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Science Tuesday, April 2nd 2013 at 5:55 pm

Aww, They Think They’re People: Male Bats Perform Oral Sex on Females

Earlier today, we brought you news of a sea lion that dances along to Backstreet Boys. This evening brings more news of animals partaking in an activity once thought to be the sole dominion of enlightened animals like us humans: Oral sex. Analysis of a colony of flying foxes in India found that males of the species perform oral sex on females. Yup, you read that right.

Researchers suggest that the male bats go down on their partners for pretty much the same reason anyone else does — to spice things up in bed and keep their partners around longer. That’s according to a recent study by researchers from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Publishing their paper (Cunnilingus Apparently Increases Duration of Copulation in the Indian Flying Fox) in the journal PLOS ONE, the team found that bat sex typically began with an average of 50 seconds of the male performing cunnilingus on the female he was wooing, demonstrating that bat courtships start at about date three. The initial cunnilingus was typically followed by 10-20 seconds of frenzied copulation, which was in turn followed by between 94 and 188 seconds of copulation. This, of course, is considered just good manners following a 20-second bout of copulation. Researchers did find, though, that pre-copulation oral sex resulted in longer periods of copulation between the bats.

Naturally, this series of events came as something of a surprise to researchers. After all, as they say in the introduction to the paper, “Apart from humans, oral sex as foreplay prior to copulation is uncommon in mammals.” Though it should be pointed out, it’s uncommon in a pretty depressing number of humans, too, am I right, folks?

One of the very few other animal species in the world known to engage in oral sex is the greater short-nosed fruit bat, Cynopterus sphinx, a species in which females perform oral sex on males prior to mating.

(via PLOS ONE, image courtesy of flickr)

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