What it’s Like to be Attacked by a Monkey

Most of us will go through our lives without being attacked by a monkey. That’s a pleasant statistical fact. Unless you are an organ grinder or work in a zoo, you have no day-to-day experience with monkeys. Your day consists of thoughts like I am going to get a pumpkin spice latte or I need to break up with Doug. You never, ever think an angry Capuchin monkey is going to run up my arm and attack me.


But, it can happen and I want you to be prepared. You could find yourself, as I did, with an irate Capuchin monkey named Dr. Julius running up your arm. This is a surprising event to most people.

It’s also an event that completely captures your focus. You may have had a litany of other problems to deal with before that moment but they all take a backseat to being attacked by a monkey. You might be behind on a deadline, defaulting on a mortgage or failing algebra — this all means nothing now. A monkey with a doctorate is running up your arm

, angrily grabbing your face — and you really don’t know why.

Allow me to better acquaint you with the thought process of a person being attacked by a monkey.

First and foremost, you think: Holy shit, I am being attacked by a monkey.

Next, you think you should work out a plan. Many of us have contingencies tucked away for more common events like muggings, aggressive panhandling and earthquakes. No one expects a monkey attack. It’s like your first time playing poker: You are confused and do not know what to do.

Now what?

Many of us have had just enough martial arts training to be capable of nothing unless we are attacked very specifically and in slow motion. Monkeys are fast and their wiry limbs are unpredictable. So


, that’s no help.

Strength doesn’t help either. I can assure you that whether you are an emaciated milquetoast or The Mountain, a monkey attack will have you on the defensive from the moment it commences. Absolutely no one is prepared to be attacked by a tiny, formerly adorable monkey.

The answer to “Now what?” is “nothing.” You can’t handle being attacked by a monkey! It’s too much for your human brain! It paralyzes you with shock. It’s a monkey attack! The monkey is simply going to do what it intended to do, which unfortunately includes putting its dirty monkey thumb in your mouth and yanking on your cheek.

As that is happening you may ask yourself why it is happening. Good question. Totally normal. Odds are you’ll be hard-pressed to come up with a reason because you and I are regular people. We don’t go around enraging monkeys for fun. We don’t set out to make monkeys mad. That’s just dumb.

So, you’ve been attacked by a monkey, you’re incapable of responding to the attack, and you have no idea why the attack happened.

Now is time for reflection.

You’ll be surprised at the amount of pain a small primate can dish out when it places its opposable thumb inside your mouth, grabs a hold of your cheek and pulls. It really hurts. The hurt is disproportionate to the size of the monkey attacking you. You’ll appreciate being attacked by a once-adorable, tiny Capuchin as opposed to an formerly-amusing, mid-sized orangutan or originally-mellow, XXL-sized gorilla.

If a wee Capuchin can dish out pain like that

, one can only imagine what Dunston could do were he to check-in angry.

Along with the physical pain of a Capuchin monkey attack comes the mental trauma. Monkeys are dirty. They throw poo. They use their fingers to throw poo. Some of those fingers were just in your mouth, grabbing a meaty hold of your cheek and yanking for reasons you have yet to comprehend.

So, you may have monkey-poo mouth. You don’t have to be a germ freak to be upset by this.

And to think, the day started with you thinking about pumpkin spice lattes and break-ups!

If you’re lucky, the monkey attack was just a momentary flash of violence. The monkey made his or her point, whatever it was, and will stand down.

Now is the time to gather your thoughts and ask the monkey handler what the hell just happened. That is, of course, if there is a human handling the monkey. If that’s not the case, then you’re probably in the jungle on that monkey’s turf and should high-tail it out of there, pride be damned.

If there is a monkey handler, he will provide you with some helpful advice as to why you were the recent victim of a monkey attack. It’s helpful information that you’ll wish you knew beforehand. Information like:

Monkeys consider prolonged eye contact as a threat.

Good to know! There you had been, silly human, thinking that gazing into the eyes of an adorable Capuchin monkey who looked like a tiny grandpa was a deep, transcendent experience. It wasn’t. You were telling the monkey you wanted to beat him up and take his hot ladies.

Now your face hurts and you likely have poo mouth, but you learned something valuable about nature — and you have a story to tell. Just don’t forget to gargle Listerine for half an hour.