SCIENCE

The Curious Sex Lives Of Animals (VIDEO)

In today's video, I am pleased to present The Talk Nerdy Guide To Animal Sex!

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Los Angeles Zoo with animal "sexpert" Dr. Carin Bondar, the "biologist with a twist." She taught me about the curious sex lives of komodo dragons, koalas, wallabies, and tapirs (who, I might add, have some very impressive anatomy). I also get the sneaking suspicion that Carin might be trying to muscle me out of my role as the host of "Talk Nerdy To Me!" What do you think? Watch the video above and sound off by leaving a comment below.

Come on, talk nerdy to me!

CARA SANTA MARIA: Hi everyone. I'm Cara Santa Maria, and I'm here today at the Los Angeles Zoo with Dr. Carin Bondar, "Biologist With a Twist."--

CARIN BONDAR: [interrupts] What we're going to be talking about is a whole lot of really interesting sex in the animal kingdom. So let's go!

CSM: [shakes head] Let's go.

The Talk Nerdy To Me Guide To Dragon Sex

CB: We are so lucky today because the komodo dragons here have just come from Prague--from across the world--to the LA Zoo.

CSM: So I heard the zookeeper use the word hemipenis?

CB: [laughs] Yes. These guys-- You almost want to call it a quad. These guys have two bifurcated penises called hemipenises, one on each side. 'Cause a lot of the times snakes and lizards, they don't know which side they're going to need to come in on. So basically, you know, they're going to use one double or the other. And that's quite a lot of man.

CSM: 'Cause they kind of wrap around each other when they have sex?

CB: That's right. Exactly, exactly. Especially when you think of something like a snake, all they can do is wrap. I mean lizards have limbs as well, but you know, they're wrapping around each other and they're using one side or the other of this hemipenis.

CSM: Kind of scary! [laughs]

The Talk Nerdy To Me Guide To Koala Sex

CB: So it turns out that the larger males are able to get the women not because they can be more aggressive (they can't throw that weight around, they never do), but they store more food energy from that eucalyptus.

CSM: Oh.

CB: And they can create a really long, deep-throated sound.

CSM: See, I thought you were going to say they can go longer. [laughs]

CB: No, no. For a koala, the fact that he's big isn't helpful as far as being able to bully other males. But what being big does is it allows him to create a longer sound.

CSM: And that attracts the female.

CB: And a deep throated sound, that attracts a female.

The Talk Nerdy To Me Guide To Wallaby Sex

CB: You know, this is a really good one. We talked about that quad penis in some of the reptiles. Well, the wallabies don't have a quad, but they have a double. They definitely have a clear double...two penises. And why do they have this? Well, females have two vaginas.

CSM: Why?

CB: Yeah. [laughs] So, in these species, that's just the way that it has evolved. And so we have-- In the reptiles, we didn't see anything unique about the female to sort of fit in that quad. But in these guys, we've got a double penis and we've got a double vagina. That's all marsupials.

CSM: Do they double do it?

CB: That's just how they do it. They fill them both at the same time.

CSM: Oh my god. [laughs]

CB: Yeah. Happy sex tidbit for the day. [laughs]

CSM: Oh my god. Carin, you're a little too good at this. I feel like you're honing in on my job a little bit. [laughs]

CB: Oh no I'm not. Totally not. [glances to camera]

The Talk Nerdy To Me Guide To Tapir Sex

CB: So I just had to stop us here because the tapir laying over there in the corner--okay, he doesn't look like much, he looks like a great big pig--but, the tapir has one of the largest penis-to-body size ratios of any animal in the animal kingdom. I mean nobody's going to beat the barnacle.

CSM: Yeah.

CB: Let's get that one right out of the water.

CSM: Haha! Out of the water! [laughs]

CB: No pun intended! But, the tapir has got a massive penis. So much so that it really does look like a fifth leg when they have an erection. And not only that, their penis is prehensile. So they can move it around in ways that a human male would be completely jealous. Let's put it that way. So you know, respect the tapir. He is a man to be reckoned with.

CSM: I wonder if big penis also means big vagina.

CB: That's a good question.

CSM: We don't ever talk about the vaginas enough, do we? [laughs]

CB: [laughs] That's a really great question. So thanks for spending some time with us today at the LA Zoo. This is Dr. Bondar. Come on, talk nerdy to me!

CSM: [shakes head]

CB: [shrugs]

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