Monkeys may be cute, but they can cause unexpected drama for humans, according to a video posted on Oct. 16 to X, the site formerly known as Twitter.

The video, which has 21.4 million views, shows a monkey sitting on a little wall overlooking beautiful cliffs by the sea in Bali, holding a woman’s phone ransom.

In hopes of getting her phone back, the woman holds out a bag of what look like grapes to the monkey, but it refuses the offer and grips her phone even tighter.

She then puts the grapes in her purse and pulls out a small brown fruit. The monkey snatches it and demands one more. She complies, handing him another, and the monkey quickly drops her phone and scampers away with a monkey friend.

Even before the video started going viral, Bali’s long-tailed macaques were known for being thieves.

View Comments

Jean-Baptiste Leca, an associate professor of psychology at University of Lethbridge, led a study on these monkeys that found that they’re capable of assessing “which items their victims value the most” and use that skill to maximize profit, per The Guardian.

Leca said, “These monkeys have become experts at snatching them from absent-minded tourists who didn’t listen to the temple staff’s recommendations to keep all valuables inside zipped handbags firmly tied around their necks and backs.”

His team spent 273 days filming interactions between the macaques and the tourists, The Guardian reported.

“The longest wait before an item was returned was 25 minutes, including 17 minutes of negotiation. For lower-valued items, the monkeys were more likely to conclude successful bartering sessions by accepting a lesser reward,” the article said.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.