Monkeys Catapult Themselves Out of Primate Research Institute

A monkey in Japan climbs on a tree.

Jin Kemoole / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

At a primate research institute in Japan's Kyoto University, recently a group of inventive monkeys managed to escape their enclosure despite the 17 foot tall electric fence in place to keep them in. With no obvious means of escape visible, the researchers were undoubtedly puzzled at how their high-tech security was breached -- that is until they discovered the primates had figured out a way to catapult themselves.

Researchers at the institute, who apparently study primates for a living, learned that they may have been underestimating the athletic and intellectual capacity of their monkeys. Although the enclosure has trees in it, they're cut short to around 6 feet tall and kept far enough away from the fence to foil any escape plans the monkeys may hatch out -- or so they thought.

Authorities from the institute discovered that the monkeys were able to catapult themselves over the giant fence by using the small tree's branches as a slingshot, reports the Japan Times.

"Their jumping power was greater than we thought," said the head of the institute, Hirohisa Hirai.

A life on the lam, it seems, wasn't in the cards for a few of the monkeys, who returned to the enclosure on their own. Later, 10 other escaped monkeys were discovered "hanging around" just beyond the fence, reports the Times. Eventually they too returned to captivity after researchers bribed them with peanuts.

The fact that the monkeys' novel escape plan worked, just goes to that humans too can be outwitted and that everyone enjoys a taste of freedom -- as well as the occasional snack.