The animal kingdom includes many wonderfully unique and adaptive creatures that have evolved to include odd behaviour and rituals when it comes to selecting a mate and breeding.
Red-Sided Garter Snake
The Red-Sided Garter Snake is a sub species of the Common Garter Snake and can be found in Northern America and Canada. These snakes come out of hibernation from their den at the beginning of Spring to mate. The males wake first to prepare for the females, by lying in the sun to warm up their bodies, increasing their energy needed for mating. A male garter snake is also able to release a pheromone that mimics that of a female, causing other males to crawl all over the pretend female snake. Scientists believe that this is done for protection, as well as for warmth, so the male's body heats up quicker with all the snakes moving over and around him.
Once a female has been located, a chaotic orgy begins, with males slithering all over the females, rubbing her with their bodies, stimulating her and vying for her to select them as her mate. Because there are so many more males than females, a single female can be completely enveloped in a ball of up to a hundred male snakes. The female will then mate with a male and then leave, giving birth to between twelve and forty young between July and October.
Below is a video of the Red-Sided Garter Snake mating ball in action:
Anglerfish are found in oceans across the globe, with their habitat ranging from the open sea, to the bottom of the ocean, to continental shelfs. Anglerfish are known and named for their hunting technique, where a long fleshy growth grows out of the top of their heads and acts as a lure, as it lights up and attracts its prey.Credit: Gulf Specimen, Wikimedia
Considered a culinary delicacy in some Asian countries, like Japan where it can sell for up to $150 USD, the Anglerfish has a very unusual method for mating. When scientists first started capturing Ceratioid Anglerfish, they were all female specimens, which had parasites attached to them. As it turned out, these parasites were male Ceratioid Anglerfish.
When the male is born, it has no digestive system, so he has to find a female mate quickly, or he will starve. The male is significantly smaller than the female Anglerfish and has highly developed senses that can detect the pheromones of a female Anglerfish. When the male finds a female, he latches on to the side of her, and bites her, releasing an enzyme that melts her skin and fuses the two of them together. The male then slowly breaks down and wastes away (Atrophy), only leaving behind his pair of gonads with his sperm. When the female is ready to spawn, she releases a hormone in her body that causes the sperm to be released into her eggs. Multiple males can be infused into a single female.
Giraffes are found in Africa and are the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant in the world. Their reproduction activities involves some rather unusual behaviour, such as drinking urine and homosexual activities.Credit: Hans Hillewaert, Wikimedia
Mating among Giraffes is polygamous, where a few older males mate with the females that are fertile. To find out if a female is fertile, a male will drink the female's urine. If he discovers that she is fertile, he will attempt to court her.Males will go for the younger females, as they are the most fertile, while the females want the older, dominant males. During the courtship, dominant males will make other males move away from the females by staring and walking towards them. The female will prolong the courtship procedure, so that in the end only the most dominant male remains. The male will then mount the female with it's head held up and its front legs resting on the female's body.
Apparently there have also been sightings of homosexual interactions between giraffes, where in one study, up to 94 percent of observed mounting incidents occurred between males. The proportion of homosexual activities varied from 30 to 75 percent. Also, giraffes are generally quiet and non-vocal, but during courtship, the males will admit loud coughs, to either attract females, or deter other males.
Teiidae are more generally known as Whiptail Lizards, and are found throughout America. They are egg layers, with some species consisting of an all-female population, making their mating and breeding techniques very interesting and fascinating.Credit: Alistair J. Cullum
Because the population of some of these species of lizards are all females, they reproduce by parthenogenesis, where embryos are developed without the need for fertilization. One female will act as a male and engage in pseudocopulation, non-penetrating sex, to stimulate the other female's hormones to develop her embryos. When each female lay their eggs, the female that was on the bottom has larger eggs, while the one on top that was acting as the male has smaller eggs. They swap roles. The offspring of the females are perfect genetic clones of their mother, which has created debates about how these lizards evolve and adapt to their environment.