Animal antics

Posted Date: 15 August 2014
Animal antics

A dog, a horse and a monkey walked into a bar…

It would be nice if there was a punchline, but in fact there’s a very good reason that interacting with these and dozens of other animals result in anguish not laughs.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) has released its annual round up of animal-related claims and alongside the usual stingers and biters, a few four-legged favourites appear.

The most shockingly expensive claim – over $100,000, came from a traveller in Europe who suffered broken bones after being knocked over by a dog.

Craig Morrison, SCTI CEO, says that while it’s highly unusual for an animal to cause a claim of this magnitude, animals can, and do, cause tourists a lot of grief.

Another traveller in Europe was taken by helicopter to hospital after falling from a horse, while an allergic reaction to multiple jellyfish stings in Fiji also required air evacuation for medical attention.

“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,” says Morrison.

“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,” says Morrison.

One SCTI customer, bitten by a monkey when traipsing through Southeast Asia, required rabies vaccinations at a cost of around $4,000, while another also needed more than $1,000 of rabies treatment after being bitten by a dog.

Monkeys can appear cute and cuddly, says Morrison, so it can be very tempting for tourists to interact with them - and some tour guides actively encourage feeding them – but he advises to respect them as wild animals.

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

SCTI claims for property thieved by monkeys include:

  • Monkey grabbed phone out of shirt pocket and dropped it onto concrete floor, breaking the screen and making the phone unusable.
  • Monkey stole backpack in jungle containing fruit, personal effects, knife and cash.
  • Monkey reached through barred window of a third-floor hotel room and stole mobile phone and toiletries bag.
  • Monkey snatched prescription sunglasses while visiting a temple and ran deep into the forest.


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