World’s Weirdest: Giving Birth Through a “Penis”

For spotted hyenas, anatomy, sex, and birth are wildly (and weirdly) different than any other species. Elevated levels of testosterone cause the females to not only act extremely aggressive toward their male counterparts during sex, which is actually downright dangerous for the males, but also cause the females to develop pseudo-penises. These appendages are essentially an extended clitoris, some that can grow as long as 7 inches. But the problem with these hyena pseudo-penises is that it becomes the path through which the mother has to give birth through, a very tiny tube. The first time female hyenas give birth, they lose a lot of their young. In fact, 60% of hyena cubs die of suffocation inside the pseudo penis. But to truly understand just how bizarre this is, you must watch the video clip from tonight’s premiere of “World’s Weirdest: Extremities”:

You think that’s weird? It’s only the beginning. Tonight at 9P on World’s Weirdest: Extremities, billions of years of evolution and more than one million species have created a very weird world, and some very bizarre body parts. From sex-crazed slugs to Kung Fu crustaceans, blood-firing lizards and zombie snails, we journey from the ocean depths to deserts and tropical rainforests to reveal that for some creatures, the truth really is stranger than fiction. We showcase some of the strangest, most shocking animal appendages on the planet, and uncover their evolutionary advantages.

Tune in to Nat Geo WILD tonight at 9p!


  1. The Guy with the Dogs
    Southern Maryland
    February 28, 2014, 10:21 pm

    WTF does this religious/apocalypse quack Begley keep appearing after the breaks on “Live”? Is this some sort of homage to Fox in return for airing science-based shows or something?
    Although he’s mildly amusing, he detracts from the credibility of the show and cheapens the whole affair.

    Other than that, I love the show; it gives one an inkling of how complex and interesting this world really is.

  2. Your mom says hi
    brooklyn ny
    September 21, 2014, 9:32 pm

    Another WTF comment. Why the sh*t is all this non-sequitur weird-ass gendered commentary necessary? “Fighting, feeding, and fornicating… It’s a macho world?” REALLY, Nat-Geo? You’ve got to be f*cking kidding me and every other thinking human on earth right now. You’re talking about ANIMALS. Yes, hyenas are different from humans. Since when does that require ascribing various shades of pink and blue to their behaviors?

    Jesus. I guess if you’re going to keep pandering to the people who still watch cable, you’ll do what you have to do. In the meantime, I’ll be scrubbing my brain with steel wool and regretting the last 1:17 I wasted of my life before realizing I couldn’t make it through a full 2+ minutes of stupid statements about how lady hyenas and lady humans don’t match.

  3. Jordan
    Las cruces
    January 10, 2015, 3:19 am

    I thought it was coll I learned new facts to say it was very intresting

  4. Ebony Vincent
    March 3, 2015, 8:23 pm

    That is wierd

  5. John
    May 1, 2015, 10:15 am

    I just watched two ads and the video still wouldn’t play. Nat Geo, you owe me!

  6. Allison
    May 2, 2015, 12:36 am

    Annoying that these reporters call it a penis. It’s a fkg CLITORIS. Can we say it? CLITORIS. It is part of the female anatomy. Why are we so anti female sexual organs? What a disturbing culture… male anatomy praised, female anatomy ignored and shamed. Get it together Nat Geog.

  7. […] larger than males, produce more testosterone, are more aggressive, and even develop “pseudo penises.” The lowest ranking members of a clan are the adult males, who are the last to eat at a […]

  8. Shakingmyhwad
    August 14, 2015, 2:43 pm

    Alluson. The article did call it an extended clitoris. Learn to read. And for many others. Learn NOT to read to much into it. I swear people look for anything to complain about. Maybe it’s their extended clitoris with too much sodium content on it.

  9. Lo pseudo-pene delle iene – SESSO ANIMALE
    February 20, 2016, 2:27 am

    […] qui per vedere un video su […]

  10. jeezbot
    guia portugal but more east and in north america
    March 14, 2016, 9:35 pm

    I love female hyenas why cant human women never mind

  11. Is that an elephant? – Aquatic Safari
    April 9, 2016, 12:31 pm

    […] the majority of first born cubs apparently die at birth by suffocating inside the pseudo-penis. You can see a National Geographic video on this here. It is a remarkable reproductive cost to pay in exchange for social […]

  12. […] for one day, sorry. It’s time for females to be in the spotlight. Female hyenas produce a lot of testosterone, meaning that they develop pseudo-penises. These are actually just enlarged clitorises, but they […]

  13. […] for the pseudo-penis to split during childbirth and for the mother to then bleed out. Also, this Nat Geo post claims that 60% of hyena cubs die during first-time births due to suffocation in the […]

  14. […] Hyenas aren’t naturally murderous to their own kind, but they will happily do so if necessary for food. Hyenas often birth more pups than they can feed and raise at one time. This leaves the newborn pups to immediately learn to fight or die. […]