A male snow monkey has been seen attempting to have sex with female sika deer on Japan’s Yukishima Island.
A paper published in the Journal of Primates describes how a low-ranking monkey was repeatedly seen trying to sexually mount at least two different female deer.
The two species generally share a co-operative relationship, with the deer eating fruits dropped by the monkeys and the monkeys grooming the deer.
Although Japanese macaques are known to ride deer, this particular monkey showed “clearly sexual behaviour towards several female deer, some of which tried to escape whilst others accepted the mount” the paper reports.
Researchers believe “mate deprivation” was the most likely cause of this unusual behaviour, as the monkey had limited access to females of his own species.
This is thought to be only second recorded incidence of sexual interaction between wild animals which are distantly related.