Thanks to Dennis Young for letting me post his story.

Animal Encounter.
By Dennis Young

In my area we have one species of monkey. It is the red face and ass Macaque Macaca Fuscata, found only in Japan. Some of you may have seen these so called 'adorable' critters they show lounging in the hot springs in some tourist brochures.

Since they have no predators, aside from the occasional irate farmer who has decided to take no more from the buggers constantly raiding his fields or orchards, (and no, we don't eat their brains over here), so their numbers are steadily increasing, to the point where they are all over the place certain times of the year, when they filter out of the mountains looking for food.

One otherwise unordinary pleasant afternoon I was tooting on the DeRosa up a long and fairly steep hill, through a area that these monkeys are known to frequent, a place where I usually don't ride much.

I saw a group of them on the road and up in the trees, generally being their obnoxious selves by trying to shake stuff down upon me from above. Usually the ones on the road hear, see, or smell you coming, and move off into the brush out of sight. That was what I expected, when just as I passed them, suddenly out of the pack this rather unhappy looking fellow tears out after me. Since it was along a quite steep hill, there was little chance of out running the thing. He runs up along the side of me making loud screeching sounds and baring his teeth, and with saliva flying he keeps trying to take a bite out of my leg. I started swerving all over the place, kind of panicking because he wouldn't let up. My leg going around in circles and the irregular route I was taking gave him problems, so he couldn't quite zero in on the drum stick, but he wasn't missing by much. It went on like this for about a hundred yards, and especially with the adrenalin pumping, I started to really get pooped out.

No matter what the charming photos show, the males can get rather large and muscular, and standing up on his hind legs he would be easily above my saddle height, so the last thing I wanted was any intimate contact with the fiend, and a heart attack seemed like the lesser of the evils, so I kept on pumping for all I was worth.

Perhaps he became tired too, or his big showoff for the ladies was sufficient, and he stopped chasing me and sat down in the road. I stopped to catch my breadth about forty yards ahead, and damn if the sucker doesn't start walking towards me again. I didn't think I had it in me to try the same getaway, and by the time I got on the bike and was in the toe clips again moving up the hill, he would easily be upon me.

I laid the bike down and picked up a somewhat large tree branch that with luck was close by (true story!). This seemed to make him reassess the situation, and he started moving off in a perpendicular direction, somewhat aided by a few large rocks aimed in his direction. People tell me that such attacks are a rarity, but I really don't much trust these animals. So, now when I ride where they tend to hang out, I'm packing a 44 magnum squirt gun filled with powerful toilet bowl cleaner. OK hairy punk, make my day!

Dennis Young
Hotaka, Japan



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