We know that in the animal kingdom, sex really is survival. But how come the Northern Quoll, a native of Australia, takes it too far, valuing sex even above sleep?
The Northern Quoll is the smallest of the Quoll species in Australia. Quolls are relatively small carnivorous marsupials, once considered marsupial Cats or Foxes, but later on were called Quolls so as not to mislead people about what they really were.
As their names suggest, they inhabit the northern regions of Australia. They are about the size of a small Cat, hence the fact that they have been called as such.
And one thing that Northern Quolls are known for is that their males really, seriously expire after the mating season.
TOO MUCH CAN BE TOO MUCH
So, apparently, Northern Quolls die from sleep deprivation – because they, ahem, rock and roll all night.
Yes, folks, they go into overdrive to make sure their species survives. As Cosmos Magazine’s website writes about it, sleep deprivation can be a root cause for the shortened lifespan of male Quolls.
Northern Quolls spend so much time and energy pursuing female companionship that, to quote the Cosmos article, “they let themselves go.” The article further describes that this behavior makes them prone to a cascading set of deadly consequences, such as using less time to look for food and being less vigilant about predators lurking about.
RAINING CATS AND TOADS?
But the Northern Quoll’s frantic reproductive behavior may be for the best. Northern Quolls are the smallest of the Australian Quoll species, and they are threatened by larger predators, such as feral Cats. However, their survival and territory are also being taken over by an unlikely enemy: Cane Toads. These lethal leapers are poisonous, and many carnivorous or omnivorous predators – including the Quolls – die from eating the Toads’ eggs, tadpoles, and full adult members.
Even worse, Cane Toads also compete for the same scavenged food base of others like the Quoll, such that a Quoll’s reckless behavior — thanks to lack of rest or sleep — might lead to fatal choices more frequently than usual, or they may end up losing to the Toads when it comes to picking up scavenged food.
In a way, the super libido of the Northern Quoll makes it possible for the species to survive the onslaught of other new animals into their territory — but it carries a heavy price.
IS LIFE A RAT, ER, QUOLL RACE?
The idea of dying from exhaustion because of the mating season may seem extreme, but it also points to the fact that reproduction is one of the main goals of life – that the species survives and even thrives because it can bring about the next generation.
It also means that evolution allows certain traits and physical features to develop as survival responses. If our small friend the Northern Quoll is locked into a life of mating and then dying for their efforts, it reflects on how the Quoll is actually a winner, even if it means that they’ll die in the first place.
SPEED DATING AMONG NORTHERN QUOLLS!
Aside from being known as the marsupial Foxes or Cats of Australia, here are a few more details about our Down-Under Romeos.
STRANGE SEXY TIMES IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Now, death by having too much sex may sound like a dream come true and, admittedly, the Northern Quolls may have it good in this case. Here are some other members of the animal kingdom whose activities make the Northern Quoll look… kinda okay.
BITE YOUR HEAD OFF, MAN
Praying Mantises are the most infamous when it comes to extreme sexual activities, with Ms. Mantis literally having the Mister on a, er, plate.
However, Mr. Mantis may have one up on our Northern Quoll. Some male mantises can keep on doing the thing they do even if the female has already eaten their heads.
As the movie goes, “Death is only the beginning.” According to a PBS article, this may have an evolutionary advantage because the female is well-fed and will therefore lay more and healthier eggs.
Jeez, why don’t they get a respectable job and a big paycheck?
The male Praying Mantis still keeps going even after the female has bitten off his head.
LEAVING THE JEWELS BEHIND
It seems that guys among the Orb-Web Spiders have heard how their Mantis friends have it rough, so they’ve come up with a questionable way to avoid being on the missus’ menu.
Once the couple proceeds with mating, the males have a mechanism where they can leave their “equipment” behind. The equipment keeps on working until it’s done its job, after which the female can remove it.
While survival is usually assured, it’s a question of “WHY?????”
Females can remove the males’ reproductive organs after mating — this is supposed to be a good thing as the males’ lives are spared.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH AUSTRALIA???
Maybe it’s the challenging environment and biosphere in Australia, but a cousin of the Northern Quoll, the Antechinus, is probably even worse than the Northern Quoll when it comes to being suicidal Romeos.
Multiple marathon mating sessions that can go as long as 14 hours a stretch end up with Antechinus males having sores, losing hair, and even going blind.
And then they die from stress burning out their immune systems.
Seriously, I think some members of the Dasyuridae family have to learn how to chill out a bit.
The Antechinus, a cousin of the Northern Quoll, can go on 14-hour mating marathons that may lead to blindness and death.
Now, most people see pigs as either cute or not beautiful at all. However, when it comes to their sex life, they apparently are winners.
For one, pig equipment is shaped like corkscrews, which means that during the act itself, they have to make semi-rotary motions to “lock in” with their mates.
As if that weren’t enough to blow our minds, the Guinness World Records has the domestic pig Sus scrofa domesticus as having the longest-lasting orgasms among mammals on record, with an average of 30 minutes, but with, uhm, happy endings that can last as long as 90 minutes.
That may or may not change the term “You’re such a pig!”
Pigs can have 90-minute orgasms — probably a record in the Animal Kingdom.
DOLPHINS. NO, REALLY.
Dolphins aren’t on this list because they’re *that* extreme, but because the female may have an adaptation that can prevent unwanted pregnancies from less-than-favored males.
Female Dolphins have very complex structures for their vaginas – in a Discover Magazine article, experts Dara Orbach and Patricia Brennan suspect that this helped female Dolphins control who gets to be the father.
However, evolution has produced a way to help Dolphins become would-be daddies, too: Dolphin penises in some species are particularly large. When it comes to Dolphins, it seems that they developed equipment to antagonize each other.
Yup, it looks like Dolphins aren’t as “good” as they are portrayed in pop culture.
Complex reproductive organs that help female Dolphins choose the father of their offspring put them on this list… among other things.
THANK YOU, BUT I HAVE A HEADACHE
Some animals, it turns out, have minimal sex lives – or can do everything on their own. Here are some of these unromantic members of the Animal Kingdom.
PANDAS PREFER TO CHILL
According to a New York Times article, Pandas are only viable for mating once a year… for 24 to 72 hours. As such, any male Pandas around better get their game on as fast as possible within that period.
Worse, male Pandas better do it right because even within that brief time, female Pandas are very, very picky about who they would like to mate with.
BIRDS WITHOUT THE BEES
Let’s talk about having no daddies – in the Animal Kingdom, this is known as parthenogenesis, or the ability to create female offspring without fertilization!
Normally, this only happens with simpler lifeforms, like plants and invertebrates (animals with no internal backbone). However, recent studies suggest that animals with backbones can have children without having sex, such as Komodo Dragons, Birds, and Snakes.
It seems that there are biological processes that these back-boned animals use that allow them to have kids without doing the deed.