Originally published November 18 2014
Seals routinely rape and eat penguins, scientists discover
by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
(NaturalNews) Scientists from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, are shocked to discover the level of sexual coercion in the animal kingdom, particularly in the seal population. It turns out that, when seals aren't getting any, they turn violent, coercing penguins to have sex with them. If the seals don't get what they want, they may rape the penguins several times and may even eat the helpless birds when they're done.
The most recent evidence of this chilling behavior was brought forth from the sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean on Marion Island. There, scientists discovered the dominant interspecies sexual behavior of hard-up seals. The university scientists have recently documented four separate occasions of seals sexually harassing king penguins. In three of the four incidents, the seal let the penguin go after he was satisfied. On one occasion, the seal went violent and killed the penguin after raping it several times on the ice.
Some researchers believe that the behavior is learned and is emerging more and more in the wild as hard-up adult seals pass the ill behavior on to their next of kin. However, the University of Pretoria scientists documented four incidents that are separate and unlearned.
Seals dominating penguins, confused between aggression and sexual arousalIn the footage of one incident, a large seal was seen attacking a female penguin. Trapped in his massive power, the penguin struggled as the enormous seal thrust himself upon it. (Scientists have not determined the gender of the penguin victims.)
All four incidents observed by the university scientists show how violent and aggressive seals have become, and this malevolent sexual behavior is increasing. In all four incidents, the seals were observed chasing down their prey, overwhelming the birds with their extraordinary power and then proceeding to have interspecies sex. The researchers said that the action lasts for about two and a half to six minutes. When the seals are through, they wait, rest and then go at it again.
A sighting also occurred in 2006 on Trypot beach. This is when scientists first learned of the behavior. "Honestly I did not expect that follow up sightings of a similar nature to that 2006 one would ever be made again, and certainly not on multiple occasions," said Nico de Bruyn, of the Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria.
The scientists report that in the newer incidents seals were actually penetrating the penguins. In the December 2012 observation, blood was found streaming out in between the king penguin's legs.
In the most recent observation, not only did the dominant seal rape a penguin for 826 agonizing minutes, but it went on to kill it and eat it.
The scientists do not understand why the sudden spate in violent interspecies sex between seals and penguins is occurring. They can only reason that it's done out of frustration and aggression. All seal offenders are male. Some researchers suggest that the male seals have a hard time distinguishing between their own breed and that of penguins.
The researchers agreed: "Determining the drivers of the unusual behaviour is nearly impossible."
However, de Bruyn did offer one suggestion on why seals were consciously using sexual coercion. He believes that the seal's predatory nature toward penguins could now be evolving into sexual arousal, as seals intermix their own aggression with their desire for sexual stimulation. De Bruyn also suggests that the aggressive males are now more likely to use sexual coercion because they have limited sexual access to their own species. There may not be enough female seals to satiate the sexual appetite of a male seal. Male seals often exhibit "gregarious breeding habits" that take advantage of multiple females in a mating season.
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