Life and death on Christmas day
Australia has ten species of antechinus, voracious carnivores that hunt insects, worms, lizards and occasionally small birds supplemented with plants. They can be seen in the day but are generally nocturnal. Like many marsupials, the species is solitary until breeding in winter then it’s an orgy. All females come into oestrus at the time, triggering a mating frenzy. Copulation is a violent affair with males biting their partner’s necks before each move on to other encounters. Two weeks later, every male is dead. The corticosteroids produced during the mating madness knocks out their immunes system, they develop gangrene and other infections and haemorrhaging. This isn’t winter, no sign of attack wounds, perhaps this female died of old age?