Monkey business causes of travel woes

CHARLIE MITCHELL
Last updated 12:12 05/08/2014
Monkey
Reuters

MONKEY BUSINESS: Long-tailed macaque monkeys jump on tourists in front of a temple in Bangkok. They look cuddly and wholesome, but monkeys can cause anguish to the unsuspecting tourist.

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Travellers beware - you may have a literal monkey on your back if you mess with the wrong critter while overseas.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) have revealed some of the year's most interesting animal-related claims from their customers.

A clumsy dog resulted in the most expensive claim - totalling more than $100,000 - which came from a traveller in Europe who suffered broken bones after being knocked over.

Other severe incidents saw another traveller in Europe airlifted to hospital after falling from a horse, and another in Fiji evacuated by air after an allergic reaction to jellyfish stings.

It's rare for an animal to prompt claims to that degree, said SCTI chief executive officer Craig Morrison.

Though the biggest claims involved the usual suspects - things that bite and sting - it's not the usual suspects doing the most damage, he said.

"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."

The most common cause of animal-related monkey business comes from a surprising source.

"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," he said.

They look cuddly and wholesome, but monkeys can cause anguish to the unsuspecting tourist, particularly if that person leaves their valuables within paw's reach.

One tourist was bitten by a monkey in south east Asia, requiring rabies vaccinations at a cost of $4000.

And yes, STCI had numerous reports of personal property stolen and/or damaged by monkeys.

One cheeky monkey snatched a phone from a pocket before dropping it on the ground; another stole a backpack (containing fruit, cash, and a knife) and didn't return.

Another reached through a barred third-floor window to steal a mobile phone and a toiletries bag, while another nicked a pair of prescription sunglasses and fled into the forest.

Travellers need to be wary when overseas, particularly when monkeys are involved, Morrison said.

"Though monkeys play to their audience, they are fiendishly clever and, ultimately, are wild animals - with teeth, claws and quick hands."

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