male ducks will then pin her down and take turns to mate with her.

The female duck may be badly wounded or even die at the end of her ordeal.

6. Barnacles

Barnacles, like giraffes, have a very long male reproductive part. However, theirs are much longer than the giraffes - they can stretch up to 8 times as long as their bodies! Barnacles are also hermaphroditic, meaning they possess both the male and female parts.

When they need to mate, their extremely long male reproductive part will extend out and move around the sea to find a suitable mate. Their male parts have chemosensory bristles which will help them to detect chemical signals from barnacles who are acting as the female.

Interestingly, the barnacle male parts are formed differently depending on the environment they live in. For barnacles that live in calmer waters, their male parts are longer and more flexible, which makes it easier for them to search for mates which are further away. However, for those that live in chopper waters, their male parts are shorter and thicker, thus making them more sturdy and able to withstand the rough water conditions.

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7. Cats

Cats are so cute that you would have thought their mating ritual will be equally adorable and sweet. So wrong.

When cats are ready to mate, the male cats will start to make a lot of noise and scratch and piss on anything and anywhere to mark their territory. The female cats then come to choose their favorite boy to mate.

The male part of a cat is actually covered in tiny hooks, which do not hurt the female when it is penetrating the female. However, when sperms are deposited and the male withdraws, the hooks will scratch the sides of her female part, triggering ovulation. Ouch!

8. Mouse

The male mouse has a very special technique to ensure that his sperms stays where they are once deposited. After a couple has mated, a substance in the male semen will harden inside the female part to form a plug to fend off any other male suitors (almost like a chastity belt).

However, a female mouse is even smarter and can still have multiple partners, even when she is pregnant. If a female mouse is pregnant and she smells another male other than her mate, she can undergo spontaneous abortion, absorbing the fetuses into her system and then mate again.

This function is due to the female mouse's natural survival instinct, whereby they want to mate with the best male around to increase the survival chances of her babies.

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