Nice Tail

A Queerty Menagerie of Gay Animals

061116_gay_animals_vlg1pwidecWhat’s a gay elephant to do? It’s not enough to spend your life trapped in a crappy Polish zoo, but to have your local city councilman go after you because you won’t stud out is enough to make you stomping mad.

That’s exactly what happened to Ninio, an elephant at the Poznan Zoo, who councilman Michal Grzes is complaining “We didn’t pay 37 million zlotys for the largest elephant house in Europe to have a gay elephant live there.” But don’t fret Ninio. You’re not alone. Gay animals are everywhere (we even have questions about the President’s new pooch).

Scientists have found over 15,000 species that engage in some form of homosexuality. Step right into our bestiary of gay members of the wild kingdom, because being gay is a natural thing, kids.


626x600ftpenguinstempDenizens of the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, Wendell & Cass are media darlings. Penguins are monogamous and despite the fact that the duo are both boys, zookeepers say they’re deeply devoted to each other– and that they keep the neatest nest of all the penguins in their care. Gay penguins, it turns out, are very common.

The Central Park Zoo has a pair that’s been together for six years named Roy & Silo, though Silo has shown some bisexual tendencies and has shacked up with a female named Scrappy from time to time. Since there are no gay penguin adoption agencies, Roy & Silo took to stealing eggs from the hetero couples. The zookeepers solved the problem by giving the couple an egg-shaped rock, proving that while they’re a loving, caring couple, they’re not exactly all that bright.


In the dolphin world, homosexuality isn’t just common, it’s the norm. Male dolphins pair up and take care of each other (as well as engage in sexual rubbing) and only hook-up with the ladies during mating season. Occasionally, dolphin couples will have underwater orgies with each other.

Dolphins aren’t the only marine mammal that gets its gay on– male killer whales are often observed riding each other for fun, as do gray whales and manatees.

Bonobo Chimpanzees

gay_bonobo_chimp_03_10Some of our closest relatives, bonobos are almost uniformly bisexual, willing to get in on just about anytime, anywhere. Nearly 2/3 of the same-sex action is on the part of the females, showing that the idea that male of the species isn’t always the hornier.

Though this has a lot to do with bonobo society, which is matriarchal and which often treats sex as an expression of dominance. In fact, all apes exhibit various forms of homosexuality, including the annoying talking ones.

Amazingly (or unsurprisingly, depending on how easily shocked you are), the bonobo bisexuality issue is something that Fox News has weighed in on.

Spotted Hyenas

spotted_hyena2Since ancient times, humans have been fascinated by the hyena’s sexual habits. Ovid thought hyenas constantly changed their gender and the animal was frequently associated with prostitution and sexuality throughout the middle ages.

The reason for all this superstition is that female hyenas have a sex organ that well– looks like a penis. The hyenas that fair the best in their matriarchal society are the ones that are exposed to the most testosterone, regardless of gender. Female hyenas are often larger and more aggressive than the males, as a result– and not shy about getting it on with other lady hyenas, either.

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  • Wayne

    It’s Natural.

  • Alexander

    It’s Nurtural.

  • Dana

    Don’t forget swans and koalas. Biologist Bruce Bagemihl calls it “biological exuberance” in his book of the same name.

  • AJ

    The dolphin near the end of that clip was a whore.

  • John Santos

    That picture of the giraffes is adorable 8^)

  • alan brickman

    I guess the animals don’t have an animal pope saying this is wrong…

  • Mark M

    It makes sense, in pack animals, for a small percentage of the adults to be homosexual- so that they can contribute to the pack’s kids instead of making their own.

  • rogue dandelion

    @Mark M: in wolves, no one except the alpha male and female are allowed to produce pups– I am guessing they find other ways to fulfill their desires(and i don’t mean oral)

  • nikko


  • Leisha Camden

    Grzes is even stupider than you think … since Nino is only 10 years old and therefore has not yet reached his sexual maturity. So obviously it’s years too soon to say whether he’s straight or gay. :-)

    Also, it makes little sense to call his new home ‘crappy’ and then go on to quote facts about it that reveal that it is in fact the largest elephant setup in Europe, brand new and very expensive. Kind of flies in the face of what you just said there. And it’s ‘how they *fare*’, not ‘how they *fair*. Just sayin’. :-)

  • The Gay Numbers

    If you mention homosexuality in other species to queer theorists or fundamentalists (difficult to refute examples of biological components to sexuality in nature), the typical response is to ignore that and fall back on philosophy, psychology, ethics and other considerations outside of the actual indicators of biology. I did not know it was up to 15,000 species. Wow.

  • dgz

    and don’t forget about the sheep!

    several of the seminal (sorry) studies on biological homosexuality focused on ram ramming.

  • JD

    @DANA –

    yes, Bruce Bagemihl’s Biological Exuberance is incredibly comprehensive, exhaustive even, and should be mentioned here, so I’m mentioning it again! It was published ten years ago and is nearly 800 pages long… a brilliant academic tome backed up by massive amounts of research and evidence of homosex throughout the animal kingdom…

  • bb

    I like how they stress in the dolphin video that same-sex bonds are vital to keeping together the social fabric (instead of its biggest threats, as anti-marriage advocates would have it). I’m not one for the naturalistic fallacy. Lots of things that are moral are unnatural, and lots of natural things are immoral, but I think this really does help void that claim that homosexuality is deviant and socially splintering.

  • The Gay Numbers

    @bb: The response of some Christians to the scientific evidence that you describe is that God meant for us to resist our nature or that we are not animals.

  • fallout_girl818

    Oh, that’s so adorable.
    Hopefully all is well in the animal world regarding homosexuality…
    It’s incredibly inspiring. :)

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