A rampaging monkey attacked around 20 people in 12 days, according to media reports. Japanese police are hunting the monkey.
The monkey has been terrorizing people, particularly children and elderly adults, in Yamaguchi, Japan, since July 8, The Guardian reported.
In the most serious attack, the monkey attempted to snatch a 10-month-old baby from its home, badly scratching the child in the process, CNN reported.
The baby’s mother told local media that, “I was vacuuming when I heard my child crying, so I turned around and saw the monkey had grabbed her by the legs while she was playing on the floor. It looked like it was trying to drag her outside,” The Guardian reported.
The string of monkey attacks has also included:
- Entering an elementary school and biting a 10-year-old on the arm and both hands, Daily Mail and CNN reported.
- Invading a kindergarten, attacking a 4-year-old girl then running away, The Guardian and Newsweek reported.
- Attacking a napping 4-year-old girl in a nursery, Daily Mail and Newsweek reported.
- Attacking a woman on a balcony who was hanging laundry, CNN and Newsweek reported.
- Ripping through a balcony screen to bite the feet of an adult woman, Newsweek reported.
- Injuring two women in their 60s and 80s who were outside, CNN reported.
Local police have set traps for the monkey and remain on high alert, Daily Mail reported. Authorities warned residents to keep their windows closed, CNN reported.
The monkey is about 16 to 20 inches tall, The Guardian reported. Local authorities have not identified the type of monkey, but Japanese macaques — also known as snow monkeys — inhabit the area.
Since May, monkeys have been seen in the area about 40 times, Newsweek reported.
A local spokesperson told CNN that the “area is largely residential, and it’s rare for a wild monkey to leave the forest and harm humans.”
Encounters between humans and Japanese macaques are becoming more frequent as deforestation reduces the monkeys’ natural habitat, according to the New England Primate Conservancy.
Still, Japanese macaques are a protected species, the conservancy reported.
Yamaguchi is about 575 miles southwest of Tokyo.
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