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Roving Gang of Wild Monkeys Terrorizing the Streets of Japan

Number of Attacks Has Doubled Over the Past Week


Local residents are going bananas after a gang of wild monkeys terrorized residents of the Japanese town of Yamaguchi.

Fifty-eight people have been attacked since July 8, as the monkeys have tried to snatch babies, sneak into nursery schools, and bite and claw at people’s flesh, according to the Associated Press.

“They are so smart, and they tend to sneak up and attack from behind, often grabbing at your legs,” city official Masato Saito told the AP.

The genus of monkey wreaking havoc on the streets of Japan is the snow macaque, which is native to the region — a chimp off the old block.

Macaques are omnivorous and live in troops of various sizes. There are more than 20 species of macaque and though they are considered highly intelligent, they can be as bad-tempered as adults.

One woman was assaulted while hanging laundry, another person revealed toes that had to be bandaged.

“Recently, we’ve heard of cases where the monkey has clung onto a person’s leg and once that person tries to get them off, they get bitten – or they’ve gotten sprung on from behind,” Saito said. “I have never seen anything like this my entire life.”

Some news outlets reported that the string of incidents was caused by a single monkey, but the attacks and sightings continued after the prime mate was captured. Though monkeys normally interact well with people, as recent reports indicate, they have been excessively chimp-handsy. Devolving into gorilla warfare tactics is out of the ordinary, according to some experts.

“Japanese macaque monkeys have coexisted alongside humans since the Edo period – Japan is very mountainous and communities live close to mountains where monkeys live, so it is easy for monkeys to enter villages and towns,” said Mieko Kiyono, an expert in wildlife management and associate professor at Kobe University.

The number of attacks has doubled over the last week — there seems to be no gibbon take. In response, local police, armed with nets, have been laying traps and stepping up patrols.

“It’s a scary thing … never heard of anything quite like it,” said Michael Huffman, a primatologist and professor at Kyoto University.

Police have now turned to tranquilizer guns to reduce the number of monkey attacks.

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