The animal kingdom is more gender fluid than the rest of us. Animal sex rituals and sexual behavior is maze of gender-bending twists, full of animals with sex-changing abilities.
So how can animals be both male and female? Many creatures possess both reproductive organs, referred to as hermaphroditism, which allows creatures to switch between sexes as needed. 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 in order to breed. Here are 15 amazing animals with sex-changing abilities and rituals.
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.see more on Garter snake
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.see more on Banana slug
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.see more on Black sea bass
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.see more on Cardinal