UK

Monkeys Bite London Zoo Visitors 'At Least Once A Month' (PICTURES)

06/06/2013 18:03 BST
Getty
Common Squirrel Monkey in the Beijing Zoo, Beijing, China

Monkeys at London zoo attack at least one visitor a month, it has been revealed.

Yellow and black squirrel monkeys bit 15 people over the last year, according to figures obtained by the Camden New Journal.

Although none of the bites, which happened in the 'walk in enclosure’, were serious, their nasty nibbling has led to a ban on pushchairs in the enclosure.

The safety report said: "The squirrel monkeys in the walk-through enclosure are still undergoing additional negative enforcement due to some behavioural issues. These involve mainly grabbing of food from members of the public. There have been 15 bites over the past year, none serious, all reported to first aid."

The zoo said volunteers inside the enclosure were telling visitors not to stroke the monkeys or get too close to try and avoid monkey bites. The report added that "negative enforcement" practices including painting volunteers' mobile phones and "objects of desire" with a bitter apple substance.

Squirrel monkeys are notorious for being a little too curious, with the Bolivian breed receiving notorious exposure after 'Jersey Shore,' when Snooki threatened to attack "like a squirrel monkey."

Squirrel monkeys, as their name would imply, are hardly bigger than a squirrel, measuring around 10-14 inches in size.

Insects and fruits are the primary source of food for squirrel monkeys, though they are known to eat other things like bird eggs and frogs, as well.

Male squirrel monkeys nearly double their size during mating season, which some scientists have commented is likely due to an increase in spermatogenesis. Another strange fact about the squirrel monkey is that in order to mark their territory, they urinate on their hands and feet, thus spreading their scent everywhere they go.