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Necrophilia in the Animal Kingdom

Although Kissed may have made me more sympathetic to it, necrophilia is still one of the grossest sexual preferences I can think of. OK – some of us may find death fascinating, researching it and surrounding ourselves with imagery of it, but that doesn’t mean we’d prefer a cold, lifeless body to a warm, moving one…in bed. But necrophilia is not something limited to our inbred human sensibilities. Apparently, many species attempt to copulate with the deceased; it’s been documented in ” Ducks, penguins, sea lions, pigeons, and even ground squirrels” according to this article on National Geographic. More recently, a researcher in Brazil watched a common species of lizard, the black-and-white tegu, engage in necrophilia, and was pretty excited about it. Zoologist Ivan Sazima documented the necrophiliac behaviour of this species when he observed not one, but two male tegus attempt to have sex with an obviously dead female. The first one was scared off after 5 minutes, but the second one tried for an hour to get her going, despite her stench and bloating. In another case, biologist Kamelia Algiers observed a male long-nosed leopard lizard attempting to woo a female lizard who had been hit by a car, but even though its “intestines were sticking out, and there were ants crawling all over it,” the male wasn’t deterred. These necrophiliac instances are pretty much unexplained (as is human necrophilia, I assume) and therefore considered important for scientists who study these animals. Both cases were documented in the journal Herpetology Notes. Why am I telling you about these lizards? I don’t know, maybe it helps to know that the human being isn’t some completely fucked-up mental case of an animal, that other animals do strange and horrible shit to each other too (although I still think we’re weirder). Mostly because it’s fucking bizarre, and a little something to weird up your day. Happy Tuesday!

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A male tegu opens its jaws and attempts to mate with a female lizard that’s been dead for two days. // Photograph by Ivan Sazima

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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