"They tend to sneak up and attack from behind."
A city in Japan is trying to deal with a vicious band of roaming monkeys, which have now attacked dozens of people in a string of unusual incidents this month.
The Japanese macaque gang has been terrorizing people in the western city of Yamaguchi for about three weeks now, the AFP reports. There have been more than 50 reported attacks over that time, and local officials say the monkeys have been targeting children in particular.
"They are so smart, and they tend to sneak up and attack from behind, often grabbing at your legs," city official Masato Saito told the Associated Press.
"I have never seen anything like this [in] my entire life."
It's unclear how many monkeys are part of the group, but local authorities have launched a hunt to try to stop them.
"Eyewitnesses describe monkeys of different sizes," one official said.
Authorities say they captured one monkey outside a high school after linking it to an attack this week. The monkey has since been euthanized but more incidents have been reported in the days since that capture.
Despite the number of attacks, the injuries so far have mostly involved bites and mild scratches, BBC News reports.
Japanese macaques commonly live in the wild in Japan, and they'll occasionally annoy humans by stealing their food. However, this sort of coordinated monkey business is rare, authorities say.
"Initially, only children and women were attacked," an official told the BBC. "Recently, elderly people and adult men have been targeted too," they added.
Witnesses have described the monkeys as quite fat, and food traps haven't been enough to catch them.
City official Masato Saito shared a few tips for dealing with a monkey if you run into one.
He says you should:
- Avoid looking them in the eye;
- make yourself look as big as possible;
- back away quietly and carefully.
Maybe you're not in Japan right now, but you never know!
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.