Urine For A Treat

Fact: Porcupines can piss up to 6 feet.

You might have the all-time high score on that game in you local pub’s urinal, but nature can always go one better – in this case its the water cannon of the male porcupine.

There’s not a lot left to the imagination here so i’ll come right out with it: male porcupines can piss over a massive 6 feet. That’s even more impressive considering it’s around three times their body length: scale it up and its a staggering 6 meters for your average human male.

This ability is no quirk of nature. Like most things in the natural world, male porcupines are gifted with this superpower solely for the purpose of helping them get laid. Many animals (ducks, we’re looking at you here) forgo any form of courting and just force the female into mating. However, the porcupine’s signature spiky quill is painful to be on the wrong side of and acts as an extremely effective rape deterrent for females, meaning the males must make a bit more of an effort to get them in the mood.

The porcupine method of persuasion is to soak the female head to toe in their urine. It might sound weird (or great, depending on what you’re into) but their urine contains potent pheromones that cause the female to into oestrus, making her fertile and more receptive to the male’s advances. Since female porcupines are only fertile for a 12-hour window once a year, this behaviour is really quite practical as it ensures there will be a willing male around to mate with during this window.

It’s an unusual tactic for getting someone into bed, but porcupine mating is all round bizarre: for example, the male’s penis is covered in spikes for some reason. However, all is forgotten when you hear that their babies are called porcupettes. Aww.

‘Another one of Mr Shaunak’s Little Bites of Science’
Image under Creative Commons License

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