Imagine monkeys running wild in your backyard and threatening your family. Bared teeth, slinging poop. You know, standard monkey stuff.
Sure, it’s all fun and games until the Alpha Male masters the English language, and then the rest of ’em figure out how to lock and load.
Then where are we? Relying on the likes of Woody Harrelson to save us as a species, that’s where.
Woody Harrelson… think about it.
But I digress. Even though a Planet of the Apes apocalypse isn’t anywhere on the horizon, we as a civilization very well may be on the cusp of Suburb of the Apes.
As reported by WFTV of Orlando, Florida;
An Ocala man said monkeys from Silver Springs State Park have invaded his property.
Brian Pritchard lives four miles away from the park, but over the last few days his game camera has taken hundreds of photos of about 50 rhesus macaques eating from a deer feeder in his backyard.
Silver Springs State Park recently shut down two areas because of an increased monkey presence. A family visiting the state park last week recorded a video of the monkeys aggressively chasing them and showing their teeth.
Pritchard had put out a feeder with a camera to catch photos of deer, but instead, he got monkeys.
The rhesus macaques climb up the stand of the feeder and spin the plate to send out enough corn to feed the whole troop.
“They’re vicious. They’re extreme. I mean, they get extremely nasty,” Pritchard said.
Researchers estimate 200 non-native macaques live at the park and said many carry the deadly herpes B virus.
— Lauren Seabrook (@LSeabrookWFTV) July 7, 2017
Nearly the size of the rather muscular Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the rhesus monkey isn’t exactly one of the lesser primates who individuals such as Homer J. Simpson envision.
As the conversation went when told that Bart and Lisa learned in Sunday School that apes and monkeys can’t go to Heaven;
Homer Simpson – “What? Those cute little monkeys? That’s terrible, who told you that?”
Bart Simpson – “Our teacher.”
Homer Simpson – “I can understand how they wouldn’t let in those wild, jungle apes, but what about those really smart ones who live among us, who roller skate and smoke cigars?”
Much different than the roller skating, cigar smoking apes beloved by Homer J, according to the brainiacs at the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Biotechnology Information’s abstract entitled Aggression and social behaviour in rhesus monkeys;
“Approximately 5-10% of rhesus monkeys growing up in the wild consistently exhibit impulsive and/or inappropriately aggressive responses to mildly stressful situations throughout development…”
While it’s understood that one in every 10 to 20 rhesus will fall to pieces in situations that are even mildly stressful, what about the rest of the troop? (By the way, yes – a group of monkeys is correctly known as a troop, but sometimes referred to as barrel, carload, cartload, or tribe.)
The good folks at the Wisconsin Primate Research Center Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison give the skinny on the rest of those rambunctious monkey males;
Aggression is sometimes used to establish and reinforce social position, though, and aggressive behavior seen in macaques includes slapping, pushing, pulling fur, tail yanking, and biting as well as other non-contact behaviors such as displays and threats. Once males attain dominant status, they enjoy this rank for an average of two years before being displaced by another male.
Really smart people who work at the Boston Public Health Commission warn that herpes B virus “infections in humans are rare and usually occur after bites or scratches from macaque monkeys. The virus can also spread through the saliva, feces, urine, or nervous tissue of an infected monkey.”
Symptoms of the virus varies, but may also include:
- Blisters near the site of infection
- Pain, numbness, and itching near the wound
- Flu-like aches and pains
- Fever and chills
- Headaches lasting more than 24 hours
- Muscular incoordination
- Shortness of breath
Also noted (emphasis mine), “Respiratory distress and death can occur 1 day to 3 weeks after symptoms begin. Though rare, herpes B infections in humans are often fatal unless treated early. Around 70% of untreated patients will die from the infection.”
With the rhesus monkey infestation in Ocala centered around a state park and the deer feeder on the Pritchard property, it’s important to note that the CDC also cites;
Possible routes of transmission to humans include:
- Bite or scratch from an infected animal
- Needlestick from contaminated syringe
- Scratch or cut from contaminated cage or other sharp-edged surface
- Exposure to nervous tissue or skull of infected animal (especially brain)
B virus can survive for hours on the surface of objects, particularly on surfaces that are moist. The injury need not be severe for infection to occur, although less severe wounds (those that don’t break the skin) are thought to carry a lower risk of transmission.