It would be nice if there was a punchline, but in fact there’s a very good reason that interacting with these and dozens of other animals result in anguish not laughs.
Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) has released its annual round up of animal-related claims and alongside the usual stingers and biters, a few four-legged favourites appear.
The most shockingly expensive claim – over $100,000, came from a traveller in Europe who suffered broken bones after being knocked over by a dog.
Craig Morrison, SCTI CEO, says that while it’s highly unusual for an animal to cause a claim of this magnitude, animals can, and do, cause tourists a lot of grief.
Another traveller in Europe was taken by helicopter to hospital after falling from a horse, while an allergic reaction to multiple jellyfish stings in Fiji also required air evacuation for medical attention.
“You name the animal – I can pretty much guarantee there’ll be a claim as a result! You wouldn’t credit the mischief they can cause,” says Morrison. “We recently had a claim for shoes that were irrevocably chewed on by rats and then there was the claim, earlier this year, involving an unfortunate encounter with a baby elephant. However, it’s still monkeys that are the cause of most travellers animal issues,” says Morrison.
One SCTI customer, bitten by a monkey when traipsing through Southeast Asia, required rabies vaccinations at a cost of around $4,000, while another also needed more than $1,000 of rabies treatment after being bitten by a dog.
Monkeys can appear cute and cuddly, says Morrison, so it can be very tempting for tourists to interact with them - and some tour guides actively encourage feeding them – but he advises to respect them as wild animals.
“Though monkeys play to their audience, they are fiendishly clever and, ultimately, are wild animals - with teeth, claws and quick hands.”
SCTI claims for property thieved by monkeys include:
• Monkey grabbed phone out of shirt pocket and dropped it onto concrete floor, breaking the screen and making the phone unusable.
• Monkey stole backpack in jungle containing fruit, personal effects, knife and cash.
• Monkey reached through barred window of a third-floor hotel room and stole mobile phone and toiletries bag.
• Monkey snatched prescription sunglasses while visiting a temple and ran deep into the forest.