Dolphins Getting 'Sexually Aroused' With Anaconda Baffle Researchers
*WARNING: CONTAINS DOLPHIN BONERS*
Researchers were left scratching their heads after spotting a pair of dolphins seemingly getting sexually aroused by an anaconda.
The research team was documenting biodiversity near the Tijamuchi River, in Bolivia, last August when they saw the Bolivian river dolphins.
This in itself was a rare sighting, and naturally they started snapping away as the majestic creatures bobbed their heads above the water.
It was only upon looking through their photographs that they realised the dolphins were carrying an anaconda in their mouths - which of course catapulted the sighting to a whole new level of rareness.
But if the team's collective jaw had already been dropped by the extraordinary photos, they must've had to pick it up off the floor after their next discovery.
Upon deeper scrutiny of their pics, they realised that they hadn't just snapped two dolphins swimming with an anaconda in their mouths - they'd snapped two dolphins with erections swimming with an anaconda in their mouths.
Now, obviously, this was quite a lot for the team to digest.
They reckoned the dolphins were most likely playing with the snake, rather than preying on it, but that doesn't really explain the boners.
The team's study - published in the journal Ecology last month - reads: "Surprisingly, they were very playful and remained visible on the surface linger than what was typical, which usually is between two to five seconds... It became clear that they were playing with the snake rather than trying to eat it."
The study continues: "The fact that the adult river dolphins became seemingly sexually aroused (as seen by their erect penises through the genital slits) during this interaction also further corroborates that this was a playful interaction."
Perhaps then it wasn't just regular old play, it was foreplay?
Diana Reiss, a marine mammal scientist and cognitive psychologist at Hunter College in New York, who was not involved with the study, has speculated that the dolphins may have found the snake arousing in some way.
Speaking to The New York Times, she said: "It could have been sexually stimulating for them.
"It could have been something to rub on."
Well, the last thing I wanna do is kink shame a pair of Bolivian river dolphins, but that seems pretty weird to me.
Then again, there are plenty of people who enjoy a big old anaconda - Nicki Minaj for example (this is a reference to one of her hits, in case that wasn't clear).
One thing that is clear though, is that the anaconda wasn't having as much fun as the dolphins.
The Beni anaconda is semi-aquatic, but the dolphins had a hold of the creature for at least seven minutes, and for most of this time it was submerged, meaning it probably died.
Steffen Reichle, a biologist at the Noel Kempff Mercado Museum of Natural History in Santa Cruz de la Sierra and member of the research team, said simply: "I don't think that the snake had a very good time."
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