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Avoiding Monkey Attacks

Category: Safety and Security

8 Sep 2013 | 04:53 AM

Before you raise those eyebrows, monkeys may not be the usual pedestrians where you come from but they are usual occupants of temples and beaches in some of the most popular destinations in Asia and Africa.

So, if you are planning to visit the exciting destinations of India, Thailand, or Cape Town (to name a few) anytime soon, you may want to equip yourself with essential tips on how to prevent these cute and agile little creatures from ruining your vacation.

Before visiting a major tourist destinations such as temples, pilgrimage sites, or beaches, ask your tour guide or research in advance about the monkey population in the area. If monkeys are to be expected, you are better off leaving your bag in the hotel or your car. Monkeys found in the sites frequented by tourists are pretty much conditioned - from years of experience, no less - that bag-totting visitors have goodies hidden in their pouches. Some of these little creatures may have a penchant for bag snatching, so it is safer not to bring a purse of any kind that'll tempt them to give you a rub down.

Feeding a monkey may seem like a good idea but the fact is it's definitely not! Seeing you with some snacks may excite them and cause them to outrun each other to your direction. It may also cause an ugly fight among them if you favor one over another. So, the number one rule is to never bring food with you.

You may visit some areas with vendors selling bananas to tourists who want to feed the monkeys. This may suggest these primates are used to benevolent human contact but you should not be complacent as to actually hand them some bananas in good faith. If you wish to give them some treats, don't hand-feed them. Place your goodies in a safe distance from the monkeys and leave it there. They will not need much prodding to help themselves to it and avoid jumping on you.

Monkeys, like any other animals, attack when they feel threatened. So you should be careful not to create any gesture or sound that will make them think you are a threat to them. Always stay a safe distance between you and the monkey. You don't have to go near them to get a good view. Your camera's zoom lenses are there for a reason, so use them instead.

Monkeys may feel threatened by your pearly whites. Although your fellow humans find a big smile as an invitation for a friendly interaction, primates consider the gesture as an invitation for combat. So, avoid flashing your teeth at them if you don't want them to get all riled up. Shouting and loud noises should also be avoided.

What if one jumps on you? The worst thing that you can do is panic and start swatting wildly. It will definitely not help you in any way except ensure that you actually get a bite or two. Instead, remain calm and walk slowly despite your overwhelming urge to freak out. If you don't have a bag or some snacks to run off with, the monkey will soon get bored and leave you for more exciting exploits. So, keep your cool and don't let these little monkeys get the better of you. No reason you cannot enjoy these wonderful animals but do so with caution and you will wonderful stories to tell.