Monkey mayhem: Tails of mischief make headlines worldwide

Photo courtesy of Live Science

Recent incidents of monkey attacks have been in the headlines recently in several countries, featuring long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques in Thailand, Japanese macaques in Japan, and Hanuman langurs in India.

While these incidents might paint monkeys as villains, the root cause is a phenomenon called over-habituation.

Devil monkeys are born when animals lose their fear of humans due to over-habituation, often driven by the irresistible lure of human food. From squirrels in city parks to bears in North America, and now monkeys in tropical tourist havens, these creatures become a nuisance when they associate people with a buffet of treats.

Monkeys, being incredibly smart and social creatures, learn quickly from each other. Some groups have become so adept at manipulating tourists that they engage in trades, stealing valuables like mobile phones but dropping them when offered a tasty morsel. A sly game of mischief that has become a menace, reported Live Science.

Tourists often fall prey to monkey attacks due to a lack of understanding of primate body language. Even highly habituated monkeys provide warnings before an attack, but inexperienced observers misinterpret these signs. Unveiling these signals can be a game-changer for tourist safety.

  1. Maintain Distance: Stay at least 7 meters away to keep both tourists and monkeys at ease.
  2. Respect Their Space: Avoid blocking the route to safety or coming between adults and their young.
  3. Master the Art of Communication: Monkeys perceive direct eye contact or bared teeth as aggressive. Keep a calm demeanour to avoid misunderstandings.
  4. Decode Warning Signs: Be aware of primate signals such as bared teeth, direct stares, or aggressive gestures. If observed, quietly back away to de-escalate the situation.
  5. Ban on Feeding: Resist the urge to share your snacks with the charming creatures. Feeding them only reinforces the over-habituation cycle.

As wildlife enthusiasts tread the fine line between wonder and potential danger, understanding monkey behaviour is the key to coexisting harmoniously.

Environment NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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