Sometimes, the heart just wants what the heart wants. Although it may be an unusual or even unconventional choice, sometimes we just can’t help how we feel. In the animal kingdom, that isn’t any different. In fact, there are two animals who could certainly relate to this feeling right now, as they have lately been spotted being involved in intimate interactions that are far from the ordinary.
There are reports surfacing of a male Japanese macaque, also known as a snow monkey, and female sika deer, partaking in rather consensual intimacy. The buzz began about a year ago when the monkey was captured “repeatedly performing sexual mounts” on two separate female deer. One of them had made their escape abruptly, however, the other was reported to have basked upon the climax. At first, the nature of these unusual relations was unclear, however, studies are beginning to provide us with some clarity.
The Archives of Sexual Behavior conducted a study in hopes of deciphering the animal’s intentions behind all of this. To kick off their investigation, they began exploring the behaviors of snow monkeys in Minoo, Japan. Upon realizing it was only adolescent female monkeys involved with the deer, the team began to compare it to the sexual interactions between monkeys. They have now recorded a total of 13 successful interactions between monkeys and deer, all of which were courted by the monkeys.
Upon analyzing the behavior of these animals, it was revealed that there isn’t a distinct difference between adolescent female snow monkeys and deer, from the need for attention, how often they mounted or spent time on their partner, or their orientation. Furthermore, the adolescent females emit high pitched calls at the deer, which includes body spasms and screams, if the deer turned their back on the opportunity. This is exactly what they do in their relations with other monkeys. To their surprise, the level of thrusting was higher when involved with a deer, which enabled scientists to conclude that it may be a new behavioral tradition after all.
Most of us are still probably curious as to why this is even happening at all. Although this is something rare, it isn’t the first time that distinct species have been involved intimately. King penguins and Antarctic fur seals have crossed paths in this context as well. Researchers believe that it may be the result of mate deprivation, lacking proper access to other females of their kind. In a study released by Dr. Cedric Sueur in 2017, they stated: “As a consequence to not having access to females, these peripheral males could socially learn to have sexual interaction with sika deer in order to decrease their sexual frustration.”
This gives us a much clearer picture when trying to determine how this all came about. It is believed that this new behavior may even catch on, with other monkeys not having access to their gender opposites during the reproductive season. These monkeys will continue to dare to stray away from the conventions so long as they experience a deficit in this matter.
Although this encounter is alarming, it may be a new day in the animal kingdom. Breaking the norms, animals are clawing at new ways to procreate and rid themselves of their sexual frustrations. Whether this will catch on between other animals is unknown, however, it gives us a new outlook on the current and potential behaviors and relations between animal species.
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