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Ever Wondered Why Snakes Have Two Penises?

The mystery of 'Hemipenis'!

Ever Wondered Why Snakes Have Two Penises?
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Snakes scare the hell out of most of the humans and primates. Their sharp fangs, the strange look, and potent venom, what can be scarier than a snake. Sharing a room with a snake can be your worst nightmare. The deadly venom of some of the species can kill you in seconds. But they do have a softer side when it comes to mating.

Snakes are actually beautiful. The way they move, hiss and expose their fangs. The sound of rattlesnakes especially is so enchanting. One of the beautiful things is a male snake penis. Well, it's a mystery, unlike mammals they have two penises. Ever wondered why? Have a look at the story!

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Do you know what this is?

Do you know what this is?

It seems gross but is the most beautiful thing on the earth. That's a snake penis. On second thought, you might wonder that those are two in number.

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Snakes and lizards have two penises, each individually called 'hemipenis'.

Snakes and lizards have two penises, each individually called 'hemipenis'.
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Each hemipenis is associated with a single penis. The sperm runs through a groove called sulcus spermaticus. Think of it as a canal rather than a pipe. Just like mammals, the wall of the female's reproductive tract forms the other part of the tube.

The 'lock and key' mechanism.

The 'lock and key' mechanism.
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Corresponding to the cloacal anatomy of female snakes of the same species, hemipenis often has various spines, knobs, branches, and other projections. This forms a sort of 'lock-and-key' function for the purpose of isolating species by discouraging mating among unrelated individuals.

But why two penis?

But why two penis?
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Female snakes can choose which male's sperm she uses to fertilize her eggs. A female may hence store the sperm for over a year.

The use of an alternate penis.

The use of an alternate penis.
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Male snakes use only one of the penises at a time. They appear to favor one over the other just like humans favor one hand over the other. Since females have the advantage of choosing the sperms, the male has to make sure he transfers a maximum number of sperms to a female. This would determine his reproductive success.

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But with other females.

But with other females.
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A bad snake may mate again with the same female or with the other one he comes across. In either of the cases, he uses the other penis as each penis receives a sperm from its corresponding testicle.

The mating process.

The mating process.
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As the female snake moves along, she leaves a trail of odor, and this is the way the male finds the female. After finding her, he bumps his chin on the back of her head, crawling on the top of her.

What is cloaca?

What is cloaca?
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A cloaca is a waste and reproductive fluid orifice. The male snake tries it's best to get the female to open her cloaca, in order to insert his penis and mate with her.

Male snakes do not reproduce in certain species.

Male snakes do not reproduce in certain species.
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Female Brahminy blind snakes reproduce only asexually by creating clones. The cell division begins in their eggs without fertilization from a male sperm.

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