How animals in the concrete jungle are dating in the wild

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Mary Stein found these alligator lizards in a backyard in the town of Avalon on Catalina Island. When first found, there was a second male trying to interrupt these two but he wandered off. Photo by Mary Stein.

Pandemic or not, animals are going to find a way to get down and procreate. Whether it’s a mountain lion braving a Southern California freeway to find a mate or snails looking for love, creatures are mating in the wild. 

In some cases, by using some non-traditional methods. “The common garden snail is a hermaphrodite, which means it has both male and female sex organs,” says Lila Higgins in her book Wild L.A. 

She’s the senior manager for community science at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and explains that, “when a pair comes together, each harpoons the other with a love dart, which introduces hormones to induce mating. To reproduce, they intertwine their bodies and extend their penises from behind their heads to exchange sperm. Mating can take anywhere between four and twelve hours.”


“The common garden snail is a hermaphrodite, which means it has both male and female sex organs.” says Lila Higgins. Photo courtesy of Lila Higgins.

Credits

Guest:
Lila Higgins - Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Host:
Steve Chiotakis

Producers:
Christian Bordal, Jenna Kagel, Kathryn Barnes