A quick list of some of nature’s most curious phalluses, indigenous the echidna’s four-headed unit to the dolphin’s prehensile member


*

*

Echidnas have a four-headed penis, though only two top are placed to usage at a time. Pen_ash via Pixabay under
*

Birds have actually them, bees have actually them, even continual old fleas have actually them, yet in the animal kingdom, no penis is exactly like the next. Across vastly different varieties and ecosystems, distinct environmental pressure have enabled creatures of many species to evolve an array of shapes and also sizes—from the electric blue cock of the leopard cheese to the blue whale’s ten-foot phallus.

You are watching: How big is a elephant penis

The more scientists learn around penises, the much more they realize just how varied sex guts are. Simply ask Emily Willingham, a biologist and also journalist who been examining penises because that over a decade. She book, Phallacy: Life Lessons from the pet Penis, struggle shelves in September. Phallacy plunges readers into the wild and wacky human being of pet genitalia while experimenting the society and social significance that penises as icons of power and also identity.

Penises have been a longstanding subject of scientific fascination, and also they’re far more studied 보다 vaginas. One explanation for this research study gap, says Willingham, is “because that who has been asking the questions until rather recently, and who"s been deciding how those questions have to be answered.”

Typically, a prick helps male pets reproduce sexually through a female—however, exceptions exist. Gender and sex seldom fit right into tidy categories and also animal penises are no different. Plenty of of the creatures pack the many surprising phalluses space hermaphrodites, definition they likewise have female reproductive organs.

“There"s not a binary that is categorically one point or the other once it comes to genitalia,” claims Willingham.

These blurred lines regularly give increase to nature"s most fascinating sexual organs. Right here are eight penises that room as cool and surprising as the creatures that wield them:

Heads above the Rest

*
Echidnas have a four-headed penis, though only two top are placed to use at a time. Pen_ash via Pixabay

Sometimes one just isn’t enough. Or therefore it appears for the echidna, a spiny egg-laying mammal, i m sorry has developed a four-headed penis. During copulation, echidna penises operate on a part-time schedule: half the cock temporarily shuts under while the other two heads are responsible for fertilization. Yet those extra two heads no there simply to show off. Following time the echidna mates, he’ll alternative which fifty percent he uses.

By shutting down fifty percent of their dick at a time, masculine echidnas to the right perfectly through the female’s two-branched reproductive tract. This creature’s coat of quills nothing spare that is genitalia, which features penile spines—a horrifying regular trait in the pet kingdom (even people once had actually them) which may increase fertilization success or trigger ovulation.

Getting Handsy

*
dolphin have particularly dexterous phalluses. Brent Durand / Getty images

Dolphins are recognized for their intelligence, promiscuity and absurdly dexterous penises. They have actually a prehensile penis, meaning it have the right to swivel, grab and grope, much like a human being hand. A prehensile penis helps males navigate the complex, labyrinth-like reproductive tracts of woman dolphins.

Dolphins don’t simply use their penises for baby-making, either. Bottlenose dolphins generally copulate for pleasure, and often v members that the same sex. Dolphin sex doesn’t last long, only about ten seconds, however males deserve to ejaculate multiple times an hour.

Fencing with a Phallus

*
This flatworm engages in dick fights. Jens Petersen via Wikimedia Commons under

En garde! Many pets use their penises because that love, however flatworms additionally use theirs to fight.

Like numerous organisms v intriguing phalluses, flatworms that interact in prick fights space hermaphrodites—just one example that showcases how a sex binary system fails to account for the range, fluidity and diversity of numerous organisms. Some varieties of flatworm connect in this duel to check out who have the right to inseminate the other.

Their two-headed penises resemble small swords, and battles have the right to last for approximately an hour as they take transforms attempting to stab the other. The winner pierces the meat of the various other flatworm come deposit your sperm, miscellaneous scientists refer to as “traumatic insemination.”

Mating can be competitive, through a single flatworm fertilizing another. In other cases, favor with the tiger flatworm, they have the right to play both roles: each flatworm gives and receives sperm native its partner.

Whale Hello There!

Blue whales have actually the largest dick in the animal kingdom—around eight come ten feet. NOAA photograph Library via flickr under

Blue whales room the largest creature to ever before roam the earth, and also they certainly have the phallus to match. Blue whale penises variety between eight and ten feet, through a foot-long diameter. Every of that is testes along can weigh up to 150 pounds and can ejaculate gallons of sperm in a single go.

Whale penises are so famously oversized that in Moby Dick, Herman Melville says using the skin that a sperm whale’s phallus as a floor-length apron to remain tidy while skinning the remainder of the whale. We’ll have to take Melville’s indigenous on the one.

Always in ~ Reach

*
Barnacles have actually penises almost eight times your body length. Stux via Pixabay under

The blue whale might have the world’s best penis, yet size is relative. Barnacles have the biggest penis-to-body size ratio, v genitalia practically eight-times their complete body length.

Barnacles room stuck in place for life, so they use their super-long penises to with other nearby crustaceans, thoughtlessly depositing sperm inside their neighbors. Choose flatworms, barnacles are hermaphrodites that can fertilize others, it is in fertilized or both.

Scientists have discovered that barnacle cock features adjust based on whereby they live. Those in rougher waters have actually shorter, stouter penises, while those in calmer areas have long, slim penises.

If humans had actually the exact same penis-to-body-sized ratio as barnacles, our penises would be as long as a humpback whale, so around 50 feet in length, says Willingham.

Armored and Amorous

*
Bed bugs stab their partner throughout copulation. Centers for condition Control and Prevention via Wikimedia Commons under

Bed bugs are famed for their aggressive, stabbing sex. Sometimes, overzealous males death females with their saber-like penis in the process.

Willingham defines that this violent process has led to bedbugs to evolve “something very vagina-like where they tend to acquire stabbed.” This unique less-armored area of their abdomen might minimize damage as the masculine injects his sperm into the female’s circulatory system.

Gender-Bending Genitals

*
Females of this cave insect varieties wield a penis-like organ. Biodiversity legacy Library via Wikimedia Commons under

Not much shocks Willingham around animal penises anymore, however she claims she to be surprised to learn about a microscopic, eyeless cave insect, i m sorry upends exactly how scientists recognize sex.

Males of the varieties have a vagina-like pouch containing sperm, if females have actually a special penis-like organ that penetrates and also vacuums increase sperm native the male.

Unlike other species that use a similar process—butterflies, mites, beetles—males the these varieties don’t have a similar penetrative organ, only the females do, claims Willingham.

A momentary Tool

*
This sea slug has actually a single-use penis. Young name Dupont via Wikimedia Commons under

Meet Chromodoris reticulata, a form of sea slug, that has to reckon through a scary reality: sex method saying good-bye to their penis. At least, for the day.

Chromodoris reticulata space hermaphrodites and fertilize each other simultaneously throughout sex. Each has a three-centimeter-long schlong, however they only expand a centimeter that their prick when copulating. After ~ sex, they melted their single-use cock into the ocean’s abyss. Yet this ns doesn’t median their sex life is over: they have at least two much more disposable cock segments covert away. As shortly as 24 hours later, the slug will be ago in action.

How"s it Hanging?

*
Leopard slugs sports giant electric blue penises. Cimabue via Pixabay under

Sometimes, penises attitude logistical challenges. That is definitely the situation for the leopard slug, i beg your pardon is so well-endowed that it needs to go to excessive measures to reproduce.

Mating leopard slugs dangle native branches by a common rope the their own slime through their penises hanging below. As hermaphrodites, these slug inseminate every other during sex so, as soon as the activity starts, 2 penises room on display. And also their penises are quickly spotted: They’re electric blue and roughly the dimension of the slugs themselves.

“You just need to walk look that one up,” claims Willingham. You can see a video of the slugs in activity here.

See more: How Many Quarts In One Liter, How Many Liters Will A Quart Hold

The act is a confusing tangle, but nothing goes to waste. As soon as copulation is complete, one companion slurps under the slimy sex rope as a post-coitus snack.