Monkeys aren’t just sharing the love with each other. They’re spreading it to other animals, too, including deer, according to a new report.
After a video of a snow monkey and sika deer engaging in sexual intercourse went viral, researchers from universities in Canada conducted an experiment, published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, to investigate the behavior.
To do so, they examined snow monkeys, also known as Japanese macaques, in Japan, documenting their attempts to climb on and sexually hump the backs of deer. They compared these actions to sexual interactions between adolescent female monkeys, which is a common occurrence. Female monkeys are not usually seen sexually interacting with male monkeys, who are known to ignore their advances.
In total, the team recorded 67 mounts between monkeys, which involved six adolescent females, within a three-month period. However, the interaction between monkeys and deer was even greater during another three-month period. They observed 258 mounts between the two species, which involved five female adolescent monkeys and four male deer and two female deer.
They noted their recordings didn’t show actual sexual penetration, but “the fact that most monkey-to-deer mounts were performed in series, forward-oriented, and accompanied by pelvic thrusting further indicate the sexual nature of these heterospeciﬁc inter-actions,” the team said.
Why is this happening?
Scientists said the species are often in the same areas, because deer munch on the food leftover by monkeys. Plus, their mating periods are the same.
Furthermore, they believe the behavior is a result of the monkeys exploring and practicing their sexuality. They revealed they may be using this interaction as a substitute for their lack of sex with their male counterparts, who “routinely reject them.”
“Consequently, adolescent females may seek stag mates as an outlet for sexual frustration,” they wrote.
While the authors are unsure if this is a “short-lived fad” or the start of a “culturally maintained phenomenon,” they to hope to further their investigations for more clarity.
Take a look at their findings here.