Weird Nature 15 Amazing Animals With Sex-Changing Abilities  

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When it comes to exploring the amazing wonders of nature, animal biology is one of the most mystifying topics to study. An interesting subject is animal sex rituals and their sexual behavior. Surprisingly within the animal kingdom, there are some animals with sex-changing abilities. However, it doesn’t mean that they can self-fertilize. How can animals be both male and female? The truth is, some creatures possess both reproductive organs, which is referred to as hermaphroditism. This allows creatures to switch between sexes if needed.

So, why do animals need to change their genders? It’s understood that some animals will change their sex for the benefit of their species and others for self-protection. If the mate of a hermaphrodite animal dies, they will change their sex of another to breed. Discover some strange animal sex facts and learn about these 15 amazing animals with sex-changing abilities.

Garter snake is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 15 Amazing Animals With Sex-Changing Abilities
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

The garter snake is an interesting case when it comes to animals changing genders. Their transformation occurs after hibernation and is seen in the male species. After emerging from hibernation, the snakes are often cold, slow, and weak. This disadvantage makes them more vulnerable to prey animals in the area. To avoid death, some male garter can change their sex to pose as females, releasing a female sent pheromone. This creates a frenzy of male garters who engulf the faux female in a kinky sex ritual, warming her up and protecting her from dangerous predators. 

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Banana slug is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 15 Amazing Animals With Sex-Changing Abilities
Photo:  Wikimedia

The bright yellow banana slug is a unique creature that also possesses both female and male reproductive organs. Much like the earthworm, these simultaneous hermaphrodites partake in sexual intercourse with a partner. When mating, they impregnate each other by using sex organs located at both ends of the slug’s body. As crazy as it sounds, these creatures actually have their penises on top of their heads. On some occasions, after their mating ritual is complete one male will permanently gnaw off the others slug’s penis. 

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Black sea bass is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 15 Amazing Animals With Sex-Changing Abilities
Photo:  Daily Mail

The chalk bass is known as a monogamous hermaphrodite. This creature has the ability to switch their gender about 20 times in one day. When two chalk fish are prepared to mate they first decide which partner will assume the role of the female. They then partake in a two-hour spawning event every day, regularly swapping sexes before each session. The reason breeding and production is so important to this species is due to their short lifespan, which is only about a year.

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Cardinal is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 15 Amazing Animals With Sex-Changing Abilities
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

Much like the butterfly, cardinals are known to possess the ability to become a split-sex creature. The gynandromorphies phenomenon in this species allows for an even division of both the affected bird's sexual organs and associated cells. This results in an even split of the bird’s gender. Meaning, it creates two halves on the opposite sex and contains it within one body. This changes the colors of each side of the bird, one-half will look female and the other half will appear to be male. In addition, it also evenly changes the bird’s sexual orientation, which results in infertile fusion.

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