We'll assume you've gotten the birds and the bees talk, so without ado: Animals reproduce, usually (though not always) through sex. And while that might evoke scenes of cuddly coitus, à la March of the Penguins, procreation isn't always so pretty. It can be strange, scary -- even downright deadly. But behaviors that might seem bizarre in the boudoir are actually completely normal in nature. Today we bring you five fascinating animal mating habits and explain why natural selection might sometimes favor the kinky.
Banana slugs: They might look cute, but these bright yellow critters, which inhabit damp, coniferous forests along the north Pacific coast of the U.S., take tough love to a new level. They’re also enormously endowed. As an adult, the banana slug measures roughly 6 to 8 inches in length -- and so can its penis when erect. The organ emerges from a genital pore on its head. Since slugs, like their snail cousins, are hermaphrodites, the banana slug also has female organs.
Banana slugs begin their tryst with some rough foreplay, lunging, biting, and hitting one another with their tails. Then they curl around each other, like two chubby, slimy commas, and insert their penises. Sometimes one partner gives sperm while the other receives, but usually they exchange sperm. The partners can remain enjoined for several hours. Normally, they then retract their organs and crawl on their merry way. But things can take a grisly turn.