We were sure it'd be impossible to find a more horrifying mating ritual than the bees, but we think we've got it. You can thank the salmon. You've probably heard tale of how the salmon swim upstream to mate, but that's not painting the true, terrifying picture.
Let's say you and a bunch of friends make a journey to your childhood hometown for an orgy (look, you need to accept that the animal kingdom just has looser rules here). But the trip is dangerous--you'll have to trek across a wilderness filled with enemies, and the air at the destination will kill you if you breathe too much of it. So it's actually kind of like the fellowship in Lord of the Rings traveling to Mordor, only instead of saving Middle Earth, you're looking to grab lots o' strange titty.
By the time you make it to the destination, the trip has been so hard on you and your companions that everyone is wounded or literally rotting on their feet. You've been reduced to a whole bunch of horny zombies.
Oh, Google, you so crazy!
This mass of horny zombies congregates in a disgusting, debauched tangle of genitals and rotting flesh. And as soon as everyone is done sexing it up, the entire undead swinger's convention just drops dead.
Why in the hell do salmon go through this? Well, they're born in fresh water, but migrate to the sea as they mature. However, at some point in their adult life, a primal desire drives them to swim back to the freshwater they were born in to mate and lay their eggs. Even more amazing, the drive is synchronized in every generation, so everybody you grew up with as a salmon just starts leaving around the same time.
Something similar happens every May in small town Oklahoma.
In order to survive the journey and deal with the change from salt to freshwater, a lot of hormonal changes take place. Unfortunately, these changes practically destroy their bodies, turning them into zombie fish. What with all the swimming through treacherous, brackish water, surrounded by predators like bear, all while your own body starts shutting down...it's a wonder any of them even make it at all.
And once it's done, they all just die, like some kind of underwater Jonestown. The next generation will benefit by the increase in nutrients in the stream caused by a whole lot of parents-turned-fertilizer, ensuring that the next generation can live on and...die horribly as well?
"It's a life."
Could it possibly get any worse? Oh yeah, it can: sex for salmon is external and without anything we humans would regard as pleasure, which is why you should never even want to date a mermaid.
If only the other part was a girl.
To get a picture of the weird-ass dating scene for the triggerfish, we need you to think back to the time when you were an inmate in that all-women's prison. If you've never done time in one because you're not a woman, there have been multiple movies about the subject on Cinemax that you can refer to.
But you really shouldn't.
In that setting, like a regular prison, there's one woman who's bigger, stronger and meaner than everyone else. She is the baddest dude in a prison where there are no dudes.
Then, one morning she wakes up, goes to the ladies room (as if there's any other) to freshen up. Suddenly, her reflection is different; she is changed. She now has a five o' clock shadow and a David Hasselhoff-esque physique. What we're trying to say is that, by being the manliest of the women, her coin purse has magically become a burrito.
In triggerfish, there are no born males. Instead, females live in a large social group with a pretty simple hierarchy. Then, eventually, the toughest and most masculine female in a group transforms into a male. All the females in "her" vicinity become her harem.
If she dies, the second-toughest female transforms. The process is called "protogyny," which is basically Latin for "Transforming Cooter."
The advantages of protogyny is that instead of a bunch of males competing for dominance while the females invest in eggs, the most viable females will produce sperm and impregnate the other females. While all the other females invest energy developing embryos, the toughest female can use all her energy defending the group; because she doesn't develop embryos anymore, she makes sperm (a lot easier than being pregnant).
The triggerfish isn't the only protogynous creature, but it's the most insane, because the whole thing seems to be based on attitude. By having "balls" the fish gets actual balls.
Just one more way fish are better than rednecks.
If you polled most men as to what job would make a woman great in bed, chances are "gymnast" and "yoga teacher" would make it at the top. Statistically it's very unlikely anyone reading this has ever actually dated a world-class gymnast, but, you know, there is such a thing as imagination. It just seems like there are lots of, uh, possibilities.
Which brings us to the Chinese Fruit Bat. The female can do something that, as far as we know--and perhaps someone will link a video in the comments that proves us wrong--no human has ever done. Not even in porn. Because while "fruit bat" doesn't sound all that exotic, their mating habits are like something out of some kind of porno Cirque du Soleil.
First of all, the fruit bat is one of the only creatures other than humans that engages in oral sex, so it's already kind of unique. But what happens is the bats have actual intercourse--upside down, mind you--and during the act the female can bend her head down and give the guy oral pleasure... while he is still having sex with her. He doesn't stop the action. She can do both. Simultaneously.
Honestly, what would you even call that? Fifth base? A half n' half at once?
Wait a second. We just now figured out why vampires transform into bats.
For more unrelenting animal sexiness, check out The 15 Most Bizarre Animal Mating Rituals and 5 Animals That Can Do Amazing Things ... With Their Penises.
And stop by Linkstorm to find out which animals were getting freaky on Noah's Ark.
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Know way too much about a random topic? Create a topic page and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!