Philly zoo offers 'sex in the wild' tours

February 10, 2009 9:51:26 AM PST
When you think about a thing called love, the birds and the bees may spring to mind. But have you ever really wondered about ardor in the animal kingdom? How does a three-ton rhinoceros manage to, um, convey his affection to a mate? Do bats really do it upside down? How do tortoises get their partner in the mood?

If you're thinking "Tell me more!" rather than "Too much information!", the Philadelphia Zoo has something for you this Valentine's Day weekend.

An adults-only program dubbed "Lovin' on the Wild Side" will feature brunch and an hourlong walking tour to meet animal couples. The event will run 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

"This is the one time a year where there are no holds barred," said Laura Warner, the zoo's director of public programs. "We're not shy; it's all adults, so people can ask anything and we'll answer those questions."

The Valentine's tour has been a popular one for the zoo, which has offered it for a half dozen years. Many zoos around the country have long held similar events, including a Valentine's Day bicycle tour through the San Francisco Zoo.

The Philadelphia Zoo tour will include discussions on courtship and mating behaviors of animals from tigers (the female gives her partner a swipe to the head after completion of the deed) to tortoises (they nibble each other's toes to convey their randiness).

"Some of it is silly and some is serious," Warner said. For example, a female porcupine is fertile only one day a year - making timing essential to continuation of the species.

"But then there's always the question of, 'How do they get around those quills?"'

Tickets are $75 per person. Advance reservations are required, and no one under the age of 21 is allowed on the tour.

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On the Net: http://www.philadelphiazoo.org

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