In Germany's Bremerhaven zoo almost a third of the penguins have formed same sex relationships. So, when one pair of heterosexual Humboldt's penguins adamantly refused to incubate their egg the keepers turned in despair to Z and Vielpunkt, two gay males in a relationship and with an obvious hankering for adoption. The egg has now successfully hatched and the pair is looking after the chick as if it were their own. Oblivious to the raging debate around gay humans and adoption they seem to be doing a very good job so far. Gay (or homosexual if you prefer the technical term) behavior in the animal kingdom is more common than many think or choose to believe. So, what other gay animals can we proudly put on parade?
Another argument that has been raging has been the statistical fact that the majority of giraffe couplings are homosexual in nature. When observed in action, it seems that over ninety percent of mountings are between males. However, when the males come in to contact with females when they are in estrus then they invariably will go with them. This means, one can only suppose, that the majority of male giraffes are bisexual. It could be argued then that the gay behavior they exhibit is down to the fact that they are so constantly horny that they will go with each other when the females aren't having any of it. Bisexuals, huh, nature or just plain and simple sexual greediness? Discuss...
The Bottlenose Dolphin has long been shown to exhibit gay behavior. Male dolphins will regularly form lifelong pairings. When in their adolescence the males live in large same sex groups and gay activity is commonplace. Pairs will bond very closely and this often translates in to a lifelong pairing, exclusive to each other. Other male pairs will work together to follow a female, often for weeks. When she becomes sexually receptive then one of them will mate with her, then they will go their own male-male way again. These male couples are often observed engaging in pretty obvious (not to mention explicit) sexual play with each other. Scientists have argued that this homosexual behavior is vital and helps the species on an evolutionary basis. Those that play together, so it seems, stay together and when you are in a gang (even of two) then your chances of survival are so much higher.
Gay Snow Monkey
The Japanese Macaque, otherwise known as the Snow Monkey is best known for its habit of taking baths in the hot springs around its home habitat. The female monkeys, however, will form intense lesbian relationships that last for a few days to several months. It must be noted here that gay behavior has been noted in all of these animals mentioned in the wild, and has nothing to do with captive living, and apparently also has nothing to do with mates of the opposite sex being unavailable.
The Gay Seahorse
The Sea Life Aquariums of the UK did a survey in 2007 and discovered that their seahorse population was 'promiscuous, flighty and more than a little bit gay'. They recorded over three thousand sexual encounters and discovered that thirty seven percent of them were between same sex seahorses. The Australian Big Bellied variety was way out in the lead in terms of being indiscriminate about with which gender it mated. Generally, the scientists discovered that the seahorses were truly shameless and indiscriminate creatures, but noted that as no survey has been done in the wild, they are unsure whether this behavioral pattern would be reproduced there.
Carlos and Fernando are the names of two male flamingos that are resident at the Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust in the UK. They have been together for eight years and first came out, as it were, in 2001. They surprised the park workers by engaging in the usual elaborate mating rituals of the species and have been inseparable since then. The boys have even raised chicks together, but they were not gifted to them in the manner of the Humboldts of Germany. Naughty old Carlos and Fernando stole the eggs from their straight neighbors. Notably, straight flamingos stay together for the mating season and then go their separate ways, choosing a new partner the year after. Carlos and Fernando are unique as their love has endured the passing of the years.
The Gay Bonobo
Unusual among apes, the Bonobo has a matriarchal society and is one of the few species that can be labeled fully bisexual. Both females and males will engage in hetero and homosexual behavior. More than sixty percent of Bonobo sexual activity will be between two or more females. They have the highest homosexual pairing frequency of any animal. It seems that sex is their answer to reduce the chance of conflict and it is thought that sex is used to diffuse tension and to divert attention from things that may result in fighting. Make love, not war!