Homosexual animal behavior

Homosexuality among animals

Examples of animals showing homosexual behavior

We present several examples of animals that prove how common homosexual behaviors are among animals. The list may have been much longer with hyenas, penguins or fruit flies. However, we would like to focus on other, equally interesting representatives of the animal kingdom. A common homosexual behavior of black swans was already described in the commentary to the article on Swans.

Homosexual animal behavior – Giraffes.



Among Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), there is a real orgy with 3-5 young males, sometimes 1-2 females. The sexual act itself does not aim at a typical penetration, it is rather similar to an oral sex. In a caption, males may perform penetration using the top of the head, which constitute nostrils. Males copulate sometimes with females of Amazonian dolphins known as tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatilis).

Several other dolphin species may behave in a similar way, however, it was especially observed in Bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus). Homosexuality includes both males and females.

When a female wants to have relations with other females, it directs its mouthparts towards the other female’s reproductive organs. Males rub their genitalia together while swimming, therefore they are often connected to each other with their abdomens. Sometimes they may as well have anal sex.

It is assumed that such behavior strengthens the bonds and cooperation skills, which are later used to protect juveniles and to find female partners.

Bottlenose males enter into homosexual intercourse with Atlantic spotted dolphin’s males (Stonella frontalis).

Homosexual animal behavior – The common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)


African bush elephants and Asian elephants display homosexual behavior, which includes rubbing and intertwining or putting trunks into a partner’s mouth.

Males tighten their bonds and show their affection this way. They usually lead a solitary life, however, sometimes they join the groups, which consist of one older male, and two younger ones. The members of such groups often have homosexual relationships, which may last for years. Females may behave in the same way.

Homosexual animal behavior – African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana).

Bonobo chimpanzees

Their sexual license is common and has not been thoroughly examined yet. In contrast to other primates, the species create the societies based on matriarchy and bisexuality. Within the society there are homosexual relations between females and males, however, the first ones occur much more often – approx. 60 % of all sexual activities are performed by at least two females.

It is stated that within the genus Bonobo homosexual relations occur the most often in comparison to other great apes and primates (including humans). The aim of such behavior is mainly to resolve disputes and to provide a relaxation.

Among Bonobo sex is a remedy for all problems and constitutes a form of leisure.

Homosexual animal behavior – Dwarf chimpanzee, bonobo (Pan panicus).


The king of the animal world may also display homosexual behavior. It concerns not only males but also females. They do not only have a sexual intercourse with the specimens of the same sex but may also perform such activities as caressing, hugging, licking.

Relations between females have not been observed in freedom, however, they occur when they are in a caption.

Homosexual behavior in animals – lions.


Sheep’s homosexual behaviors are as surprising as they may replace heterosexual relationships.

In approx. 8% of examined males, differences in the volume of the ovine Sexually Dimorphic Nucleus (oSDN) were detected in a specific brain region. In homosexual rams, this area was 50% larger than in heterosexual males. It was also related to the sex hormones that convert testosterone into estradiol (an estrogen form).

It turns out that sheep’s sexual preferences may be strictly connected to the structure of the brain and to the mechanisms that are responsible for estrogen’s synthesis. Nonetheless, the results have not been confirmed by scientists.

Homosexual animal behavior – sheep.

Other mammals

Among mammals, which display homosexual behavior, are macaques or baboons. Other mammals, which may be homosexual:

  • American bison
  • Bonobo chimpanzee
  • Bottlenose dolphin
  • Brown bear
  • Caribou
  • Cattle
  • Common marmoset
  • Dogs
  • Domestic cat
  • Domestic goat
  • Domestic horse
  • Elephant
  • European polecat
  • Fox
  • Giraffe
  • Inia dolphin
  • Japanese macaque
  • Koala
  • Lion
  • Orca
  • Racoon
  • Sheep
  • Spotted hyena
  • Tucuxi dolphin


Homosexual animal behavior – American bison.

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