Humans belong to the Mammalia class of animals, which includes the monkey order! Apes, monkeys, and bush babies are also in the group. The smallest ape, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, weighs under one ounce, while some, like gorillas, can weigh over 400 pounds. Given their diversity, it makes sense that some of them could be more dangerous to people than others! The top ten most dangerous primates in the world are listed below.
Human history is replete with instances of violence, war, and devastation. One in fifty early humans were killed by other humans, according to scientific examinations of human aggression over time. In the Middle Ages, mortality rates increased to about 12%, but they currently hover around one in 10,000 fatalities. More people than any other animal are likely to kill us, with the exception of mosquitoes. Add to this the devastation we are inflicting on the environment, which leads to the yearly death of at least 150,00 people and the near-extinction of countless other species. We should not take pride in our reputation as the world’s most hazardous primate!
Although they are portrayed in films as ferocious enemies, gorillas are actually generally friendly animals. However, because they are so big and strong, they will defend themselves if they feel attacked, which can put humans in danger. Gorillas can lift 1,800 pounds, making them around 20 times stronger than humans!
The majority of gorilla violence is directed at other gorillas, yet there have been sporadic accounts of gorillas assaulting and even murdering humans! Before 2000, there had only been three documented cases of gorillas attacking people in the wild. For caged gorillas, the situation is similar, but there is evidence that increases in zoo visitor numbers cause them to become more aggressive, suggesting that stress may be a factor.
The only venomous primate and one of the world’s six venomous animals are slow lorises. With their large, saucer-shaped eyes, they may seem really adorable, but they can also be very hazardous. Their incisors are very keen and perfect for injecting saliva-mixed poison into bite wounds. Fifty-four practitioners who dealt with them between 2016 and 2017 participated in a study; of those, fifteen needed medical attention. While some experienced tingling and soreness, others experienced anaphylactic shock. Venom was probably created by lorises as a defence mechanism against predators. People are predators to them!
Old World monkeys, specifically the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), are particularly common in India. Living close to humans in metropolitan areas, they are frequently encountered, which has resulted in some dangerous encounters. They have no fear of humans and are roughly the size of a six-month-old human infant. Particularly in Indian news reports, rhesus attacks on people are frequently described. They fatally injured Delhi Deputy Mayor S.S. Bajwa by pushing him over a building.
Additionally, they abducted a four-month-old child and abandoned him to perish from a building. A group of 200 of them went on the rampage in October 2023, attacking people with their razor-sharp fangs and claws as they searched for food in an Indian metropolis. Attacks in Japan have also resulted in the injuries of fifty persons.
The mandrill, often known as the Sphinx, is a medium-sized monkey distinguished for its strikingly bright colouring. They are a kind of monkey, yet they may weigh up to 60 pounds, just like an ape. These primates have a remarkable dental array, which includes 2.5-inch-long upper canines. These, along with the primate’s powerful bite and substantial strength, can seriously injure a human body. They yank the hind legs off baby duikers while hunting them! They are shy and withdrawn most of the time, yet they will attack if they feel threatened.
Despite being lively and gregarious animals, these can be aggressive when disturbed. These Old World monkeys range in size from medium to giant and are found in regions of Arabia and Africa. Baboons come in five different species. They all have canine-like fangs and strong claws, and when they’re hungry, they can be violent. Despite their small stature of barely thirty inches, they have enough strength to overwhelm most people. Attacks by baboons are frequent; at times, they have even broken into homes and assaulted people who were presumably in search of food. They have attacked an eighteen-month-old baby in Africa, taken a three-month-old baby and killed it, and hurled rocks at hikers.
Large and nimble primates, spider monkeys are indigenous to the Amazon rainforest. They rarely assault humans and rarely come into contact with them in their natural environments. The risk comes when certain animals, regrettably, are kept in captivity or even as pets. The infant monkeys are cute, but these guys are not suitable as pets!
Despite only weighing up to 24 pounds, these unpredictable and powerful creatures with sharp teeth have attacked humans numerous times in recorded history. In 2018, a Home Depot employee in Florida was bitten by an escaped pet spider monkey named Spanky, and a little girl’s hair was snatched by another in a Mexican zoo. A Southeast Houston resident was bitten by a pet spider monkey that fled, and there may have been other incidences that are not yet public knowledge. The answer is obvious: refrain from keeping these creatures as pets!
Because chimpanzees and bonobos share up to 98 percent of our DNA, chimpanzees are our closest living relatives. Their height of up to 5.5 feet and their weight of 130 pounds make them comparable in size to many humans. Chimpanzees are likewise very intelligent, but because their habitats are in danger, they are increasingly clashing with human populations.
This is particularly evident in Uganda, where horrific stories of chimpanzee attacks, particularly on children, have surfaced. Chimpanzee groups have abducted babies from villages and murdered them. Regretfully, these are not unique occurrences. In Kagadi, Uganda, reports state that over 20 children have suffered serious injuries and over 10 children between the ages of one and five have died at the hands of chimpanzees.
Originating in the tropical woods of South and Central America, capuchin monkeys gained notoriety through their roles in the films Night at the Museum and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Although they are little primates—they can grow to a height of about 22 inches—they are not suitable as pets. They are dangerous because they have the potential to become aggressive and uncontrollable. Numerous accounts exist of them attacking humans and their owners. Their bite has unexpected strength and has the potential to cause a finger loss!