Do Monkeys Attack Humans (and Their Pet Owners)?…Horror Stories

Yes, pet monkeys attack humans (and their owners). Below is a list of pet monkey horror stories:

The young lady whose hand is damaged for life says: “Kaylie seemed like the ideal kid to me. I bottle-fed her since she was a baby. She slept with me, went shopping with me, and was a member of the family. I never anticipated Kaylie, as a newborn capuchin, would attack me without notice when she was three years old.”

“Despite all of the operations I’ve had, the nerves in my hand and wrist were so badly damaged that I will likely never recover the use of my hand.”

“Kaylie was killed. Authorities had her euthanized. Anyone who buys a monkey believing it would make a good pet is going on a disastrous trip… It was agonizing and devastating.”

This nine-year-old child from Montgomery County, Texas, was playing in his yard when he was assaulted by a neighbor’s ‘pet’ macaque monkey.

The youngster describes the assault “The monkey began to leap. He grabbed this arm, then leaped to this arm and began tugging, and he went back and forth to a leg and both my arms as if he was taking turns on both of them.” [ABC 13 Eyewitness News]

A toothless and “fixed” capuchin monkey created these wounds. The lady whose leg is seen on the left wrote, “I am giving you a photo of what Boomer (a capuchin) did to me last week, as well as to inform you that you were so correct when you warned me that removing the teeth is no secure precaution against being wounded.” As you can see, he injured me from head to toe. I’m not sure why he became enraged; he simply attacked for no apparent cause. He was neutered when he was 9 months old, therefore it wasn’t hormones! I didn’t take anything away from him; he simply leaped on me before I understood what was going on. You once told me that you could remove a monkey’s teeth and testicles but not its savage nature. He’s now alone in a cage, and I’m afraid of him.

From an Email Correspondence Following an Attack by a “Pet” Monkey

The Author’s Name Is Withheld

I had just gotten off the phone and gone in to change my capuchin Rus when he attacked me as he had never been assaulted before. My husband rushed in just in time to see Rus flying towards my face after hearing me scream from outside. My blood was all over the place. My husband grabbed the baseball bat and knocked Rus off me into a chair, then grabbed him by the neck and slammed him back into his cage before rushing me to the hospital.

I got 31 bites and rips on both arms, hands, and legs, with the worst being a bite to my left ankle and one bite to my left breast. He continued to assault me, yelling and lunging at me. Nothing could possibly have triggered him. I had barely finished changing his diaper when he whirled around, grabbed the leash off the cupboard door, and screamed and attacked me. This time, I’m walking on crutches because I’m in a lot of pain.

The authorities were summoned; they know it was a monkey; photographs of me and Rus were taken; he was placed in quarantine, and he will be put down after six months. They wanted to remove his head right away, but I told them they couldn’t since he was the subject of a lawsuit. A collection of the photos, together with a letter, is being submitted to USDA officials right now to demonstrate how this monkey is being transported from state to state, as well as how aggressive and unpredictable he is. Because of the severity of the bites, the doctor said that if it had been a 3 to 6, 7, or 8-year-old kid, it would have killed them or necessitated major reconstructive surgery. I would have been hospitalized if he hadn’t had his canines. I thought I looked horrible the prior time, but it pales in comparison. As my husband said, he shudders to contemplate what might have happened if he had already departed for work and was not there when it occurred.

Lorraine, a paramedic who was forced to surrender her ‘pet’ capuchin to a primate sanctuary after multiple unprovoked assaults, sent this testimony in response to the photographs on this page:

These wounds seem to be minor in comparison to Missy’s, and particularly minor in comparison to my son’s bites.

Missy nibbled my hand till the flesh was hanging out, so I had to put it back in and steristrip it. I still have a hole under my skin from the missing flesh, and the scar she left on my arm would have required at least 20 stitches if I had gone to the doctor, but I treated it myself with steristrips and tape because I knew if I went to the hospital, they would have taken Missy away from me.

So I gave myself first aid and antibiotics. I was fortunate not to have a major infection. This represents just approximately 5% of Missy’s bites.

I still feel bad about the bites Missy gave my family since she was my monkey and my choice of pet.

My youngster was the most affected by bites. My daughter and spouse were also stung many times. Missy has torn holes in the garments of friends and family as they went by her cage, unaware that she would reach out and grip their clothes, refusing to let go until a piece fell off. Missy plucked clumps of hair from the dogs as well as from themselves. How many pairs of glasses have to be replaced since Missy had a habit of stealing people’s spectacles? She also liked to chew on jewelry. She’d have no qualms about reaching into your pocket, grabbing a $10 note, and chewing it into an unrecognizable mess.

Missy left scars on my body as well as my son’s hands. I wish I had shot images to show them how a nice, loving ape can become vicious when scared or threatened.

I understand it wasn’t her fault. She was a wild animal in captivity behaving instinctively when she was scared or felt threatened.

I only had myself to blame for believing I could nurture a wild animal in captivity. I wish I had photographs of Missy biting or the aftermath of a bite to distribute to everyone who is thinking about obtaining a monkey as a pet.

Missy could be extremely kind, and charming, and offer kisses and embraces, but her other side was much more heartbreaking.

I was alone with her one day when she bit me, and I remember thinking that if she bit me in the neck and nicked my jugular vein, my family might come home and find me dead. I know that seems dramatic, but she might bite your neck the same way she can bite your hand or arm. They don’t love bites; they cling to you and nibble. So it’s not that far-fetched.

It had come to the point where I would only allow Missy out of her cage when no one could be wounded. That was really unjust to her. When people claim they love animals, they should be told that if they love a wild animal, they should never keep it in captivity but should do all they can to protect them in the wild and to halt the trafficking of wild animals.

When baby monkeys and apes are just hours or days old, they are actually “ripped” away from their protecting moms. Remember that the breeder’s objective is commercial gain, not compassion.

The forced separation usually causes sadness in the baby monkeys/apes and their original moms. Female “breeders,” such as the one pictured on the right, are frequently purposefully impregnated at a frequency that can be 4-6 times higher than the species would breed in natural circumstances, resulting in serious and often fatal/crippling maladies such as hemorrhaging and severe bone mass depletion.

Buying a newborn primate is usually a kind of consumerism that supports an unethical (and often illegal) trade.

Baby monkeys/apes raised by humans do not have the opportunity to grow normally, and as a result, they become mentally maladjusted. They have little to no possibility of living their lives according to their impulses, as nature intended.

Many people who buy exotic animals (including monkeys and apes) with the intention of turning them into “pets” fail to consider the following:

Exotic animals need physical and psychological stimulation, as well as roomy and safe habitats, conspecific friendship, and unique dietary/nutritional demands. Depending on the species, the annual expenditures of adequately caring for an exotic animal might range into thousands of dollars. Many insurance firms refuse to provide homeowner’s coverage to anyone who owns ‘hazardous’ animals. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to locate a veterinarian who is competent and skilled in handling and treating exotic animals in many areas. Unlike domestic dogs and cats, certain animal species (such as nonhuman primates) may live for 30-40 years.

More than 90 animals, including Pearl and Zach, seen above, were removed from an Akron, Iowa house in December 2004 after authorities received allegations that they were being mistreated.

Pearl and Zach were adopted by Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary thanks to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

Scared? What about having a full-mouth tooth extraction for your pet monkey?


“Pulling of healthy teeth to prevent the nonhuman primate from biting is not considered ethical or appropriate for the health of the nonhuman primate.”

-Cathy A. Johnson-Delaney, D.V.M.

Source: The Primate Care Journal
Published by the Simian Society of America
Volume 5, No. II
Spring 2001
Compliments, Exotic Pet Medicine, Mosby Publishing, Volume 5, Issue 10, October 2000

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