long been interested in the species of animal known
as 'boy racer' (Nercus Machinus). As I've said before,
Llandrindod is full of them after dark. The males
appear from the shadows, roaring their exhausts and
farting around corners with excessive speed as they
lean heavily to one side.
I went for
a bicycle ride last night and saw loads. Sometimes
they stop in the middle of a road and chat from their
wound-down windows. Sometimes they are parked by the
road, revving their engine, with a couple of the female
of the species sitting meekly on a bench nearby. They
mate both homosexually and heterosexually. Their same-sex
mating habits are quiet and secretive: sometimes you
pass a dark, unused car park with two of them parked
next to each other, facing in opposite directions
like a Pisces fish symbol, lights ablaze and metal
coat shining. I imagine some long, dangly plastic
tube connecting them under their floorpans.
They do have
fascinating habits. It can be better than badger-watching.
But you do have to be careful. As they are bigger,
faster often less intelligent than most humans, like
bulls and wild boar, they can be somewhat aggressive
and unpredictable. Twice last night on my half-hour
ride, I was charged. Both times, I was tootling along
opposite some parked cars, and a roaring thing appeared
from nowhere, pulled out onto my side of the road
and charged headlong straight for me, forcing me onto
the pavement for my life. I am quite used to it, but
be careful if this is your first time. They are very
territorial, and they don't like it when humans are
out and about in their patch.
are much smaller and weaker. They sit in pairs on
benches around the town centre, looking very much
like frail humans. But there the similarity ends.
They are waiting, generally, to be picked up. Many
males may pull up beside them during the night, but
they will be attracted to only a few of them. Then,
they insert their entire body inside the male's metal
shell and hang onto parts of the interior while the
male races around the town. This must be either painful
or delightful, as if you listen closely you can hear
little shrieks and yelps. During this ritual, it is
important to stay well clear. If you are walking or
cycling, watch by all means but stay on the pavements.
After the female has reached orgasm, she leaves the
male's body and resumes her place on a bench, waiting
for another one.
After a number
of such encounters, the female will spend nine months
incubating a baby boy racer. When it is born, she
sprouts a small four-wheeled appendage in which to
carry it. When the boy racer is old enough, he suddenly
metamorphoses into the large shiny metal shell that
you see on the streets; and discards his mother's
appendage, usually down a grassy slope by a stream,
where one or two of the wheels fall off.
there you have it. Fascinating. I believe this species
has been scantily documented. This is quite surprising,
as it is prevalent in most british towns today, having
infested the darkest alleyways for about twenty years
now. You only have to go out after dark to see them