3 min read

Um, Female Hyenas Have a Fake Penis

<p><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/berniedup/6044842093/sizes/z/" target="_blank">Flickr/berniedup</a></p>

Here's something you don't hear every day.

Female spotted hyenas have what's known as a "pseudo penis."

It's really a clitoris that has grown up to 7 inches outside the body, making it resemble the real thing. To see it in all its glory, click here.

The females have higher levels of testosterone than the males.

That hormone causes them and their pseudo penis to grow larger, also making them the more dominant sex.

These hyenas have a vagina that can't be seen from the outside.

So they urinate, mate and give birth through the pseudo penis.

Due to the size and shape of the clitoris, sex can get a bit tricky.

And, as the less dominant of the two sexes, the males have to tread lightly when trying to mate.

Hyena cubs have to pass through the pseudo penis while being born.

It's quite painful for the mother and often tragic for her kids. Sadly, about 60 percent of the cubs suffocate on the way out.

Endocrinologists once found a way to block the male hormone from spreading in females.

It was an attempt to discover how the pseudo penis forms, but the enlarged organ still developed to great lengths even without it.

When hyenas become sexually active, they engage in "greeting ceremonies."

During these ceremonies, both sexes develop phallic erections.

Confused? You're not alone.

A zoo in Japan once spent four years trying to mate a pair of hyenas before realizing they were both males, due to how similar a female pseudo penis is to a real one.

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