Rare photo shows a macaque riding a deer for fun in a Japanese forest

In the left third of a densely forested frame stands an alert looking deer with a macaque draped across its back, lying down.
The macaque here is a young female, and appears to be merely enjoying a free ride.Atsuyuki Ohshima/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year
  • Wildlife photographer Atsuyuki Ohshima captured a rare interaction between a macaque and a deer.

  • The photographer says the macaque took a ride on the deer just for fun.

  • The photo is recognized in the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

They lounge in hot tubs, have active sex lives, and sometimes, take joyrides. Macaques are living the life.

Photographer Atsuyuki Ohshima captured a rare photo of one monkey's cowboy behavior. The photo, taken on Japan's Yakushima Island, is titled "Forest Rodeo."

Ohshima snapped the photo just after the monkey catapulted itself onto a sika deer, using a tree as a springboard, he described on Instagram.

Macaques have been observed riding sika deer before, scientists said. As Ohshima suggested, sometimes the monkeys just take the rides for fun.

Japanese macaque snow monkey
Japanese macaques in Yamanouchi.Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

These native Japanese species have long coexisted and even share a symbiotic relationship, Inverse reported.

The deer clean up after the monkeys, eating the fruit the primates leave behind. In return, the monkeys groom the deers, hopping on their backs to pull off bugs.

But other times, a macaque's motivations may be less pure.

Both male and female macaques have been caught trying to get it on with sika deer during mating season, like in the video below at around eight seconds in:

Ohshima said that didn't seem to be occurring in this case in the official caption for the photo on the Natural History Museum's website.

The frame is one of 16 highly commended photos in this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.

The judges for this year's contest sorted through 49,957 entries from hopeful photographers across 95 countries. The panel of judges chose 100 photos to display in London on October 13.

The winners of the 59th Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition will be announced on October 10.

Read the original article on Business Insider