These monkeys are gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse.
Primate researchers in Indonesia say a monkey mafia presides over an Indonesian temple. The mischievous macaques — who have deceptively sweet faces — take tourists’ belongings, only returning them in exchange for food, according to New Scientist. They’ve bartered over everything from hats to wads of cash.
Locals have long observed the monkeys’ rude behavior at Uluwatu Temple on Bali. Videos from the renowned temple show the animals leaping onto unsuspecting tourists, stealing their stuff and hobbling back to their perches as they await a ransom.
But there’s important science to be gleaned from these aggressive animals, say researchers from the University of Liège in Belgium. Since the Uluwatu Temple is really the only place where monkeys act this way, the behavior must be learned.
With each generation, the monkeys have grown bolder and have learned from their parents that if they hold onto the stolen goods, they will get a tasty treat.
The monkeys are actually pretty smart to be able to pull this stunt off over generations, the scientists say.