Primates show teeth to signal their intention to bite
- Researchers at University of Lincoln find ‘smiling’ monkeys are not being friendly
- They discovered monkeys who pout their lips are making an aggressive gesture
- Tourists who pout back at monkeys are at risk of nasty bite, researchers warned
Tourists are at risk of being bitten by monkeys as many think the animals are ‘smiling’ or ‘kissing’ – when in fact they are about to bite
Tourists are at risk of being bitten by monkeys as many think the animals are ‘smiling’ or ‘kissing’ – when in fact they are about to bite, a study said.
Visitors to areas where wild monkeys roam are becoming increasingly popular.
But when a monkey pouts its lips, it is not getting ready to kiss, it is making a highly aggressive gesture.
Tourists who pout back put themselves at risk of a nasty bite, researchers warned.
While it may seem like a remote danger, in recent years there have been numerous reports of ape and monkey attacks.
In 2014, Stuart Gravenell from Gloucestershire needed 40 stitches after being attacked by biting macaques on Gibraltar, while in 2010 Dee Darwell of Peterborough passed out while a troop of monkeys attacked her on Thailand.
Researchers at the University of Lincoln found that tourists made significant mistakes in interpreting macaques’ emotions – such as believing a monkey was ‘smiling’ or ‘blowing them kisses’ – when they were in fact displaying aggression.
The authors say that this level of misunderstanding could lead to increased risk of injury to humans and have a negative impact on the welfare on the animals – particularly in places where wild macaques interact with people.
Dr Laëtitia Maréchal, from the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln said: ‘There is a growing interest in wildlife tourism, and in particular primate tourism. People travel to encounter wild animals, many of them attempting to closely interact with monkeys, even though this is often prohibited.
‘However, serious concerns have been raised related to the safety of the tourists interacting with wild animals. Indeed, recent reports estimate that monkey bites are the second cause of injury by animals after dogs in South East Asia, and bites are one of the main vectors of disease transmission between humans and animals.’
In 2014, Stuart Gravenell from Gloucestershire needed 40 stitches after being attacked by biting macaques on Gibraltar (stock)
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online