It seems like a random choice to write about locusts, tortoises and humans but as I only ever had the opportunity to observe the mating behaviors of these three species, I decided to say a few words about what I’ve seen (and heard).
I encountered a red locust during a stroll on a South African farm. It was massive and freaked me out as pretty much any insect apart from regular size ant does. I was wearing my anti-cobra shoes (sneakers covering my ankles and no, I don’t have any proof they actually would protect me from cobras) but I didn’t expect to bump into what you can see on the image above. The huge insect turned out to be two specimen sitting on the top of one another and doing the obvious. I have heard nothing at all, no sounds of pleasure or pain. There was also no movement. As I’ve learned by the means of research, when the male locust sits on the top of the female he inserts sperm into her via his abdomen. The sperm is transformed into eggs which the locust female has to then lay for 10-20 days depending on surrounding conditions. Not a very romantic mating ritual but I’m sure many women would be happy with an option of an express pregnancy.
The coitus of a tortoise was something I wish I have not seen. I was out on a romantic walk in a botanical garden when we saw two tortoises moving at a pace that was contrary to the proverbial slowness. It quite soon turned out to be a part of a mating behavior in which a smaller, female tortoise was running away from a male representative of the species. Eventually the male managed to mount the female and started to perform clearly copulative movements. She didn’t stop running away which was a grotesque view. At some point she managed to get him of her and hide in her shell. The male tortoise wasn’t easily discouraged, though. He kept trying to get on top of her, repeating the move we all know from life and porno movies. I was quite disturbed by the whole scene as it looked like the male’s advances were truly unwanted. The impression was intensified by the sounds in which the female was squealing (and I can swear I could hear “help me” whispered under her breath) and the male was grunting with effort. I was even thinking about interrupting the unromantic scene, but google informed me that it’s just the way in which tortoises mate. Disturbed as I felt I let the nature take its course. Apparently the ritual can last for a day (!) and nobody has time to watch that!
Last but not least, let’s discuss briefly the mating rituals of humans. The practical part is quite easy and if you don’t know how it works blame your parents for not telling you about the bees and co. Still, humans are quite complicated when it comes to their sexual habits because we want more from a partner than just someone we can produce an offspring with and relationships…Oh boy! We’ve been running this blog for almost two years and we’re nowhere close to figuring humans. What is more, we are privileged to experience pleasure from sex which is quite uncommon in the animal world. And yet, we’re trying to spoil it for ourselves. Religions favorite restrictions are on sex. The Catholic Church wants us not to use contraception and just have sex when we reproduce. Pleasure may happen but solely when we’re trying to conceive. Other denominations and religions can be less strict but they still want us to have fun with one partner in life at the most. Even for non-religious folks there are so many limitations! Double standards for males and females, moral judgments, guilt, guilt, guilt everywhere! Sure sex was meant as the nature’s way to procreate but we do have overpopulation and it’s not necessary from the point of view of the survival of human race for everyone to reproduce. We’re really just the worst because of these overgrown brains of ours!
I hope you enjoyed my slightly different post today, Dear Rinser! If you have any comments or observations about mating habits of animals or anything else to say please free feel to comment.