Animals, or basically the mammalian group of animals also mate and give birth in the same way that humans do. Most of the animals from the ape family also have a similar reproductive system like humans do, so do they also menstruate just like we do? It’s a very curious question because even the greatest animal lovers don’t know the answer to this one.
Well, firstly animals don’t have bloody periods like human females do (now I’m jealous of these animals). They don’t go through severe hormonal fluctuations like humans do and when animals are going through reproductive changes, it is referred to as ‘secret periods’ because there is no apparent blood flow on the outside.
Here are some unknown facts about animal menstruation –
- Animal menstruation is usually known as their ‘heat period’ – Heat period isn’t only experienced by females in animals. It usually occurs in an animal after they have attained maturation age and lasts for about 2-3 weeks per year.
2. The liquid secreted from animals during menstruation is used as a lubricant – Animals don’t actually bleed from the vagina as humans do. They tend to secrete a lubricating liquid which is helpful in mating. During the heat period, the animal has a primal urge to mate and hence, it is very necessary for the psychology of the animal to find a mate or else they might get into depression. (Yes, animal depression also exists).
3. Animals go through an estrous cycle – Animals usually go through something similar to humans known as the estrous cycle. The frequency of this estrous cycle depends on the seasonal variations, climate, availability of food, and migration of the animal. Some animals experience a yearly estrous cycle and they are known as monoestrous, whereas others can be bi-estrous or also polyestrous.
4. In female chimpanzees, menarche occurs at 10 years of age – Only after a chimp has attained sexual maturity, will the menstruation or heat period begin. In humans, sexual maturity is attained by the start of periods. In a chimp, there is evidence of anogenital swelling which indicates that the uterus lining has thickened and this occurs at the age of 10 years. This is known as menarche and it may last for about 35 days.
5. Only a few species of animals actually menstruate – While many animal species go through ‘secret periods’, only a few primates from the bat and elephant family go through actual menstruation like in humans.
6. Others experience no blood flow – When a female animal is experiencing her estrous cycle or she is in her heat period, the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) will increase in thickness (just like in humans) and shed internally. On the other hand, humans bleed out the uterus lining.
7. Dogs are usually bi-estrous in nature – Female dogs experience a heat period twice a year. The heat period lasts usually about 3 weeks and they may experience some bloody discharge before they attain peak fertility.