Saturday, August 12, 2006

Mating Day


Friday was apparently the day Bella came into estrus (aka in heat). From the time the rhinos woke up at 8:30 until I left them around 5:30, both males wouldn’t leave the poor girl alone. Taleo definitely established his dominance after Moja failed to successfully copulate in the morning. After that Taleo was right by Bella all day and gave snorts and false charges in Moja’s direction if he got too close.

Rhinos have very interesting anatomy in that their pubis bone is reversible. This means by moving certain muscles the bone will move allowing the male genitalia to point either towards the head or towards the buttocks. This enables the dominant male to mark his territory by spraying backward, but still be able to mate with the female. Before mounting, the male will rest his head on her rump, right above the tail, or move his lips along her side. If she is willing to mate at this point she will move her tail out of the way and allow him to mount. In Moja’s case, he doesn’t spray so mounting can happen faster. The problem is he is too short (height wise) for the anatomy of the animals to match up. Taleo should be able to copulate with Bella but since he is so young, hasn’t mastered the process yet. Occasionally he will mount Bella from the side or lay on her when she is trying to sleep. She just continues eating or sleeping while the males follow her. When he does mount properly, he is not close enough or not skilled enough, for the prehensile appendage to find the right place. He will stay mounted trying for upwards of 15 minutes, meaning Bella is carrying all that extra weight! (Once today Taleo was mounted and Bella was grazing. They have poor eyesight and she stepped down a hole. Her left front foot fell in, then her left hind foot and since Taleo was mounted, he stepped into the same hole with both feet as well. The rangers and I had a laugh watching them, they were like dancing umpa-lumpas going up and down and up again).

I am told that Taleo has previously been successful in copulating. However, since Bella was receptive to mating it means she is definitely not pregnant. Had she already conceived she would have refused to let the males mount her.

Well, that’s the lesson for today! Hopefully I’ll have some pictures to add later. Love and miss you all!

9 Comments:

At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of the "March of the Penquins", I can see a new animal movie on the horion, "Humping of the Rhinos"....this is what you do all day long? Appreciate your discretation in choosing your words in describing their activities. Not sure if I need to see these pictures. Love ya, have fun, stay safe. Dad

 
At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corrected version of above comment...I can not figure out how to delete the previous version.

Instead of the "March of the Penquins", I can see a new animal documentarty movie on the horizion, "Humping of the Rhinos"....this is what you do all day long? Appreciate your discretation in choosing your words in describing their mating activities. Not sure if I need to see these pictures. Love ya, have fun, stay safe. Dad

 
At 9:58 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

Ah, nothing like waking up in the morning and reading about rhinos getting freaky! Great pic babe, can't wait to see the rest.

 
At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kimi,

I'm amazed each day as I read your new messages. I can't wait to have you back home and listening to all the adventure stories in person... except you can probably leave out the gorey details about this days observations... I agree with your dad, some things are just TMI ;)

Keep up the good work - Aunt Kelly

 
At 7:06 PM, Blogger Arin said...

TMI

 
At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know TMI but I found your description very interesting and, like your Dad said, well worded. I'm quite excited reading about all your adventures but will be glad to heard you're back in the States safe and sound.

Love, Aunt Lu

 
At 8:42 PM, Blogger Team Houston said...

Interesting, learned some things today~Michele

 
At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

aaaah, TOO MUCH INFO now I get it

 
At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

aaaah, TOO MUCH INFO now I get it

 

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