PODCAST Let’s talk about sex 6/6: In the zoo, the animals live in unbridled sexuality

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In zoo animals, sexuality serves mainly for reproduction. But, like people, they love each other, flirt and give each other pleasure. Pay attention to the sex life of animals at the African Safari Zoo.

You might think that summer brings animals together, but this is not the case. Their passion knows no seasons. Proof of this is the African Safari Zoo in Plaisance du Touche, near Toulouse, where we booked a naughty visit with Sylvie Clavel, the vet.

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There are all genders in nature

For twenty years, Sylvie has pampered the sixty-eight species that live together in the park. “There are as many sexualities as there are races,” she assures, before responding to some of the insights she received. Yes, rabbits live up to their reputation, and the panda, on the contrary, is not very focused on it.” In this zoo, the visit begins by car, with a safari. You can see elephants whose copulation, which is very time-consuming, lasts only about ten seconds. Then, since pregnancy is two years, and raising an elephant is very long, couples breed only once every six to seven years. In a nearby aviary, many birds are splashing around a pond. Birds, with the exception of ducks, swans and ostriches, do not have penises. “It is impossible not to talk about the gender of animals, let alone the gender of big cats,” says a veterinarian who monitors the lions’ territory. In Pleasants we have a male for several females to avoid fighting. They share and have their warmth at the same time. During mating, the lion holds the neck of his partner with his teeth to calm her. Attention is necessary, as penetration is very painful for the lionesses.

Eccentric behavior

“Look at those kangaroos,” Sylvie points to the door. They are exhibitionists. In the animal world, any oddities are allowed.” Absolute monogamy, as in monkeys, polygamy in lions, polyandry, all types of behavior occur in nature as well as in captivity. “Our pink flamingos mate in groups. In some parks they put up mirrors to create a mass effect and reproduction took place.” On the contrary, the fervor of some species should be limited. Verkhnyaks have reports of incredible violence. It is necessary to ensure that nothing threatens the male and his child. “Our zoo must adhere to the European breeding plan. For example, we currently have to control hippo births. For this, we create separate enclosures or contraceptives. On the other hand, there is no need to interfere with rhinos. “We have an old couple here who have platonic love. Like cheetahs, if there is no competition, their desire dies down and the female’s menstrual cycle stops.” A reaction that can lead to the idea that animal sexuality is more than just a means of reproduction. A theory supported by the prerogative of masturbation. Just like humans, animals also enjoy solitary pleasure and are not lacking in imagination. Even if females are available, macaques are not shy stroking each other. A way for males to regain control, because in most cases it is the females who choose the lucky man and the moment of coitus. “For example, a female cheetah makes life difficult for her suitors. At the moment, we give her four. Hopefully she’ll like one, but it’s not a win. If one of them gets too close when she’s indecisive, she can be very aggressive.”

Inappropriate curiosity

Porcupines in action at Plaisance-du-Touch Zoo.
African Zoo Safari

The sex life of porcupines worries visitors the most. “We are regularly asked how they manage to reproduce without harming themselves with their spikes,” laughs the veterinarian. The answer is yes. A pig-porcupine will send a powerful stream of urine at the female, who will decide whether to allow herself to be seduced by the rodent, and then spread her feathers. .

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