>This holiday weekend, much fun has been had. Large amounts of food were also consumed by me. Unfortunately, that means spending lots of time in the throne room. In the time I am ruling, I read random parts of The New Book of Lists by David Wallechensky and Amy Wallace. (They are 2/3 of the team behind various other Book of Listses and even better, the People’s Amanacs, which are brilliant.)

During dessert on Thanksgiving, I made some crack about how a porcupine could be tied to a string and swung around like a mace. A discussion on porcupine mating ensued, and then yesterday while I was educating myself while waiting for my bowels to finish emptying, I came across a list called “11 Examples of Unusual Animal Mating Habits.” Oddly enough, porcupines were listed at #5. (Hippos, incidentally, were #2.) I found it fascinating, and want to share my new knowledge:

The answer to one of our oldest jokes, “How do porcupines do it?” “Veeery carefully!” is not quite true. The truth is more bizarre than dangerous. Females are receptive for a few hours a year. As summer approaches, young females become nervous and then excited. Next, they go off their food, stick close by males, and mope. [Blogger’s note: The previous two sentences sound a lot like the behavior of teenage girls, doesn’t it?] Meanwhile, the male becomes aggressive with other males and begins a period of carefully every place the female of his choice urinates, smelling her all over. This is a tremendous aphrodisiac. While she is sulking by his side, he brings to “sing.” When he is ready to make love, the female runs away if she is not ready. If she’s in the mood, they both rear up and face each other, belly to belly. Then males spray their ladies with a tremendous stream of urine, soaked their loved one from head to foot – the stream can shoot as far as seven feet. If they’re not ready, females respond by 1) objecting verbally, 2) hitting with front paws like boxers, 3) trying to bite, 4) shaking off the urine. When ready, they accept the bath. This routine can go on for weeks. Six months after the beginning of courtship, the female will accept any male she has been close to. The spines and quills of both go relaxed and flat, and the male enters from behind. Mating continues until the male is worn out. Every time he tries to stop, the female wants to continue. If he has given up, she chooses another partner, only now she acts out the male role… It is advised never to stand close to a cage that contains courting porcupines.

So not only is it interesting to read about golden showers in the animal kingdom, but also very practical wisdom for those who hang out near porcupines in captivity. As an aside, one might also take this advice to heart when dealing with hippos, as female hippos attract male hippos by peeing and shitting in a pile, then twirling its tail to spread it far and wide.

Take that, UrbanDictionary.com!