Monkey business

Posted Date: 29 March 2014
Monkey scams and business

While they might be cute, both domestic and wild animals can be serious nuisances when you’re travelling. Craig Morrison, Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO outlines the worst offenders responsible for having sparked a range of claims in the past year.

“We’ve had people claim for medical treatment after being stung by a jellyfish or poisonous fish when snorkelling, through to claims for property that has been chewed up by puppies in the home of someone they were staying with.”

A fisherman claimed for a stolen rod after a seal had made off with his, while an intrepid photographer had his camera chewed on by a leopard in Africa.

But the worst offenders are dogs. According to the World Health Organisation dogs account for between 76-94% of animal bite injuries, followed by monkeys. SCTI receives a number of claims each year for medical treatment needed after dog and monkey bites while on holiday, which in some countries can require a course of rabies treatment.

“I recently read in the Bangkok Post that one local hospital at a Thai beach resort treated around 600 people for monkey bites in the last year – 75% of them foreigners. I get that they’re cute, but you have to remember that they’re wild animals with very, very sharp teeth”, said Morrison.

In fact, monkeys are often behind a raft of injuries and thefts, the most common being stolen sunglasses and wallets. Morrison says this is more likely to occur in places with large monkey populations, such as the Batu Caves in Malaysia or the Monkey Forest in Bali.

One SCTI customer even had the misfortune to be bitten by a monkey and a stray dog on the same trip.

To avoid becoming a victim, Southern Cross travel insurance recommends the following:

Prior to travelling, do some research on the country you’re going to. Stray dogs are common in many places including Samoa, India, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Greece and throughout Southeast Asia.  Don’t try and pet or feed any stray dogs that you see.

Exercise extreme caution around monkeys and don’t feed them - or taunt them with food.

If you are going to an area with a large monkey population make sure your valuables are tucked away out of sight. Put glasses, cameras, water bottles and wallets in a backpack for example.

Bites should be immediately scrubbed with clean water and soap for 15 minutes. Seek help from a doctor.    

The good news is that all the claims mentioned above, although painful, were covered by their Southern Cross Travel Insurance policies. Make sure you’ll be covered too – go online now to

Travel smart, travel safe, and always take our award winning travel insurance.

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