Who doesn't love monkeys and apes? They're cute, weird, scary, and of course, hilarious. Whether you're watching them at the zoo, monitoring the poor things for research purposes, or just trying to smuggle them under your hat, monkeys are a barrel of fun and surprises. Take a break and check out this list of 10 hilarious real-life stories involving monkeys.
- Primal Attraction: This odd but true story involves two female California gorilla handlers who claim that they were fired for “refusing to expose their breasts to a 300-pound gorilla.” The handlers were responsible for the ape at The Gorilla Foundation and were supposedly “pressured” into giving in to the gorilla's nipple fetish by showing him their breasts.
- Monkey Burglars are the New Cat Burglars: A London man was shocked to come home to an uninvited guest. A large chimpanzee had broken into his home through a window and was making off with his cell phone. Afraid of sustaining serious injuries the man didn't try to get his phone back, but the chimp has been on a spree, robbing at least one other home in the area. Who knows, maybe the chimp was just trying to phone home!
- How did that get there?: In August 2007, a man was detained at New York City's La Guardia airport for traveling with a marmoset monkey under his hat. The man traveled with the monkey from Lima, Peru, to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and then on to New York. According to the article, “When passengers noticed the fist-sized primate on the flight, they asked the man “if he knew he had a monkey on him.” Um, we bet he did.
- Sexy Monkey: In this story, the author's mother worked at the Denver Zoo where she earned a very special admirer, Bungee the spider monkey. Bungee attached himself to different workers in different ways, and the author's mother ultimately became “the source of his monkey erections.” He writes, “anytime my mom walked by, Bungee was suddenly at full salute. Maybe it was her red hair. When they moved Bungee back in with the other spider monkeys in the outdoor exhibit, he'd still show his affection — sticking his lanky arms in the air and running toward her at half-mast every time she passed.”
- My Nanny, the Monkey: In India's Dhenkanal district, in the state of Orissa, a simian monkey has become one baby's daytime nanny. Arriving at the baby's home each morning like a regular human babysitter, the monkey sits next to the child and plays with it all day while its mother works. At first, “the parents of the infant were scared and reluctant to allow a monkey to come near the child,” but they “now treat the monkey as family.”
- Monkey Learns to Chaperone Pigs: This next monkey story is also about a primate turned caregiver in India. Earlier this year, a farmer discovered that a monkey had wandered onto his farm, and “impressed by its gentle manner,” the farmer fed him and took care of him, ultimately welcoming him into his family. Eventually, the “duty-conscious monkey” began helping around the farm, “head[ing] out with the herd” of pigs “at 6 am daily and bring them back home by evening.” Unfortunately for the farmer, though, the monkey has recently begun attacking piglets. It just goes to show: never trust a monkey.
- Chimps, not People: A human name does not a human make. Such is the plight of Matthew Hiasl Pan, an Austrian chimpanzee whose human friends are fighting to make his “personhood” official. Since the animal shelter where he grew up went bankrupt, activists are trying to find another place for him to live, which requires the help of donors. Under Austrian law, “only a person can receive personal gifts,” or donations. But what kind of precedent would the courts set if they awarded human rights to chimps?
- Puff Goes the Monkey: Most humans recognize that smoking is harmful to your health, even if they decide to keep on smoking. Chimpanzees, though, might need a bit of extra coaching. Charlie, a chimp in a South African zoo, was a smoker, a habit he apparently developed by watching his visitors smoke cigarettes. Poor Charlie would scramble to pick up the cigarettes after they were thrown into his cage, and then “he puffs away,” much to the chagrin of his handlers.
- SWAT Monkey: An Arizona SWAT team debated back in 2005 over whether or not to invite a special trooper to their unit. No, it's not another German Shepherd. It's a little capuchin monkey weighing in at a miniscule 3 pounds. The SWAT officers plan to dress the monkey in a special vest equipped with a small video camera while he unlocks doors and searches buildings. It may sound cute, but I think a German Shepherd fits the SWAT image better than a 3-pound monkey.
- Monkey Artiste Outsells Warhol, Renoir: Hanging a Renoir or even a Warhol original in your home represents wealth, sophistication, and an appreciation for real art. Hanging up monkey drawings? We're still a little unsure on that one. But American Howard Hong decided to gamble away more than $25,000 at an auction at Bonhams in London for a collection of paintings created by the chimpanzee Congo. No one bought the Renoir or the Warhol.
Monkeys have been studied for years so that we can more fully understand their close, often uncanny relationship to humans. From this list, we've learned that monkeys can behave like nannies, police officers, artists and even perverts. Just don't let one near your piglets or your mother.