Alcohol, knives, and break-ins are just a few vices of this intelligent primate.
A Brazilian bar was brought to a standstill earlier this year when a capuchin nicknamed Furious George drank some rum, snatched a knife, and chased the customers around. George left the women to drink in relative peace but the men were taunted until the monkey’s capture by the local fire department. George was released in a nearby nature reserve – only to be recaptured for harassing and scaring local children.
Wayward capuchins have been known to devise tools out of stone to break out of their enclosures in zoos and outsmart their keepers. In Costa Rica, they break into houses. As humans have encroached onto capuchin habitat, the monkeys have returned the favour and have trespassed in return. It may sound comical but it’s become a serious problem in parts of Brazil where marauding gangs break into homes and steal fruit and other items.
Capuchins are some of the most intelligent creatures and have been trained in studies to use small aluminium tokens as money to exchange for food. They learned to value tokens and look after them, but this soon descended into chaos as they began to steal from each other. The monkeys became the first non-human animals to use ‘money’.