What Animals Get Periods
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What Animals Get Periods? A Comprehensive Guide

As humans, we are familiar with the concept of menstruation, but have you ever wondered if other animals experience the same thing? The answer may surprise you. In this article, we will explore which animals get periods and the science behind this natural occurrence.


Female elephants are one of the few non-primate animals that experience menstruation.
Female elephants are one of the few non-primate animals that experience menstruation.

Firstly, let’s define menstruation. Menstruation is the shedding of the uterine lining that occurs in female mammals of reproductive age. It is a natural process that prepares the body for pregnancy and occurs regularly in humans. However, did you know that other animals also experience menstruation?

Understanding which animals get periods is essential in understanding their reproductive cycles and natural processes. It can also help us gain insight into the evolution of different species. So, let’s dive into which animals get periods and how they differ from humans.

Stay tuned for the next section where we will discuss mammals that get periods.

Mammals that Get Periods

While humans are the most well-known mammals that experience menstruation, other mammalian species also have this natural occurrence. Let’s take a look at which other mammals get periods.


As previously mentioned, humans experience menstruation, typically every 28-35 days, during their reproductive years. Menstruation is a fundamental aspect of human reproduction.


Among primates, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans also experience menstruation. However, they are less frequent than human menstruation, with cycles ranging from 28-56 days.


Bats are another mammalian species that experience menstruation. However, little is known about the frequency or duration of their menstrual cycles.


Elephants have a unique reproductive system, with menstrual cycles lasting around 90 days. They experience a significant amount of blood loss during menstruation, up to 35-50 liters.


Shrews are one of the few mammals that experience menstrual cycles that are not dependent on pregnancy. Their menstrual cycles are short, lasting only a few days.

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Armadillos are another mammalian species that experience menstruation. Their menstrual cycles are irregular, ranging from 14-56 days.

In conclusion, while humans are the most well-known mammals that experience menstruation, other mammalian species also have this natural occurrence, with varying durations and frequencies. Stay tuned for the next section, where we will discuss non-mammals that get periods.

Non-Mammals that Get Periods

While it is more common for mammals to experience menstruation, some non-mammals also go through a similar process. Let’s take a closer look at which non-mammals get periods.


Believe it or not, some birds do get periods! Ostriches, ducks, and chickens are among the birds that experience menstruation. However, unlike mammals, birds do not have a uterus. Instead, they have a cloaca, which is a single opening used for waste elimination, mating, and laying eggs. The menstrual fluid in birds is released through the cloaca and mixed in with their waste.


Lizards, snakes, and turtles are other non-mammals that experience menstruation. However, the process is slightly different from mammals. Reptiles have what is known as an oviduct, which is where eggs are produced and carried to the cloaca for elimination. When reptiles shed their uterine lining, it is mixed in with their eggs and expelled through the cloaca.


Frogs and salamanders are also known to experience menstruation. However, like reptiles, it is not the same as the menstrual cycle in mammals. Instead of shedding their uterine lining, female amphibians absorb it back into their bodies. This process is known as resorption.


Believe it or not, some fish also experience menstruation. Sharks and rays are among the fish that shed their uterine lining regularly. However, in bony fish, the process is slightly different. Instead of shedding their uterine lining, female bony fish absorb their eggs back into their bodies.

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Overall, while it is less common for non-mammals to experience menstruation, it is still a natural process that occurs in some species. Understanding which animals get periods can help us better understand the natural processes of the animal kingdom.

Animals that Menstruate Differently

Not all animals that reproduce experience periods in the same way as humans and other mammals. Here are a few examples of animals that menstruate differently:

Dogs (estrus cycle)

Female dogs experience an estrus cycle, which is similar to a menstrual cycle but has some significant differences. Dogs go into heat, which is a period of sexual receptivity, twice a year. During this time, the lining of the uterus thickens, but instead of shedding, it remains in place.

Cats (induced ovulators)

Cats are induced ovulators, which means they only ovulate when stimulated by intercourse. They do not have a menstrual cycle, but their reproductive system is still regulated by hormones. When a female cat goes into heat, she will mate with a male, which triggers ovulation.

Rabbits (induced ovulators)

Similar to cats, rabbits are also induced ovulators. However, they have a unique reproductive process. When a female rabbit is ready to mate, she will release an egg. If she does not mate, the egg will be reabsorbed back into her body. If she does mate, the egg will be fertilized and implanted into the uterus.

Ferrets (induced ovulators)

Ferrets are another example of animals that are induced ovulators. Female ferrets go into heat multiple times a year, and if they do not mate, they can develop a life-threatening condition called estrogen toxicity. To prevent this, owners often have their female ferrets spayed.

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Understanding the different ways in which animals menstruate can provide insight into their reproductive cycles and natural processes. Stay tuned for the next section where we will dive into the science behind menstruation and the role of hormones.

The Science behind Menstruation

Menstruation is a complex process that is regulated by hormones in the body. The two primary hormones responsible for this process are estrogen and progesterone.

Role of Hormones (Estrogen, Progesterone)

Estrogen is responsible for thickening the uterine lining in preparation for pregnancy. It is produced in the ovaries and plays a crucial role in the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as breast development and the growth of pubic hair.

Progesterone, on the other hand, is responsible for maintaining the uterine lining and preparing it for the implantation of a fertilized egg. It is produced in the ovaries and plays a vital role in regulating the menstrual cycle.

Purpose of Menstruation in Humans and Animals

The purpose of menstruation in humans and animals is to prepare the body for pregnancy. If fertilization occurs, the fertilized egg will implant itself into the uterine lining, and the pregnancy will proceed. However, if fertilization does not occur, the uterus sheds its lining, and the menstrual cycle starts anew.

In animals, the purpose of menstruation may vary depending on the species. For example, in bats, menstruation may play a role in signaling the start of the mating season. In elephants, menstruation may help to flush out bacteria and keep the reproductive system healthy.

Understanding the science behind menstruation can help us understand the natural processes that occur in the bodies of humans and animals. It is fascinating to see how different species have evolved to adapt to their environments and reproductive needs.