Having to dress up, endure awkward silences or even more awkward conversations… we've all felt at some point that dating is pointless or just too darn hard. But we humans have it quite good actually – at least compared to what some "courtiers" in the animal kingdom have to go through for love. Check out these bizarre (some even horrifying) animal mating rituals and you'll see that dating is really a piece of cake in comparison!
1. Water Striders Know How to Spice up Their Sex Lives
If you like to add a touch of danger to your sex life once in a while, the water strider may be your insect equivalent. Both when courting and during copulation, the male is known to tap the water's surface with his (rather skinny) legs in a pattern that deliberately lures predatory fish. Biologists believe that this risky behavior is a good "incentive" for the female to mate faster. "Come on, girl, give me what I want before you become fish food!"
2. White-Fronted Parrots Are the Worst Kissers Ever
If you think you've had a bad kiss, wait till you hear what female white-fronted parrots have to go through. These beautiful creatures start their courting in a pretty romantic manner, being one of the few animal species that display mouth-to-mouth kissing. Awww, so cute, right? Wrong. The male seems to think that slipping some tongue is not enough to wow the lady. When he gets aroused enough, he starts vomiting straight into his SO's mouth! Luckily for him, the female doesn’t run away in terror – she sees this "surprise" as a sign of intimacy.
3. Quolls: Fatal Attraction
The lady quolls go into heat all at once, so the mating season becomes a real breeding frenzy. The males will try to do the nasty with as many females as possible, and a session can last even a full day, because they release little sperm at a time, so they need to ejaculate as many times as possible to ensure they pass their genes on. Like many males in our species trying to compensate for something, the male quolls are ruthless and violent, scratching and biting the females or sometimes even eating them! But the ladies do have their revenge – sort of. Many males put so much effort into mating that they go bald, lose weight and die in only a couple of weeks after the breeding frenzy!
4. Flatworms Practice Fencing… with Their Penises
Flatworms are hermaphroditic creatures, able to be either female or male during reproduction. The problem is, they're not very keen on becoming the mother, so to settle who will be the male, they start "penis fencing." Using their dagger-like penises as weapons, they battle it out – the one who is stabbed first is also automatically inseminated, ending up being a mom and having to give up considerable energy sources for its offspring.
5. Porcupine Males Give Their Ladies a Shower…
… A weird and gross one. Because the female could easily impale a little Don Juan with her quills if she's not in the mood, a male won't pursue the lady of his dreams unless he's absolutely sure she's into him. So how does he find that out? He drenches her in urine from a safe distance and at high velocity. If she's interested, she'll uncover her underbelly and allow the male to approach her.
6. The Praying Mantis and Cannibalism
For a mantis male, a receptive female is both a dream come true and the worst nightmare possible. If, during copulation, the lady becomes hungry, she will not wait until afterward to have a quick snack – she'll just eat her SO's head off right then and there. The weirdest thing is that the male's body will continue doing the nasty with the lady even after she has devoured his head! "Doesn't matter. Had sex!"
7. The Red-Sided Garter Snakes and Their Mating Ball Orgies
When a female red-sided garter snake is ready for mating, she starts releasing pheromones that attract hundreds of males in the vicinity, which rush to her and create a huge wiggly "mating ball." If that's not weird enough, check this out: males have 2 penises, on each side of their body, and they'll try to use the one that's best positioned to breed with the lady in the center of the orgy ball. Still not strange enough? Well, know that there are also "she-male" snakes that release the same pheromones as the females do – scientists believe they do this to attract other snakes for warmth and protection.
So, after reading about these bizarre animal rituals, is dating and finding a partner as humans such an ordeal?