Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of History of Animals

Previous | Next

History of Animals   

the dog. Cats do not copulate with a rearward presentment on the
part of the female, but the male stands erect and the female puts
herself underneath him; and, by the way, the female cat is
peculiarly lecherous, and wheedles the male on to sexual commerce, and
caterwauls during the operation. Camels copulate with the female in
a sitting posture, and the male straddles over and covers her, not
with the hinder presentment on the female's part but like the other
quadrupeds mentioned above, and they pass the whole day long in the
operation; when thus engaged they retire to lonely spots, and none but
their keeper dare approach them. And, be it observed, the penis of the
camel is so sinewy that bow-strings are manufactured out of it.
Elephants, also, copulate in lonely places, and especially by
river-sides in their usual haunts; the female squats down, and
straddles with her legs, and the male mounts and covers her. The
seal covers like all opisthuretic animals, and in this species the
copulation extends over a lengthened time, as is the case with the dog
and bitch; and the penis in the male seal is exceptionally large.

Oviparous quadrupeds cover one another in the same way. That is to
say, in some cases the male mounts the female precisely as in the
viviparous animals, as is observed in both the land and the sea
tortoise....And these creatures have an organ in which the ducts
converge, and with which they perform the act of copulation, as is
also observed in the toad, the frog, and all other animals of the same

Long animals devoid of feet, like serpents and muraenae,
intertwine in coition, belly to belly. And, in fact, serpents coil
round one another so tightly as to present the appearance of a
single serpent with a pair of heads. The same mode is followed by
the saurians; that is to say, they coil round one another in the act
of coition.

All fishes, with the exception of the flat selachians, lie down
side by side, and copulate belly to belly. Fishes, however, that are
flat and furnished with tails-as the ray, the trygon, and the
like-copulate not only in this way, but also, where the tail from
its thinness is no impediment, by mounting of the male upon the
female, belly to back. But the rhina or angel-fish, and other like
fishes where the tail is large, copulate only by rubbing against one
another sideways, belly to belly. Some men assure us that they have
seen some of the selachia copulating hindways, dog and bitch. In the
cartilaginous species the female is larger than the male; and the same
is the case with other fishes for the most part. And among
cartilaginous fishes are included, besides those already named, the
bos, the lamia, the aetos, the narce or torpedo, the fishing-frog, and
all the galeodes or sharks and dogfish. Cartilaginous fishes, then, of
all kinds, have in many instances been observed copulating in the
way above mentioned; for, by the way, in viviparous animals the
process of copulation is of longer duration than in the ovipara.
It is the same with the dolphin and with all cetaceans; that
is to say, they come side by side, male and female, and copulate,
and the act extends over a time which is neither short nor very long.
Again, in cartilaginous fishes the male, in some species,
differs from the female in the fact that he is furnished with two
appendages hanging down from about the exit of the residuum, and
that the female is not so furnished; and this distinction between
the sexes is observed in all the species of the sharks and dog-fish.
Now neither fishes nor any animals devoid of feet are
furnished with testicles, but male serpents and male fishes have a
pair of ducts which fill with milt or sperm at the rutting season, and

Previous | Next
Site Search