1. A team of scientists has discovered the first evidence of brown bears regularly performing fellatio on each other.
The pair of male brown bears (who were born in the wild, but were both orphaned as cubs and now live at a sanctuary in Croatia) were seen repeatedly engaging in “vigorous penile sucking” over a period covering six years between 2008 and 2013.
The researchers write, in a paper published in Zoo Biology, that they “observed 28 acts of fellatio between the two male bears in 116 hours of observation… nine acts occurred in various bushes that were abundant in the enclosure, 2 in the open central area, and 17 at three preferred spots along the fence.”
2. This is interesting, because oral sex is actually relatively rare in the animal kingdom.
While animals as diverse as the spotted hyena, the short-nosed fruit bat and the bonobo have all been observed performing fellatio, and others also perform cunnilingus, oral sex is still the exception rather than the rule among mammals.
Bears have occasionally been spotted performing fellatio in captivity before, but only when they lived in poor conditions with little other stimulation.
3. But the two male bears in Croatia are the first time anybody’s seen bears living in good conditions regularly enjoying fellatio.
According to the paper, the bears always took the same role every single time over the course of the six years they were observed - the same bear was always the receiver, the other always the provider - and at no point showed any sexual interest in other bears. The provder was always the one who initiated the encounter. “If the receiver’s genitals were not exposed, the provider would push his head into the pelvic region or use his paws to separate the hind legs,” the researchers write.
They go on to provide a detailed breakdown of how the bear fellatio played out. “After accessing and initial licking of the penis, the provider would find a more comfortable posture, such as sitting or lying sternally. Once actual sucking started, neither bear changed position.”
4. Sucking was often “accompanied by humming vocalizations by the provider,” the researchers note.
They record that in all the cases they were able to fully observe, “the receiver appeared to experience orgasm, evidenced by muscular contractions. A foamy white liquid around the muzzle of the provider was visible in each case, which may have been ejaculate, saliva, or both fluids mixed. At that point, the receiver either pushed away the provider with his hind legs or turned away.”
They add that “in eight cases (40%) the provider laid down next to the receiver, with no further active interactions.”
The researchers speculate that the provider bear’s fondness for oral sex may be a result of “prematurely curtailed maternal suckling” due to being orphaned at a young age, pointing out that orphaned bears have previously been observed sucking others’ body parts. Or maybe they just enjoy it.