Barbary Apes, Gibraltar
When you are at the top of the rock or near the Apes Den you will notice many warning signs telling tourists to neither feed nor touch the apes. They are still wild animals and can get very aggressive in certain situations.
I saw one ape who jumped on the shoulder of a woman, who obviously enjoyed her new company, but after a certain time she didn't really get rid of the ape and finally she got bitten into her arm so that she needed first aid.
Also the apes try to steal all sort of things from tourists especially out of bags in the hope they can find some food. It is prohibited to feed the apes and you might be fined 500 GBP for this. The apes get a well balanced diet by the local Government.
So just take the warnings seriously and observe the apes from a respecful distance.
There are warnings out around the areas you will find the apes. While they are cute and very friendly they can also be potentially dangerous if you try to feed them. It is actually against the law in Gibraltar to feed them. There are a rising number of ape bites every year both to tourists and residents living in those areas.
Barbary Apes do bite!!! A guide encouraged one to sit on my shoulder whilst we were on the rock last week. It placed it's hand down the front of my top which I wasn't too pleased about when I went to remove it it grabbed my hand and sunk it's teeth in hard. My hand was left bleeding and very bruied, I'm assured they do not carry any diseases that I need worry about but it really did hurt and still does
This is an actual article from the Sunday Mirror on the 27 August 2006, read it and be warned!!
APES TOOK MY WIG
By Alan Breeze
HOLIDAYMAKER Len Reynolds had been fully warned about the Barbary apes of Gibraltar and their habit of picking tourists' pockets.
But the 67-year-old didn't expect them to swipe his new £200 hairpiece.
Len and his wife Liz, 66, from Huntingdon, Cambs, had taken a cable car to the apes' home on top of the Rock, which is strewn with notices warning tourists about their light-fingered habits.
But one sneaky simian spotted Len was wearing a wig, whipped it off his head in a flash and ran away with it over the tearoom roof. Even worse, the whole episode was seen by scores of other tourists.
"They fell about laughing," he said. "It was so embarrassing. The signs warn about the monkeys picking pockets - but don't say anything about toupee taking.
"And just to cap it all off, so to speak, I don't think my holiday insurance will pay out for a new hairpiece."
Watch out for the apes! Don't encourage them because they can bite and scratch.
Someone on the same tour as me had an awful scratch across her face and shoulders when an ape jumped from a rock above her, onto her head and then across her body ---all because she was feeding other apes!
The Apes are semi-wild but friendly . some are naughty though. Don't be superficious with your things like hat/cap, bag, cam, sunglasses/eyeglasses and etc. One thing is, they are less shy and occasionally climb on willing humans or they just jump landing on your back.
Keep a close eye on all purses, backpacks and bags. The Apes like food and shiny things and don't understand that cameraas and cell phones are expensive items. We ended up tying the zippers on our backpacks together so that the little guys couldn't get in.
The apes are extremely friendly, which is great. We had a blast with them. But one did slap me when I tried to get him off my friend's bag. We also watched as a different ape honed in on a shopping bag containing a couple's lunch (from about 200 ft away) and attacked it, making off with nearly all of their food. Needless to say, the couple was shocked.
Also, even though it's funny to watch the apes, don't feed them. They get proper food from the animal control and are very well taken care of. They're sweet and you don't want to make them sick or worse. Even though they're tough little guys, they still need to be protected. Thanks!
if you feed the monkeys they will associate human beings with food even more than they allready do and get more aggresive.
it´s allready a problem on the rock that the monkeys steal all kinds of bags from the tourists in the hope they contain food.
there is a 500£ fine if you are caught feeding them.
The apes are wild animals they live on the rock and they can be friendly on their terms. However do not approach them allow them to come to you as if they feel threatned in anyway they will bite. Also they have a nasty little habbit of stealing this is because they think if your carrying a bag that you have food.
The Barbary Apes will search your pockets for food, take care you don't have a purse, passport that they may take away from you. Car keys may be looked at then dropped anywhere you can't get it.
Don't feed them ! Remember they are not afraid of you.
That said they are cute and fun to see.
The British Army look after the Barbary Apes and the apes are used to people.
(cont. from above)
Instead it crimped the skin breaking a lot of blood vessels and leaving a nasty looking wound (see photo) that is still there today. Well, I shake this guy off and start to back up slowly. Every ape within 20 meters is hissing at me and the other tourists are wisely running toward their cars. One unlucky guy didn't quite make it. I'm not sure how this ape got so high in the air, but I remember seeing him landing on one of the tourist's heads. The guy freaked out and ran into his car. After that, the apes seemed to calm down a bit. Mama and papa ape vigorously checked the entire body of the baby for any damage and the others just stared at me. Then, the wife of the attacked man, who was still hiding in his car, came up to me and asked me if I would retrieve the man’s hat, which had fallen off during the attack. Unfortunately, the hat was lying on the ground surrounded by three apes. Since it was my fault that the whole incident occurred, I felt obliged to retrieve the guy’s hat. The first time I tried to get it, the apes hissed at me and showed me their sharp teeth. I back off and waited a few minutes. The next time, they seemed to have calmed down a bit, and were probably not too interested in the hat, because they let met retrieve it without inflicting any more pain.
Anyway, the moral of the story is: these apes are wild animals and should be treated as such. Unfortunately they are so used to humans (and to humans feeding them), they are willing to come real close to you and even try to jump on you. You should avoid this at all cost because if any of your actions even appear to be hostile (especially when baby apes are around), they will act to defend themselves and their children.
Let me share with you a funny story (it was not at all funny when it happened) about my encounter with a family of Babary apes. (the ape pictured is not involved in this incident, but if you look at the other picture, you can see what my arm looked like after the incident.)
I was trying to enjoy a cool rainy day in March with a hike up and around Gibraltar. At the time when I met the beasts, I was at a viewpoint that overlooked the airport. A cute little ape came up to me and tried to play with me. I tried to ignore him, but he kept on trying to grab me. Eventually, I moved over to another area where there was a handrail in front of me. The baby ape climbed on the railing and walked toward me. Just as he reached me, his youthful clumsiness took control and he began to fall. Unfortunately, my instincts are to try and catch anything that is falling - even apes. Well, let’s say the little guy would have rather I let him fall, because he began to freak out and tried to bite my fingers. His jaws were not strong enough to leave a scratch, but next thing I see through the corner of my eye is a much larger mama ape flying through the air towards me. She grabs onto my arm, but I am able to shrug her off, only to be attacked by an even larger papa ape (twice the size as the one in the picture), who bit me in the arm. Luckily, It was cold out and I was wearing multiple layers, so his bite miraculously did not break the skin.
Keep a safe distance from the apes, since their behavior is quite unpredictable. Look up to the trees you're about to walk below. I have almost been hit by a dry loaf of bread dropped by one of them. Just don't trust them!
I went to gibraltar in 2002,and like any tourist with sense knows, you don't feed the apes as it is a big NO NO,BUT of course many people do, either by being too ignorant of the local laws or to take the michael.
I sat watching loads of people crowd around these poor apes force feeding them junk,putting both themselves and the apes in possible harms way,ignoring signs telling them not to do it and exposing young kids to a possible threat up close.
DO NOT DO THIS.
The Barbery Apes are a major tourist attraction in Gibraltar but a lot of tourists dont realise that they aren't always cute little monkeys. They go into cars all the time and steal food and posessions. They get very protective over their children and will scratch if you get too close or irritate them. The Apes are fed by the governement each day so there is no need to feed them yourself as this disrupts their diet and makes them rely on tourists too much.