Gay Animals

While same-sex behavior is quite common in the animal kingdom, whether or not the term “gay” applies to animals in the same way it is used for humans is debatable. Sexual interactions between animals take place for different reasons than for humans. Some use sex as a way to bond, while others do so to relieve urges.

Canadian biologist Bruce Bagemihl notes that same-sex behavior has been reported in over 450 species of animals from various groups. As it is difficult to identify the sexes of certain animals interacting in the wild, many sexual encounters and pairs observed over the years may have been of the same sex without the people studying them realizing that.

Gay Animals

List of 12 Animals that have Displayed Homosexual Behavior

1. American Bison

Bison display homosexual behavior, males much more so than females. Females only mate with males once a year, so the males engage in same-sex activities when they get urges during mating season. In the case of males, it is unrelated to dominance but social bonding or gaining sexual experience. This includes courtship, mounting, and full anal penetration between bulls.

Also, mounting one female by another is prevalent among cattle. The behavior is hormone driven and synchronizes with going into heat, particularly in the presence of a bull.

2. Asiatic Elephant

Asiatic elephants in captivity devote roughly 45% of sexual encounters to same-sex activity. Males show affection towards each other, including touching mouths, placing trunks in each other’s mouths, and intertwining them. Homosexual relations also exist between female elephants in captivity.

3. Black Swan

An estimated one-fourth of all black swans pairings are homosexual. Male pairs have been reported stealing nests or forming temporary threesomes with females until they lay eggs and then driving away the female afterward.

4. Bonobo

Bonobos are a fully bisexual species: males and females engage in hetero- and homosexual behavior. Notably, 60% of all bonobo sexual activity occurs between two or more females.

Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal believed that sexual activity is the bonobo’s way of avoiding conflict, with anything arousing their interest leading to sexual contact. These apes possibly use sex to divert attention and defuse tension.

5. Bottlenose Dolphin

While several dolphin species engage in homosexual acts, bottlenose dolphins are the most studied. Female sexual encounters involve “beak-genital propulsion”, i.e., one female inserts her beak in the other’s genital opening while both swim forward gently. Conversely, males rub their genitals against each other, sometimes swimming belly to belly, inserting the penis in the other’s genital slit or even the anus.

Janet Mann, Georgetown University professor of biology and psychology, argues that these dolphins can be considered bisexual, with the males forging bonds earlier in life due to having sex. This leads them to work together for protection and locate females to reproduce with when they are older.

6. Chinstrap Penguin

One of the most famous instances of homosexuality in animals was when Roy and Silo – two Chinstrap penguins in the Central Park Zoo – were observed performing mating rituals and trying to rear a rock as an egg. The zoo staff would give them an egg from a penguin couple struggling to take care of their second egg. Roy and Silo would nurture the egg until it would hatch and raise the young female nicknamed Tango for a year and a half.

7. Domestic Sheep

About 8% of all male domestic sheep or rams display homosexual behavior. Even when left alone with ewes, they showed no interest and preferred other rams.

8. Giraffe

Male giraffes famously engage in male-male sexual behavior more often than in heterosexual sex. This involves extended foreplay, including aggressive “necking”, caressing, and courting each other, eventually leading to mounting and climax.

In one study, up to 94% of sexual encounters between giraffes occurred between two males. Only 1% of same-sex mounting incidents occurred between females.

9. Japanese Macaque

Female Japanese macaques engage in sexual behavior, not simply because acceptable male mates are unavailable or they are unmotivated to copulate. A study suggests that female Japanese macaques are most likely bisexual in orientation, not preferentially homosexual or heterosexual.

10. Laysan Albatross

On the island of Oahu in Hawaii, up to 31 % of the Laysan albatross pairs were female. These female-female pairs would even rear eggs throughout their lives.

11. Lion

Both male and female lions form homosexual bonds on occasion. Male lions pair-bond for some days and initiate homosexual activity. This includes affectionate nuzzling and caressing, finally leading to mounting and thrusting. Around 8% of lion mountings in the wild are among male-male pairs. Female homosexuality occurs commonly in captivity but has yet to be seen in the wild.

12. New Mexico Whiptail

New Mexico whiptails are an all-female lizard species that reproduce via parthenogenesis. These lizards simulate mating behavior with each other to increase fertility. One female lies on top of another, playing the male role, with the lizard on the bottom laying fertilized eggs. The partners switch off this role during their mating seasons.

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