Till death brings us closer.

It was a lazy afternoon on 5 June 1995. Kees Moliker was settling into his chair, minding his own business when he heard a loud thud outside his window. An ornithologist by training, his office was situated within the Natuurmuseum Rotterdam in Nethlerlands. Cautiously he approached the window where the thud was heard and he witnessed a horrifying sight! An adult male mallard was lying dead on the ground. There was another mallard mounting the corpse and raping it. Moliker stared transfixed at the sight before him…for nearly 75 minutes. When he couldn’t stand it anymore, he left his office and approached the crime scene to stop the hideous crime from continuing.

Scene of Crime

Scene of Crime

What just happened? Sex with a corpse? How is that possible? Contrary to what many people believe about animal sexual behavior, there are species whose sexual behavior are promiscuous and opportunistic in nature. A wide range of animals appear to masturbate and use objects as tools to help them do so. In many species it seems that animals try to give and receive sexual stimulation where procreation is not the aim.

gay mallards

On that fateful day in June 1995, Kees Moliker witnessed animal homosexual necrophilia. Necrophilia in animals is essentially when a living animal engages in a sexual act with a dead animal. What happened on that day was when a drake mallad (Anas platyrhynchos) was in full flight, it hit the glass facade of the Natuurmuseum Rotterdam building and died 2 metres away from the facade. According to Moliker, he speculated that the 2 mallards were involved in some kind of aerial chase or pursuit flight and while the victim flew into the glass building, the drake that was pursuing managed to avoid collision and landed next to the dead mallard. This is a common motif in duck behavior which is also known as rape flight. It was unlikely that the other drake was just passing by and saw the dead mallard as it appeared beside the corpse in less than a minute after the mallard’s death.


After landing, the “rapist” forcibily picked into the back, the base of the bill and mostly into the back of the head of the dead mallard for about two minutes, then mounted the corpse and started to copulate, with great force,
almost continuously picking the side of the head. The necrophilic rapist only reluctantly left his victim when Moliker approached the dead mallard and “rescued” it from the “rapist” after 75 minutes. So it seemed that it could have gone on even longer if Moliker hadn’t intervened.

Upon inspection of the dead mallard, it was revealed that it was a male mallard. This was unusual as necrophilia was known in the mallards but only among heterosexuals. Essentially, this made the first observed case of homosexual necrophilia in mallads. This discovery netted Moliker an Ig nobel prize in biology awarded for improbable research; research that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.”

You can check out the video Homosexual Necrophilia

Now a few questions that deserve further research are these. Did the gay duck just broke up with his partner? And is he doing this to vent his frustration? Well, these are interesting things to contemplate on.


Moeliker.C.W., 2001. The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard Anas platyrhynchos (Aves: Anatidae). DEINSEA, 8: 243-247.

“Necrophilia among ducks ruffles research feathers” by Donald.Macleod. Improbable Research, 8 March 2005. URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2005/mar/08/highereducation.research (accessed on 8 Apr 2010).

Minimovies-Ig Nobel  Prizes Episode 1/6. (Homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck), 2 October 2009. URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfWiqdlmsm4 (accessed on 8 Apr 2010).

RAWR!! Hug Me if You Dare.

Lions are ferocious creatures of the wild. Yet some are bold enough to approach them and befriend them. Just as how Timothy Treadwell is to grisly bears and Steve Irwin is to crocodiles, Kevin Richardson has a special bond and relationship with lions. Kevin Richardson is a zoologist and animal behaviouralist. He uses love, understanding and trust to bond with the lions and win them over to himself.


Known as the Lion Whisperer, Kevin can look into their eyes confidently and even lie down with them. He has not been attacked or mauled by these lions yet, and I think the million dollar question is: how long will he have immunity?

Watch Video: Hugs with Lion

Some Interesting Facts about Lions:

The lion’s scientific name is Panthera leo. Lions belong to the Felidae or cat family. Lions have been known to live nearly 30 years in capitivity and have an average life span of 15 years in the wild. A full grown adult male lion can weigh between 150 and 259kilograms.

Despite all their growling, roaring and ferociousness, lions are actually family animals and social in their own communities. They usually live in groups of 15 or more called prides. Together, they hunt, prey, raise cubs and guard territories. The lionesses usually do most of the hunting and cub rearing in the prides.


Generally, the darker the lion’s mane, the older he is. Scientists believe that male lions’ manes make them look fierce and may help protect their throats in battle with other males. A male lion marks the territory of his pride by spraying a mixture of urine and glandular secretions on tree trunks and bushes.

Lions are carnivores – meat eaters. They hunt animals ranging in size from small hares to large buffalo. A typical meal for an adult male lion is 7kilograms of meat, though lions can consume as much as 27 kilograms at a sitting.


When lions walk, their heels don’t touch the ground. Lions can run at a top speed of 58kilometers an hour, but cannot sustain that for long. Lions remain inactive for up to 20 hours a day. They would usually wait until it is the coolest and darkest times of the day before they start to hunt.

A lion’s loud roar can carry for as far as eight kilometers and is usually heard after sunset.  The roar warns off intruders and helps to gather stray members of the pride.


National Geographic Kids. (1996). Lion – Facts & Photos, National Geographic Kids. Retrieved April 01, 2010, from National Geographic Kids: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Animals/CreatureFeature/Lion

Roberts, G. (2007, June 26). The king of the jungle doesn’t frighten the lion whisperer| Mail Online. Retrieved April 04, 2010, from Mail Online : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-464353/The-king-jungle-doesnt-frighten-lion-whisperer.html

Shark Attack! – Why sharks attack humans


Stories of surfers being attacked by sharks are common. They have lead to some people to speculating that sharks attack human beings for food. However, this is a misconception. It has been found that specific attacks on humans are rare.

There are two main reasons why sharks have attacked humans. One, they mistook the victims for a fish or a seal. They assume that the victims are what they are not. Two, the victim had strayed into the shark’s territory. Sharks, like any other animals, obey their animal instincts. When they feel that they are threatened by the presence of another creature, they would attack to defend themselves or their territories.

Often, shark attacks are not fatal. After taking a bite and tasting the human victim, they would realise that the victim is not their usual food and release him. Why then would they mistake a human being for their usual prey?

Humans who have been victims of shark attacks are usually surfers or those riding on boogie boards. In water, these victims bear close resemblance to turtles and sea lions; they appear roughly oval in shape with legs and arms dangling and paddling. Mistaking humans for those animals, sharks would move in to attack them.  

Surfers' resemblance to sea creatures

The species of sharks that are most responsible for attacks on humans are the Great White (Carcharodon carcharias), Tiger (Galeocerdo cuvier), and Bull (Carcharhinus leucas) sharks but according to a report, these sharks do not attack humans because they are aggressive but that there are just more humans taken to coastal waters in areas where these sharks can be found.


“Why do sharks attack people?”  by newsround. CBBC News, n.d. URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/find_out/guides/animals/sharks/newsid_3911000/3911131.stm (accessed on 3 Arpil 2010).

“How shark attacks work” by Ed Grabianowski. How Stuff Works, 30 October 2008. URL: http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/shark-attack.htm (accessed on 3 April 2010).

“Good recession news: Shark attacks down” by Ronald Bailey. Reason, 24 February 2009. URL: http://reason.com/blog/2009/02/24/good-recession-news-shark-atta (accessed on 3 April 2010).