Yes, you read it right! Monkeys are having sex with deers. A recent study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior claims that Japanese scientists have observed instances of interspecies intercourse, mainly between adolescent female Japanese macaques and sika deer.
Young macaques females are previously known for hitching rides on the back of their long-legged neighbours, but now the researchers say they’ve determined this ritual is sexual in nature. The scientists have also noticed homosexual behaviour among female macques in the past.
“We first witnessed this behaviour in 2014, and the locals who interact with this population on a daily basis had never noticed it before then. So we were quite lucky, because I think we witnessed the start of it,” study author Noëlle Gunst-Leca of the University of Lethbridge told PopSci.
While such interspecies physical intimacy is obviously not intended for procreation, researchers believe such behaviour can become a trend among younger macaques for sexual release.
The deers also enjoy the ritual as well. But not sensually.
The researchers have observed that during the mating ritual, the macaques would perform grooming behaviors on their paramours; picking ticks and other skin parasites off of their backs and necks. “They groom areas not easily accessed by deer,” says Gunst-Leca. But while the monkeys sometimes playfully ride the deer “rodeo-style,” Gunst-Leca says, the new mounting behaviour is definitely sexual. “The females mount the deer and thrust their pelvis,” she says.
Monkeys are incidentally not only ones in animal kingdom indulging in freaky sexual behaviour. Bonobos practically build their (peaceful and matriarchal) society on the exchange of sexual favours. Penguins are known to make gay couples frequently. Scientists even caught brown bears engaging in oral sex.