The ducks will get you in the end

This letter to the editor warns that if leads to an increase in , then could take over the world as they always nest in pairs. Jasmin doesn’t want humans to compete with and warns us that the may get us in the end.

Sadly for Jasmin, I think her homeschooled education may have overly romanticsed the duck. I’d heard somewhere that duck sex often involves rape, but didn’t realise quite how bad ducks are in the sex stakes. I relayed my findings over Twitter last night to both amusement and horror.

Around one third of duck sex is duck rape. And we’re often talking gang rape of ducks when a group of drakes will basically subdue a female duck. Wikipedia says:

When they pair off with mating partners, often one or several drakes end up “left out”. This group sometimes targets an isolated female duck, even one of a different species, and proceeds to chase and peck at her until she weakens, at which point the males take turns copulating with the female.

One site makes the point:

They’ll hump any species, any gender, anytime.

Even worse for Jasmine who implied ducks may evolve further as they don’t do same sex stuff, well one Dutch researcher saw a drake ravage another male’s lifeless duck-corpse for seventy-five minutes.

Male Mallards also occasionally chase other male ducks of a different species, and even each other, in the same way. In one documented case of “homosexual necrophilia”, a male Mallard copulated with another male he was chasing after the chased male died upon flying into a glass window.

Sure he may not have married the dead drake at the end of it, but …

Basically ducks are nasty little creatures. I feel rather guilty for all the times I have fed them.

Interesting rep Todd Akin may have been right about females not getting pregnant if they are raped – if he was talking about ducks.

Some vaginas had spiral channels that would impede sex by twisting in the opposite direction to that of the male phallus. Others had as many as eight cul-de-sac pouches en route, that could prevent fertilisation by capturing unwelcome sperm. Moreover, these features were only found in species renowned for forced sex. All other species had simple male and female genitalia.

“These structures are wonderfully devious, sending sperm down the wrong road or impeding penetration,” says Birkhead.

He says that the features demonstrate an evolutionary “arms race” in which control over reproduction alternates between the sexes. If the male develops a longer, more elaborate phallus to force copulation, females wrest back control by developing features to thwart males who rape.

I will agree with Jasmine that we don’t want to live in a planet ruled by our duck overlords.

Incidentally the duck penis is rather large. In some ducks it can stretch to 40 cm or so, which if they were a human would be a 3.5 metre penis.

Many dolphins are also rapists, and like mallards do either gender.

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