Most of us love spending time outdoors. Whether you’re an avid hiker, backpacker, camper, or just someone who likes to experience and relax in the open air, we all appreciate getting away from the buzz of the city and into nature whenever we can.
The outdoors is an amazing experience, and the only slight annoyance to deal with will be Monkeys. You see, monkeys have a funny habit of popping up unannounced in several outdoor locations, be it a park, a forest, or even a picnic spot. These crafty creatures are notorious for their mischievous behavior. They love to play tricks on humans and go out of their way to scare them.
On a recent trek, we encountered monkeys and like most of us, we were totally unprepared. We lost a few of our belongings but were able to retain most. Now, we want you to be equipped with the knowledge that might help you one day. Read on to learn how to deal with monkeys effectively and how to avoid being their next target!
Dealing With Monkeys
Where Monkeys Can Be Found?
- Tourist hotspots where people are prevalent
- Forests, jungles, and zoos
- Villages near forests where there is food
- Pretty much any hilly region
In general, monkeys are spotted more on sunny days and when the skies are clear.
Note: Please know that monkeys don’t roam alone. They are always with a pack.
Why You Should Never Feed Monkeys?
Monkeys are not pets. They are wild animals who can find their own source of food that nature provides.
Deforestation & soil erosion is one of the primary reasons why monkeys have migrated to the residential areas. It is high time that we become aware that we are destroying the home of numerous wildlife by cutting down trees. We don’t just destroy their homes, but on a more selfish note, we attract wildlife to our residential areas.
The food we give them – bread, cake, bananas, biscuits – is not part of their natural diet, and they are also high in sugar and salt. This causes them to develop an addiction to these foods and they will become aggressive when they are not able to get them. Over time, they seek human food instead of natural edibles.
By feeding them, we are not being kind or making them happy. We are making them lose their foraging instinct by feeding them.
Be kind. Do not feed them intentionally.
What Makes Them Angry?
- Snatching the food from them.
- Running away with food.
- Disturbing them while they are eating.
- Fighting with them and pushing them off.
- Getting too close.
- Beating them with sticks, or hurling rocks at them.
What To Do When You See Monkeys Or When It Approaches You?
The Dos & Don’ts:
- Keep your mobile phones and other valuables inside once you see monkeys. Make sure your hands are empty. Show the monkey that you are not holding anything in your hands.
- Do not run. Know that they are coming for food, and not to harm you. They will walk away from you, once they realize you are not carrying anything edible.
- Ensure you maintain a safe distance away from them. Never touch them, or invite them over. No insta-worthy picture is worth enduring the consequence of an annoyed monkey.
- Be patient. Wait until it is done searching for food. Do not hurl rocks at them, as that would trigger them to be violent towards you.
- Try to distract them with a better food option to ensure that the bag with your valuables is left alone.
- Do not make noises or scream. Monkeys tend to recognize the sound of plastic wrappers – the biscuit wrappers, quick bites like Lays chips, etc. Any noise that you make would actually make the situation worse, as the monkey’s retreat screeches would attract other members of its family and pack.
- Never ever leave your car doors or windows open or unlocked while eating.
- Do not stare or make eye contact with the monkeys. It makes them aggressive. They see direct eye contact as a challenge. Every time we made eye contact with a wild monkey, we found that to be more aggressive. The best thing to do is ignore them or at least pretend they are not there. Leave them alone and they will eventually leave, when they have lost interest.
- Never play loud music and disturb the wildlife and fellow hikers while doing nature walks. Listen to the melodies of nature or wear earphones. Leave as little a trace of your presence as possible. This is not just for safety, but to also ensure that the hikers that are with you and after you can continue to enjoy.
- If you try to take your belongings once the monkeys leave, do not make noise, or cause a ruckus. The monkeys might come rushing back. Silently take whatever is needed and vacate the place as soon as you can before it calls its pack. Remember that it was their place first and that you are a visitor.
- It is always good to carry a hiking pole or stick while hiking. It would save you when they try to attack. This however is a rare occurrence. These poles will come in handy when monkeys throw things at you and as long as you don’t take a stance that they perceive to be threatening, you will be fine.
- Don’t get hurt trying to safeguard your materialistic things. Prioritize staving off bodily harm.
What Monkeys Tend To Do With Your Material Things?
- Take it and run away.
- Regardless of the height, they might drop the snatched belongings, say from a tree or cliff.
- They will leave your belongings after finding nothing edible. You can pick up your things later after they depart.
What Scares Them Away?
- Generally, monkeys are scared of firecrackers, gunshots, or any loud noise. That is how people generally scare away the monkeys from farmlands in order to protect their crops. We, however, recommend you not to use guns or any firecrackers while outdoors.
Remember the monkey holds no grudge against you or does not threaten you with the intent to cause harm. It just does what survival and evolution have programmed it to do.
- Dogs. They bark their lungs out if they see any money and protect you from their attack.
What To Do If A Monkey Bites You?
Yes, monkeys do bite humans!
WHO reports that 20% of wildlife injuries are caused due to money bites. Interestingly, in India, it is the second most common animal bite after dogs.
Monkey bites are prone to developing diseases like Herpes B and Rabies. Do not scratch or touch the areas of the wound. Do the basic first aid of cleaning the wound with clean water and it is best to seek medical support immediately and get yourself treated.
Let wildlife be wild and free. Touching wildlife may seem just a ‘minor issue’ and ‘no-big-deal’ but the ripple effects can spread the wrong message among people, which threatens the life of both wildlife and us.
Remember they won’t expressly hurt you. If anything, they react to what you do. So admire them (from a distance), ignore them, and they will leave you alone.
Let’s always learn ways to live in harmony with nature.
We hope you are more prepared now than we were when we encountered these curious and mischievous beasts. Have you ever bumped into a monkey while hiking or outdoors? Tell us in the comments below.