Self-love in the animal kingdom.

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Lisa Winter

Guest Author

138 Self-love in the animal kingdom.

Despite what you might have been told, masturbation won't make you go blind or grow hair on your palms. It’s actually a pretty standard event in the animal kingdom -  mammals, birds, and amphibians have been observed engaging in some self-pleasure. YouTube has a ton of examples if you need to see it to believe it (strongly NSFW). Not every animal masturbates to climax, meaning it might not solely be done for pleasure. With primates ejaculation can flush out sperm that may have lost its motility, allowing for fresh sperm to lead the way and have a better chance of conception. For a number of animals, though, it's all about having a good time.

These are just a few examples of animals that have been caught jerkin’ the gherkin:



Last year, a journal from 1915 was released. It had been hidden for nearly a century due to content that was considered too scandalous for the time. George Levick, who was part of one of the first crews to explore the South Pole, wasn’t even able to publish his findings on the Adelie penguins’ mating habits because it had been deemed too scandalous and indecent. The “sexual depravity” of the penguins covered things like necrophilia, sexual intercourse with recently hatched chicks, and masturbation (though that really doesn’t seem so bad in comparison).

Adelies aren’t the only penguins that masturbate; many other species have been observed doing so. In order to stimulate themselves penguins (and most other birds) rub their cloaca against a rock or other object.



Maybe this doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but porcupines like it rough. Masturbation in porcupines was first described in 1946 by Albert R. Shadle in The Journal of Wildlife Management. Just before mating season, the female presented her genitals to the male, though they were in separate cages. The male’s response was about what you would expect: he began to hump everything.

In anticipating to mate the female, the male rubbed himself on his food and water dishes, the wire cage, and even held a stick with his two front hands and used it to rub his penis. Shadle also reported that the stick began to smell, due to the porcupine’s secretions.


Walruses have a ton of sex during the breeding season, and but they also masturbate to keep busy during the rest of the year. Most of the time, masturbating is accomplished by the male grabbing his penis with his flippers and getting the job done. Not only that, but they are also capable of giving themselves oral sex. Yes, the penis is long enough and even a large male is flexible enough to do the deed. Hopefully they are careful with the tusks!



Masturbation is fairly common among horses, even with geldings who will not reproduce. Males will rub their penises on their bellies for stimulation. This is done by rocking the hips back and forth so the penis rubs side to side, and they will also bounce up and down so it smacks them in the stomach. Male horses rarely masturbate to climax. This used to be considered a habit of horses that were not properly exercised, but research has shown it is a perfectly normal behavior.

Mares have also been known to masturbate by rubbing their genitals on posts and other objects, and ejaculate-like secretions have been observed.



Yes, even cute fluffy squirrels will take matters into their own paws and they even eat their own ejaculate when they are done. This might not just be for pleasure; it could be to increase their health. Squirrels are under heavy sperm competition, so it doesn’t make much sense for them to be wasting their resources. It was noted that squirrels actually masturbate more during mating season, which also goes against conventional wisdom.

New research says that squirrels might need to “flush the lines” in order to protect against sexually transmitted infections. This would explain why males will masturbate soon after having sex. The inside gets cleaned out with the ejaculate, while saliva helps wash the outside of the penis.


Dolphins have long penises that they can manipulate like it was an arm. Masturbation is fairly commonplace and there have even been reports of dolphins using live, wriggling eels to give some extra pleasure to the experience.


With that said, it might not be too much of a stretch that a dolphin has been spotted masturbating with a decapitated fish. That’s right, it is just going to town on the fish's dead, headless body. The dolphin looks like he's having a fantastic time. I’ll just let you have a look:


  • tag
  • sex,

  • dolphins,

  • masturbation,

  • penguins,

  • walruses,

  • squirrels,

  • porcupines