Asymmetrical Information - Megan McArdle

11.23.12

Your Friday Brain Candy

Everything you ever wanted to know about porcupine sex but were afraid to ask

I give you: porcupine sex.  Seriously, it's fascinating

The waiting game is now on. Because olfactory signaling is an imperfect science—who knows how long it’ll take for the guys to show up after a female releases her musk—guarding can begin several days before estrus. Though the male can’t force the female to have sex with him, he does have one move that might help get her in the mood.

There’s not a lot I can do to make this sound romantic, so I’ll just say it. The male porcupine rears up on his hind legs, walks toward the female with a fully erect penis, and proceeds to soak her in urine with a spray forceful enough to shoot 6 feet.

Even more amazing, Roze has witnessed in the tree canopy a male firing off salvos from one branch at a female on another. “It’s not like a boy peeing,” says Roze. “It’s more like an ejaculation, and it’s definitely the strangest part of porcupine courting.”

Think of this when you are tempted to complain that your husband has left the toilet seat up.