24th September 2013
Cute they might be, but animals can cause some serious nuisance when you’re travelling according to New Zealand’s largest online travel insurer, Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI).
Craig Morrison, SCTI CEO, says both wild and domestic animals have sparked a range of claims in the last year.
“We’ve had people claim for medical treatment after being stung by a jellyfish or poisonous fish when snorkelling, through to claims for property that’s been chewed up by puppies in the home of someone the insured is staying with.”
One fisherman claimed for a stolen rod after a seal had made off with his, while an intrepid photographer had their camera chewed on by a leopard in Africa.
But the worst offenders are dogs. According to the World Health Organisation dogs account for between 76-94% of animal bite injuries, followed by monkeys.
SCTI receives a number of claims each year for medical treatment needed after being bitten by a dog or monkey while on holiday, which in some countries can require a course of rabies treatment.
“I recently read in the Bangkok Post that one local hospital at a Thai beach resort treated around 600 people for monkey bites in the last year – 75% of them foreigners. I get that they’re cute, but you have to remember that they’re wild animals with very, very sharp teeth”, said Morrison.
In fact monkeys are often behind a raft of injuries and thefts, the most common being stolen sunglasses and wallets. Morrison says this is more likely to occur in places with large monkey populations, such as the Batu Caves in Malaysia or the Monkey Forest in Bali.
One SCTI customer even had the misfortune to be bitten by a monkey and a stray dog on the same trip.
To avoid falling victim Morrison recommends
• Prior to travelling do some research on the country you’re going to. Stray dogs are common in many places including Samoa, India, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Greece and throughout Southeast Asia. Don’t try and pet or feed any stray dogs you see.
• Exercise extreme caution around monkeys and don’t feed them - or taunt them with food.
• If you are going to an area with a large monkey population make sure your valuables are tucked away out of sight. Put glasses, cameras, water bottles and wallets in a backpack for example.
• Bites should be immediately be scrubbed with clean water and soap for 15 minutes. And you should seek help from a doctor.