The height of ro­mance

World of Animals - - Mada­gas­can Mys­tery -

The fossa’s mat­ing sys­tem is thought to be unique among car­ni­vores. When a fe­male is ready to mate she climbs to a spot high up in a tree where she’s vis­i­ble and mews to at­tract at­ten­tion. Males then con­gre­gate be­low and fight for ac­cess to her, break­ing their usual si­lence to howl at each other. The suc­cess­ful male clam­bers up for some pre­car­i­ous tree­top mat­ing, armed with a pe­cu­liar adap­ta­tion; his pe­nis is cov­ered in back­ward-point­ing spines that keep him at­tached to the fe­male un­til cop­u­la­tion is fin­ished. The fe­male can ac­cept mul­ti­ple suit­ors over sev­eral days be­fore va­cat­ing her perch for an­other fe­male.

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