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Penis Fencing? The 10 Weirdest Facts About Sex In the Animal Kingdom

Here's a glimpse at some of the world's weirdest mating rituals.

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The porcupine penis, by the way, is naturally spiny. Scientists don’t know why and no female porcupine has voiced an opinion on the matter.

3. “Cuddle Puddle”

The fear of snakes is common and if you’re ophidiophobic you don’t want to know about breeding balls. That’s a pile of writhing, squirming, orgiastic snakes having group sex that would probably break world records.

Reed College in Portland, OR has a course paper that explains pretty nicely how male snakes swarm when female snakes awaken from hibernation. Some males even throw the others off the scent—quite literally—by emitting a female scent and luring some of the males away from the female. Scientists have theorized that the male snakes might then rush back to take advantages of the duped dudes’ absences. Or they might do it because snakes don’t generate their own heat and the “cuddle puddle” formed by all these snakes is to the advantage of the “she-male” who is at the center of it.

4. Yucking It Up

Whatever other things might rattle your nerves while you’re having sex—your parents coming home, the big leather swing breaking, whether this will show up on the Internet one day—at least you don’t have a reasonable concern that you might be killed in mid-coitus by a  lion

Spotted hyenas try to find the safest place to get it on for this very reason. At a certain point during their romantic encounters they experience a “copulatory lock,” in which the male’s penis swells in the female's reproductive tract and he ejaculates: this lasts “some minutes,” and leaves the hyenas sitting ducks to predator, Kay E. Holekamp, behavioral researcher of spotted hyenas at the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, writes in the New York Times. 

Holekamp says there's another thing that makes mating difficult for the hyena. Males and females are so similar that  even when looking right at their genitalia it isn’t that easy to distinguish them. The female’s clitoris, through which she pees, has sex and gives birth, is as big as a penis and only discernible by its shape: clitorises are blunt-tipped while penises are pointed.

"Even though the female’s organ is flaccid during copulation, its only opening points forward and downward, so the male must hop around behind the female while he squats behind her, thrusting blindly upward and backward, to achieve intromission. It’s actually very comical, although you can’t help feeling a bit bad that you are laughing when the male is clearly having such a tough time,” Holekamp writes.

Don’t feel bad, Kay. One imagines hyenas are used to  the sound of laughing. They probably don’t take it personally. 

5. Dying For Sex

We’ve all thought “I’ll die if I can’t have him/her.” When female ferrets say it, they mean business. 

According to the  Ferret Information Rescue Shelter & Trust Society (FIRST) of Vancouver, female ferrets (called jills) go into heat in their first spring and never go out of heat until they are “successfully mated.” If they don’t mate they can develop aplastic anemia.

According to  All About Ferrets.com aplastic anemia comes from bone marrow suppression: elevated estrogen levels from this extended period of heat become toxic to the ferret’s bone marrow. The disease causes complete loss of red blood cells in the bone marrow with symptoms that include anemia, swollen vulva and hair loss.

Ferret owners can combat this by getting the female mated to a male who's had a vasectomy, or by getting her a “jill jab,” a hormone injection that brings her out of heat.

 
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