Fun Animal Facts

Do Animals Know Their Gender?

by Rob Byron

Every living organism in the world can reproduce to maintain the cycle of life and to preserve different species here on Earth. Reproduction is a very essential process for animals and humans. 

If reproduction is essential, it means that different living organisms have different important roles during reproduction. In humans, to reproduce, males and females should be included and portray different roles to make the reproduction successful. 

Even in survival, each human has its roles based on its gender for their family to survive. In the animal kingdom, it is also the same. Each animal has a different gender and has different gender roles.

Do animals know their gender?
Yes, animals know their gender! Animals know their gender roles by instincts. Also, you will notice that animals know their gender if you observe their reproduction method. Sexual animals know where to position during reproduction, and male animals know how to do the right thing to impregnate the females.

However, there are many things you have to know. Let’s go deeper about this topic!

How Do Animals Tell The Gender Of Other Animals?

For Lions, it is easy for them to tell who is the male and the female one. They can easily recognize each other’s gender by looking into the mane that encircles their head. If the Lions have a mane they know that it is a male but if it does not have, it is a female. 

But for other animals like dogs, cats, birds, and other animals that look so similar, how do they tell the gender of other animals? So for example, if two Zebras meet, how can they know each other’s gender, and if they are suitable mates?

How do animals tell the gender of other animals? Animals can tell the gender of other animals by using their sense of smell, and by observing the behavior of the other animals. Male and female animals have different behavior, so it is easy for them to recognize each other’s gender.

If animals can’t identify their gender and identify the gender of the others, then there will be no reproduction. It is like a built-in chip, put by our creator that programmed all animals to distinguish the difference between both genders.

Do Pets Know The Gender Of Their Owner?

If all animals can tell the gender of the other animals, then probably you think that your pets can also tell what your gender is. However, this question is very difficult to answer but based on the studies made, they have concluded that Cats and Dogs can identify the gender of their owner. 

In my personal experience, I would agree that pets can tell the gender of their humans. How do they know? By distinguishing different pitches of voices, by using their sense of smell, and by observing the physical traits. 

Whenever I visit my friend’s house, their female dog will always notice me and smell me. She will always follow me wherever I go and will sit on my lap every time I sit. 

One time I visited there again, but this time I brought my female friend from school. I noticed that my friend’s female dog is ignoring the girl I brought, and even though the girl gave her some snacks, the dog still loves to be on my lap than the girl who gave her a snack.

With this scenario that happened to me, I concluded that dogs can identify what their owners’, or other humans’ gender is. There is one study that has been made that will support my conclusion.

One study made where they tested 51 dogs and letting the dogs sit in the middle of the opposite gender one by one. Each dog should sit in the middle, and after that, they will play the sound of a man and a woman’s voice. The experiment was made to see if dogs could combine the visual and vocal cues from humans. 

What are the results? Some dogs look at the person of the gender associated with the voice, and some dogs did not. They also concluded that dogs that came from a home with three or more adults were much better at distinguishing the voice of each gender than dogs living with a single owner.

Do Animals Know Their Gender?

So do pets like dogs know the gender of their owner? Yes! Dogs and cats can tell the gender of their owner. Pets living with three or more adults are much better at distinguishing the gender of each human.

13 Animals Who Can Change Their Genders


Clownfish became well-known because of the movie Finding Nemo. They are fishes with a color of bright orange with three white bars.

Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites, which means that they are born with one sex but they can switch sex if needed. 

Female clownfish are more dominant than male clownfish. But when the female clownfish dies, the female clownfish’s favorite male will be the one who will lead the school. 

Females are usually the ones who lead the school. So to preserve this hierarchy, the male clownfish that have been chosen changes his sex to female. His size will increase and have the ability to reproduce.

Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons have two chromosomes that determine their sex. Like other reptiles, their sex is determined by the temperature of the environment. 

They can change their sex from male to female while they are still inside the egg. Researchers have found that the bearded dragons are indeed fertile, and they can lay more eggs than the original female bearded dragons. 

The bearded dragons can also change their sex because of changing climates. When bearded dragons are exposed to hot temperatures, they are more likely to change their genders from male to female. 


Wrasses are known as the opposite of the clownfish. They have similar strategies to preserve the hierarchy of their school. 

When the dominant male dies or leaves for a while to hunt, the female wrasse, who is the biggest, will quickly transform from female to male. The newly transformed males are more aggressive to keep their territory safe from predators. 

Banana Slug

Banana slugs can grow between six and eight inches, and they are color yellow, of course, like the banana we eat. They are the largest species of slug. 

Banana slugs are born with both male and female genitalia, and they belong to the hermaphrodites family.

During the reproduction process, the banana slug will find a mate that has a similar size to them. After successfully finding a mate, the two banana slugs will form a yin-yang shape and insert their penises located on their heads and impregnate each other. 

Scientists have found that on some occasions, the banana slug can impregnate itself if it has not found a potential mate. Also, they have found that the banana slug sometimes gnaws its partner’s penis after copulation.

Whiptail Lizard

The whiptail lizards can be found in New Mexico and Arizona. The entire population of the whiptail lizard is all females. They are the only species of lizards that have this kind of population. 

They are long, slender lizards with pointed snouts, and they also have long tails. Giant spotted whiptails have longer tails than their bodies, and their tails can grow over afoot. 

So how do these lizards reproduce if all of them are females? They reproduce eggs through parthenogenesis. The whiptail lizards mate with other females of its species. That is why they are also called lesbian lizards. 


Cuttlefish are fishes that have three hearts, and they have a clear vision. They are also known as the chameleon of the sea, and there are 100 species of cuttlefish. Cuttlefish have eight arms and two tentacles, and they have a short lifespan. 

Cuttlefish have an awesome strategy to get the girl that they like. To avoid messing up with other males that also try to attract the female cuttlefish they like, male cuttlefish can change one side of its body so that they will look like a female. 

They show the female side to the other males, and the male side of their body is shown to the female they are talking to. The male rival will see two females, and it will make him confused. Males use this sneaky tactic to convince the female to mate before the rival male discovers their tactic. 


Parrotfish have the same color as parrot birds. They are social animals that love to live in groups, and they may be found in schools with 40 individuals. 

Even though most of the parrotfish are born female, all of them possess both male and female genitalia. They are protogynous hermaphrodites, which means that females can be males whenever they want. 

If the female parrot fish decided to switch gender, they will become larger than naturally born male parrotfish. The other awesome thing about this parrotfish is that they wear pajamas at night, and it is made from a cocoon of mucous.

Garter Snake

Garter snakes are the common snakes in North America, Canada, and Florida. Some owners kept them as pets because they are harmless. However, some garter snakes possess mild venom, but their venom is not dangerous to humans. 

Garter snakes form a ball during mating. After the males hibernate and start to look for potential mates, they are naturally slow and tired. They take advantage of it by copying the female garter snake. Why?

This strategy is used for two strategic purposes. The first reason why male garter snakes do this is to protect them from predators like birds because as I have said above, during mating they form a ball. So the faux females will be covered by the males in an attempt to mate, and they are like inside a ball that keeps them safe from predators. 

The second is to raise their body temperatures quickly to make them more active than other male garter snakes. 

Blackfin Goby

The blackfin goby is usually found between 10 to 200 feet under the ocean. They love to eat zooplanktons and coral mucus. Blackfin goby has a tannish body with black dorsal and black tail fins.

There are many species of goby, but only certain species of goby can change sex. Even though the usual transformation is from female to male, sometimes it can go vice versa. 

When the growth-rate advantage in females, the female gobies change their sex into a male. When gobies change their sex, their behavior also changes.

Females that become males might reduce their submissive behaviors and adapt the jerk personality of males. 


There are 4,700 species of frogs around the world, and every year all frogs go into hibernation. Frogs can jump 20 times their height, and they can come in all sorts of colors. 

Frogs can change their sex as well. Male to female sex changes happen to frogs living in suburban ponds, and the cause of this change is because of the increasing level of estrogen released in the water. 

Scientists have found that there are more female frogs than male frogs in suburban areas. However, scientists have found that herbicide atrazine has been shown the cause of sex change in frogs. 

Marsh Harrier

Marsh harriers can change sex, and they also can change their physical look. Most males marsh harriers change their appearances into females two years after birth. 

Scientists believe that marsh harriers change their appearances to prevent them from being attacked by other male marsh harriers. 

Sea Snails

Sea snails change their sex so that they can survive. They can change their gender from male to female and vice versa. Sea snails are born male but become female after they reach maturity. The huger sea snail is usually the one who changes to female. 

Sea Bass

Sea bass is a fish living in the bottom of the sea (110-150ft) and inhabits rocky and sandy bottoms. They spend their life in dense kelp forests and near rocky reefs. Sea bass is usual in the U.S. They are protogynous hermaphrodites, which means they can change gender. 

Researchers concluded that sea bass changes sex because of supply and demand. If female sea bass senses that there will be a decrease in the male population, females will change their gender into the male real quick. 

Finals Words

All animals have gender to classify themselves, and to know what are their roles during reproduction and their role in their group. Some animals that can change their gender do this strategy to survive, mate, and protect themselves from various dangers.

Now that you know that animals know what their gender is. I hope it adds up to your knowledge. If you like to learn more about animals, click the “fun facts” in the menu section above.

Rob Byron
Learning about and helping all kinds of animals has been in my blood as long as I can remember. I've been part of many different animal associations over the years so I decided to create this animal info blog with my family who are all involved with animal rescue in some capacity. Also, Because Animals Matter!
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