Analysis / Animal Gender-Bender

Real Life Animal Gender Benders

Sometimes, this trope occurs in real life.


  • Does can grow antlers, though it is rare, and the results tend to be noticeably different from male antlers. For example, they aren't shed at the usual time. This may vary by species.
  • Female lions DO get manes- if they are very, very old. It's a hormone thing just like old ladies getting beards. In a similar way, there are also male lions that never get a mane. In fact, there is an entire race of maneless lions. Also, male lions are maneless if they are neutered.
  • Peahens with peacock colors have occasionally been reported.
  • There are male tortieshell/calico cats, but they either have an extra X chromosome (XXY or Klinefelter's Syndrome), a somatic mutation on the orange gene causing a mosaic, XX/XY chimerism, XY/XXY chimerism, or XY/XY chimerism. In the former case, the cat will nearly always be sterile, but in the latter four cases, the cat can be fertile.
    • The tortoiseshell male being a gender bender applies only to cats and hamsters, as cats and hamsters carry the orange gene (called red gene for cats, called yellow gene for hamsters) and tortoiseshell pattern in a sex-linked way. The other two animals that can be tortoiseshell, guinea pigs and rabbits, have the tortoiseshell pattern be carried on an autosome instead. That means that there are as many male tortie guinea pigs and male tort rabbits as female tortie guinea pigs and rabbits respectively.
  • There are rare occasions where female narwhals do indeed have tusks