Thursday, December 23, 2010

Death after Sex

Can you imagine making love for six hours?  I don't mean half an hour of exertion and then a two hour sleep and then go again, I mean six hours of the actual act?  Well this little guy can, and he might even manage it several times!  However at the end of the two-week mating season every single male is dead!
This is a brown antechinus (ant-e-ky-nos).  He is an Australian marsupial, in other words the female has a pouch which carries the young, and he is carnivorous.   You may recall me writing about the phascogale, another carnivorous marsupial from the same family. 

I found this one, and six other members of its family in one of my sheds.  I'd heard the telltale rustlings and thought a rat might be the culprit.  I set my live catch rat trap, (I catch things alive in case they are the good guys that can then be released) and the trap didn't go off.  That's because an antechinus isn't interested in pumpkin seeds and peanut butter (much more effective for rats than cheese!).  This little carnivorous chappy lives on beetles, spiders, cockroaches and those other insects we'd prefer not to have crawling around us.  He'd be a perfect guest if he could only be toilet trained!

Sadly, because he is about mouse size, he is often killed before people realise he's a good guy.  I've now removed the cardboard and paper they thought would be great to nest in and so hopefully they've found a good spot back out in my scrubby bush.  There are many different types of antechinus living in Australia and I find them one of the cutest and most fascinating.  Amazing to think that this little fellow has the stamina for a six hour sex act and that all males are dead at the end of the two weeks, leaving the females to raise their young until the whole cycle begins again next breeding season, (August/September).  Some women might think this a perfect world!

Let me also take this opportunity to wish you all happy holidays!  I'm also taking a blogging break as I've taken on a three month role in the NSW Elections and so go full time from January 4th and I fear blogging may have to take a back seat again.  In the meantime check out some of my other posts, all listed by category under the header photograph.  Under Extras you'll find items such as the "Rules for being Human" and the "Lost Generation Palindrome".  In Environment you can read about two-headed fish, natural deficit disorder and saving money. If cooking is your thing try Recipes and the delights of healthy chocolate or mango ice cream.  Under Wild Life find all the links to Merrilyn, the eastern grey kangaroo and her family.  See the video of her latest joey, see "Big Boy" and read his story.  There are also fighting snakes, tawny frogmouths and many other wonders of the Australian bush and finally under Writing you can see how many of the BBC's Top 100 books you've read, or consider whether you might take on the challenge of novel writing in 2011.

Thank you to all those who've joined in my blogging journey in 2010.  Special thanks to those who've taken the time to leave a comment, you are much appreciated and I wish each and every one of you a fabulous 2011 - happy writing, reading and living!


  1. Hey Cheryl you'll put all the males off sex ha ha. Poor little guy!
    NSW elections. What fun for you! Beats blogging any day huh?
    Very Merry Christmas and looking forward to seeing you online again!

  2. I'll miss you my friend! I understand busy for sure, so good luck with elections and such. I think this little guy is so cute and I would think he's a mouse so I'm glad he lives in your neighborhood...Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year!

  3. I swear we had some of those little delights in our back yard last year, they just looked 'wrong' for the garden variety mouse but the wildlife gal wasn't 100% sure.

  4. Well, I'm not surprised they pack up after a such a marathon under-the-covers session.
    Have a happy break and enjoy your new role. It sounds very interesting...

  5. You'll be missed, but hope to hear all about it when you return to blog again.

    All the best for 2011.


  6. Six hours at a time? Holey doughnut!
    That's about five hours and fifty minutes too long.
    I'm glad you let him go.
    He looks just like a mouse to me; how do you tell the difference?

  7. I'm going to miss all of you guys too! River the main difference between the looks of a mouse and an antechinus is the ears. Antechinus have quite large ears. If you were to see them side-by-side there are a lot of differences but the ears are the easiest when you ahve one on its own. Great to have around as they clean up all the insects.

  8. provide the most amazing stories from the other side of our world...I will miss them as you take a break! This post shows a whole new species I knew nothing about. He would be welcomed in my yard too and is even cute.
    Good luck wiht your job for the next 3 months and hopefully you can find time to squeeze in a post from time to time!!
    PS...What a title and what a way to go!!!

  9. I love these stories, Cheryl! And love that little critter. I'll miss you a bunch, and look forward to your return. Wishing you the happiest of new years.

  10. I think I could definitely live in this world, after my divorce last year, this would have been the perfect option............

  11. Cheryl, I have missed you so much. I just happened to go back to an old post of mine and when I saw your name and remembered all the wonderful tales of your pet kangaroo, I wanted to drop you a line and say "hello". Please come back with your interesting stories of life down under and stories about yourself.

  12. He does look just like a little mouse!

  13. Cheryl, hope all is well with you and your furry friends! Miss ya! Write again soon!

  14. Cheryl....missing you!!! -me

  15. Six hours - wow - I got a little sad thinking that they all cark it though. :(


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