As the world continues to deal with a monkeypox outbreak, one Japanese city is dealing with a literal monkey outbreak — and these primates ain’t monkeying around!
According to reports, the city of Yamaguchi has hired a special unit to hunt the animals with tranquilizer guns after 58 people have been attacked since July 8. The monkeys are reportedly biting and clawing at flesh, trying to snatch babies, and even sneaking into nursery schools!!
Officials have set traps in hopes of catching the wild animals, but to no avail, as the traps don’t work because the monkeys aren’t interested in food.
They are, however, interested in attacking humans, officials say, and have been targeting mostly children and women in their 40s or older. City official Masato Saito said Wednesday:
“They are so smart, and they tend to sneak up and attack from behind, often grabbing at your legs… I have never seen anything like this my entire life.”
Authorities said the monkeys have broken into several homes through unlocked doors and windows. One man in his 70s was reportedly attacked in his sleep, while another woman was allegedly assaulted by a monkey while hanging laundry on her veranda. Yet another victim reportedly showed bandaged toes.
While the injuries have thankfully only been small bites and scratches, with some resulting in a few precautionary hospital visits, all the victims were shocked and alarmed by how huge the monkeys were.
The band of monkeys wreaking havoc on the city, which is surrounded by forests and hills and rests about 580 miles southwest of the capital Tokyo, are Japanese macaque.
Officials said one of the male macaques measuring 49 centimeters (1.6 foot) in height and weighing 7 kilograms (15 pounds) was tranquilized and caught near a local high school Tuesday evening. The monkey was found to be one of the attacking primates and was put down.
However, the attacks and sightings persisted after the male monkey was captured, so officials are keeping their eyes peeled in hopes of capturing more mischievous monkeys from this troop.
Kosaku Matsunaga, an official at Yamaguchi city’s Agricultural Policy Division Pest Control Room, said that monkey sightings in Yamaguchi aren’t unheard of, but the severity and frequency of these attacks are, adding:
“In terms of monkeys attacking people, we’ve never had incidents like this.”
To make matters worse, no one seems to know why the attacks started in the first place, nor where exactly this band of monkeys came from.
If any of you Perezcious readers in Yamaguchi are confronted by a monkey, officials urge you to do the following: don’t look them in the eye, make yourself look as big as possible, like by spreading open your coat, and back away as quietly as you can — without making sudden moves.
Stay safe out there, y’all!
[Image via WGN News]