WTF Fun Fact 13273 – Men’s Nipples Lactate

It’s extremely rare unless something is wrong with the body, but technically, men’s nipples lactate. That is, they are capable of producing milk, which is the function of a nipple.

All fetuses develop nipples. Male, female, and intersex fetuses develop nipples during the early stages of fetal development, typically around 6 to 7 weeks gestation. This is because nipples are a fundamental part of the human anatomy. It is only later in fetal development that sex-specific features begin to emerge, such as the development of genitalia.

How, when, and why do men’s nipples lactate?

While lactation in men is a rare occurrence, it is not something that should be dismissed as a mere anomaly. Despite being uncommon, men can and do produce breast milk in certain circumstances. For example, it may happen during hormonal imbalances or after frequent stimulation of the nipples. This phenomenon has been documented in a variety of mammalian species, including humans. Yet much remains to be understood about the underlying biology and mechanisms driving male lactation.

Male lactation is also known to occur in response to the hormonal changes brought about by certain medical conditions. For example, in some cases, male lactation is triggered when a man experiences a rise in the hormone prolactin.

The role of prolactin

The hormone responsible for milk production in females plays a similar role in males. Prolactin stimulates milk production in the mammary glands, and in males, it is secreted by the anterior pituitary gland.

However, the prolactin levels in males are much lower than in females. This is why milk production in males is rare, and the amount produced is usually not enough to sustain an infant. The biology involved in male lactation involves the mammary glands, which are present in both men and women.

While these glands are not fully developed in men, they still have the potential to produce milk. The process of male lactation can also be triggered by stress, certain medications, or a tumor in the pituitary gland.

Stimulating lactation in men

Another cause of male lactation is the use of medications that can mimic the hormonal effects of pregnancy and breastfeeding. For example, medications containing estrogen can cause an increase in prolactin production, leading to milk production in men’s mammary glands.

Despite the rarity of male lactation, some men have been able to nurse their infants successfully. One example is a man named Jack Newman. After adopting a child, Newman was able to induce lactation through a combination of hormone treatments and frequent nursing sessions.

Male lactation may seem like a strange and abnormal occurrence. But the rare phenomenon of male lactation is a fascinating subject. And it has captured the interest of scientists and laypeople alike. While much remains to be discovered, continued research into male lactation could have significant implications for our understanding of infant nutrition and lactation science as a whole. The underlying mechanisms that allow men to produce milk could help to improve our understanding of the biology of lactation in general. This could lead to breakthroughs in lactation-related issues such as mastitis and low milk supply.

Despite these potential benefits, male lactation remains a largely unexplored field of study.

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Source: “Strange but True: Males Can Lactate” — Scientific American

WTF Fun Fact 12810 – The Platypus Has No Nipples

Platypus nipples are probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of interesting animal facts. But the fact that the creature has none is actually pretty wild.

We might think of nipples as something less than wholesome, but they serve a purpose – to feed the young.

How does a platypus feed their young without nipples?

In what may be one of nature’s strangest oversights, platypuses so have a milk duct, they do produce milk from their young, but there’s so central “outlet” from which to feed.

And while it’s bizarre to picture (but we swear this is how it works), the mothers secrete milk through their mammary glands, and it then rolls down their skin, collecting in the little grooves on their bodies. And that’s where their young find it to feed. In cases where there are patches of fur, the babies simply suck the milk out of those soaked fur patches.

It seems…less than efficient. But the platypus still exists, so it must work just fine for their species!

Platypus birth is also unique

The platypus is a monotreme – a creature in which reproduction takes place by females laying eggs. That might not seem like a big deal, but these are mammals. So it’s actually incredibly rare. Vertebrates (which are animals like birds, fish, reptiles, etc. all lay eggs), but the platypus and echidna (or spiny anteater) are the only common mammals that do it.  

When it’s born, the baby platypus cuts its way out of the egg using an “egg tooth” that grows on the end of its nose. This “tooth” is made of keratin (just like fingernails), and it falls off not long after.

Other fun facts about the platypus

According to the American Museum of Natural History (cited below), other fun facts about the platypus include:

“A female platypus usually lays only two eggs at a time and rarely leaves her stream-side den while nursing her young. When she does leave, she plugs the den opening with dirt.”


“A platypus’s bill can sense tiny electric currents produced by the bodies of small animals, helping it hunt in muddy water.”

To be honest, we never gave much thought to the platypus. They’re not much to look at (though some might say they’re cute), but they’re certainly interesting from a biological standpoint!

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Source: “Platypus” – The American Museum of Natural History