London, May 3 : Animals will often attack other species when they're looking for food. One seal however, had sex on its mind when it set its sights on a penguin.
The incident, which was caught on tape, is the first reported case of a mammal trying to have sex with a member of another class of vertebrate, such as a bird, fish, reptile or amphibian.
First, the 15-and-a-half stone seal subdued the 2-and-a-half stone penguin by lying on it, which made the penguin flap its flippers while it tried in vain to stand and escape. The seal alternated between resting on the penguin and thrusting its pelvis, trying to insert itself, but the bird played hard to get and the seal gave up.
"At first glimpse, we thought the seal was killing the penguin. Marion Island is the only place where Antarctic fur seals are known to hunt king penguins on land, so the idea that the seal was trying to eat the object of its attention made sense. But then we realised that the seal's intentions were rather more amorous," The Sun quoted Nico de Bruyn, of the Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, as saying.
According to the team who recorded the event, the seal was young, frustrated and sexually inexperienced and thus was unable to find another seal for sex.
Mr de Bruyn who was unable to determine the penguin's sex, said: "It was most certainly a one-off and has never previously or since been recorded anywhere in the world to our knowledge."
The findings are reported in the Journal of Ethology.