Fellatio in captive brown bears: Evidence of long-term effects of suckling deprivation?
Version of Record online: 4 JUN 2014
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 33, Issue 4, pages 349–352, July/August 2014
How to Cite
Sergiel, A., Maślak, R., Zedrosser, A., Paśko, Ł., Garshelis, D. L., Reljić, S. and Huber, D. (2014), Fellatio in captive brown bears: Evidence of long-term effects of suckling deprivation?. Zoo Biol., 33: 349–352. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21137
- Issue online: 6 AUG 2014
- Version of Record online: 4 JUN 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 6 MAY 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 28 APR 2014
- Manuscript Received: 7 DEC 2013
- Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Poland. Grant Numbers: 2020/W/IZ/2008-2009, 1018/S/IZ/2010-2011, 1069/S/KBEE/2012-2013
- sexual behavior;
- oral stimulation;
- Ursus arctos;
Sexually stimulating behaviors that are not linked to reproduction are rare among non-human (especially non-primate) mammals. Such behaviors may have a function in the hierarchy of social species. In solitary species, such behaviors are more enigmatic, and possibly indicative of something abnormal. Here, we report on a case of two male brown bears, raised in captivity since being orphaned as cubs, which engaged in recurrent fellatio multiple times per day until at least 10 years old. The roles of provider and receiver in the act remained unchanged, and the behavior itself became highly ritualized. The provider always initiated the contact involving vigorous penile sucking that appeared to result in ejaculation. We suggest that the behavior began as a result of early deprivation of maternal suckling, and persisted through life, possibly because it remained satisfying for both individuals. This constitutes the first descriptive report of fellatio in bears, and suggests that some bears may suffer lifelong behavioral consequences from being orphaned at an early age. Zoo Biol. 33:349–352, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.