Mysteries of the reproductive system of hyenas

Загадки репродуктивной системы гиен

Загадки репродуктивной системы гиен

Mysteries of the reproductive system of hyenas

Having met the hyena, you are not immediately able to understand, it’s a male or a female.

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Hyenas have very unusual reproductive system. It is so unique that people for centuries believed that the three species of hyenas (spotted, striped and brown), and earth wolf are hermaphrodites because both animals were mating the male genitals. It was assumed that they can change sex if necessary.

In fact, the female spotted hyenas, unlike other mammals, has the clitoris, surpassing in size the penis of the male. “It is very large and oblong in form, resembles the erect penis of the male. This body serves hyenas for urination, mating and birth of offspring,” says Kay Holekamp from Michigan state University in East Lansing.

It is the only mammal whose females have no external vaginal opening. During intercourse the clitoris of the female is in a sluggish condition, and the male must establish his own erect penis. This method of mating seems quite complex, but to give birth to a baby weighing 1.5 kilos through this hole even more difficult.

How could appear such an unusual sexual organ? Many biologists tried long and hard to find the answer to this question, but “nobody understood why he like that,” says Holekamp.

The area
The spotted hyena lives in semi-desert, Savannah and mountain forests of Africa from the Sahel to South Africa.

Protected status
The view is out of danger.

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