FYI: Female Kangaroos Have Three Vaginas

I think we can all agree that the big G has a sense of humor. Or a not-so-latent drinking problem. Earth's creatures run from the gamut from savage and sexy to sinister and strange. All those scales and claws, feathers and fangs, wings, fur, tails and talons make for a supreme spectacle. (Not that we're much better. Have you taken a look at a human penis recently? Silly, just silly.)

Speaking of genitals, we'd like to take a moment and talk about the lady kangaroo for a minute. But first let's get some background on this especially weird and wonderful creature.

Kangaroos are marsupials, a subset of mammals from the family Macropodidae. (Which, adorably, means "large foot.") Marsupials are distinctively defined by their pouches, in which they carry their young. "Well-known" marsupials include wombats, opossums, koalas, wallabies and Tasmanian devils . . . and then there's a host of extra-freaky folk like numbatsbandicootsbettongs, the bilbyquolls and the quokka, which looks like a cat-sized squirrel.

When kangaroos kick it all together in groups of 10 or more, they're called mobs; the pack protects the weaker members among them. 

But let's get to the good stuff.

When females are in heat—or oestrous—they roam about looking for some males to get. it. on. with. Kangaroo ladies aren't into the whole "will you still love me tomorrow" vibe; they only mate for the moment, in what's called "consort pairs," a fleeting tryst. Once a male kangaroo senses a lady might be in heat, he monitors her every movement a la Sting, sniffing her urine and exhibiting the flehman response. I think most of us think of horses doing this gesture—the whole grimacing, lips-pulled-back-exposing-front-teeth look—but a whole host of animals do it in order to transfer pheromones into their vomeronasal organ (a chemosensory organ) between the roof of their mouth an their palate.

Basically, all this smirking, sneering and lip-flapping lets the male know that the female 'roo is indeed up all night to get lucky. 

Then, like most males—homosapiens included—the male tries his best to woo her without startling her. Slow and steady pal, slow and steady. If the female doe not flee his advances he will paw, scratch and lick her (foreplay is pretty nice) and then they copulate. Hurray!

Here's the good part though, guys. With the exception of the eastern grey kangaroo and red kangaroo, marsupials have bifurcated penises with two ends that fit all snugly sweet into the females' three vaginas!

Basically, as this trusty diagram points out, the two-sided vaginas carry the sperm from the site of joy-blast to the two uteruses, while the center vagina is responsible for expulsing the joey out into the world.

And like a circa 1945 wet dream, lady kangeroos can be perpetually pregnant. (If they could bring you breakfast barefoot in bed, we'd really be cooking.)

While one embryo is kicking it in the uterus, another joey is developing in her pouch and yet another joey could be nursing. But unlike fundamentalists, kangaroos will only produce offspring if there are enough resources. During literal dry spells, males will not produce sperm and females will not conceive; enough rain has to fall to produce a delicious swathe of green vegetation to feed everybody.

If only humans had such a caveat. Le sigh.

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