Researchers in Australia have discovered clitorises on female snakes

The long-held belief that female snakes lacked a clitoris has been disproved by the discovery that they do in fact possess one.

The first accurate anatomical descriptions of the female snake genitalia were released in research on Wednesday.

Hemipenes, the penises of snakes, have been researched for many years. Some of them have spikes imbedded, and they are forked.

However, researchers said that the female sex organ had been “missed in comparison”.

It wasn’t so much that it was difficult to find as that researchers weren’t actually looking for it.

As the lead researcher and doctorate candidate, Megan Folwell explained, “There was a combination of taboo around female genitalia, scientists not being able to discover it, and people accepting the mislabelling of intersex snakes.”

The clitoris of a female snake is found in the tail, according to her co-authored research that was just published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B Journal.

Snakes have two independent clitorises, called hemiclitores, which are concealed on the underside of the tail and are divided by tissue. According to experts, the double-walled organ is made up of neurons, collagen, and red blood cells similar to erectile tissue.

The material about snakes’ female sexual organs, which claimed that they were absent or had been bred out through evolution, “just didn’t quite sit right with me,” according to Ms. Folwell, who went seeking for it.

It doesn’t make logical that that wouldn’t be in all snakes, she added, “I know it [the clitoris] is in a lot of animals.”

She explained, “I just wanted to look to see if this building was there or if it had just been missed.”

She started on a death adder and quite quickly located the clitoris, a heart-shaped structure near the snake’s smell glands that are used to attract mates.

There was no indication of the [penis] structures I’ve observed before, but there was this double structure that was pretty conspicuous in the female and quite different from that of the surrounding tissue.

Then, her team examined this in a number of snake species, including the carpet python, puff adder, and cantil viper. The hemiclitores were different and ranged in size.

Snake sex rewritten
The discovery now opens the door for novel theories regarding snake sex, which may involve the stimulation and enjoyment of women.

According to Ms. Folwell, scientists previously thought that snake sex was “primarily compulsion and the male snake forcing the mating.”

This was due to the fact that while the female snake was more “placid,” male snakes were often extremely physically aggressive during mating.

However, she added, “Now that the clitoris has been discovered, we may begin to focus more on seduction and stimulation as another form of the female being more willing and likely to mate with the male.”

Additionally, it sheds additional information on the theory of snake foreplay. Male snakes frequently wrap themselves around the clitoris on their partner’s tail and beat it.

There are numerous behaviors that could indicate they are present to arouse the female.

In the field of snake science, the discovery, according to Ms. Folwell, has received a positive response. There has been “some astonishment that it’s been missed for so long, but also surprise because it makes sense that it exists.”

She pointed out that the clitoris is exceptionally small and delicate in some snake species, measuring less than a millimeter.

A common misconception was that, similar to monitor lizards, female snakes have a scaled-down version of the male hemipene. As a result, hemipenes was mistaken for hemiclitores in certain investigations of intersex snakes.

Without Ms Folwell’s “new perspective,” according to Associate Prof Kate Sanders of the University of Adelaide, one of the other researchers working on the study, the discovery would not have been made.

This discovery demonstrates the necessity for varied brains and diverse perspectives in science.

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