Mother Nature has a talent for surprising us when it comes to sex. Forget about all of the strange sounds, squirts and other side effects that come from human copulation – shit gets real weird when animals go at it.
So here are a few especially bizarre and fascinating sex facts about some of the cuddly, adorable and (sometimes) creepy members of the animal kingdom we stare at through glass at the zoo.
1. Female Black Widows Eat Their Mates
Female black widow spiders often take a bite out of their tired male copulation partners just after getting it done. Called mate cannibalism, this act is common among many black widow species — but according to science geeks and spider fans on the Internet, the only one that practices mate cannibalism each and every time is those from the Southern Hemisphere.
Hungry lady spiders are most likely to take a bite after doin' it, and there are several different arguments for why they are compelled to do so. Some believe that the male spiders offer nutrients necessary for the fertilization process. Others say it's an act of aggression to get rid of unwanted mates once the deed has been done.
But regardless, it's a little eerie – but kinda really cool – to think of how must power female black widows have in their creepy-crawly universe.
2. Female Praying Mantises Behead Males Immediately After Mating
Here's another insect sex fact that some of you might have already known. But who cares; it's a good one.
Female praying mantises eat the heads of their prey, so this is already a customary act for these elegant, alien-like creatures. Some females may even start nibbling on their mates' heads after copulation has already begun, and the males' reaction – an understandably heightened vigorous movement – often aids in the mating process.
Whether this behavior is totally natural or the result of lab scientists getting in the way is arguable, but research done in the 80s show a Chinese mantis species engaging in fancy courtship dances when left alone from prying eyes, rather than the hungry beheading most often recorded.
But it's the dismount that's most dangerous for male mantises, and it's believed that some males stay on top longer in the hopes of avoiding getting eaten, further supporting the chance for fertilization.
3. Kangaroos Have 3 Vaginas & 2 Uteruses
All members of the marsupial genus share this trait – including koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils. Human females are known for our ability to multitask, but this truly reaches a new level.
Each vagina serves a different purpose: the left and right carry sperm to two different uteruses (crazy, right?) while the middle vagina is reserved solely as an exit-path for the joey, or baby kangaroo, when the momma gives birth.
Ladies, can you imagine having more than one vagina to deal with? It really would only be worth it if there were three corresponding clitorises along for the ride.
4. Elephants, Hoofed Mammals & Whales Have the Biggest Penises
We've all seen clips on the Internet (on YouTube, not YouPorn…hopefully) of various farm and zoo animals getting it on and marveled in the sheer size of their junk. Elephants, rhinos, horses and the like have penises that extend up to 5 feet long. Mind blown?
But the biggest penis in the animal kingdom belongs to the blue whale, whose dick sticks out about 8 feet. Yeah. And they often can wiggle and angle their hard-ons to various degrees in order to accurately insert and jut.
Of course, it's not always easy to get a yard stick down there to get a precise measurement but it's an accurate measurement made by scientists and zoologists who've watched their fair share of mammal mating.
BONUS: Male Marsupials, Iguanas & Komodo Dragons Have Two-pronged Penises
Technical term being bifurcated, these animals' penises have two ends so that they may fit into their female counterparts better. Because the females have two vaginal orifices into which these forked dickheads slide in, making for a much more successful copulation attempt.