The Mystery of the Monkey Trap

The Monkey Trap. Most of us have heard of it. You catch a monkey by using a gourd or a coconut that is nailed down, has a small hole in it, and has some fruit for bait inside of it. The monkey slips its hand into the hole, grabs the prize (making a fist that is too large to pull out of the hole in the process), and is caught. Why is it caught? Because it won’t let go of the prize. Then the hunter walks over and whacks it on the head. Easy-peasy.

Is it real? I really don’t think so. I was unable to find any documented case of this type of trap being used. There are LOTS of anecdotal stories. I even found specific seeming names (the Burmese monkey trap, the southeast Asian monkey trap, the south Indian monkey trap), specific places named (India, Myanmar) and specific monkeys (spider monkeys).

I could verify NONE of them.

There does seem to be a heavy leaning towards spiritualism using this analogy though. Almost every reference to a monkey trap you will find when you use a search engine on the internet will bring you to a self-help or spiritualist website.

I guess this makes sense, as the monkey trap is a parable.

But I believe that is all that it is. One of the very first urban legends meant to teach a lesson.

I even contacted a zoo and was assured that, while a monkey may fuss with the prize for a minute or two, it is most certainly smart enough to let go.

There are traps that work in this manner, not only for monkeys but birds, fish and others, but they are really traps. One way traps, lined with sticks or something that lays down one way but catch/stab/hold when trying to pull back. More like a Chinese finger trap lined with spikes.

While I agree the idea of a monkey trap is a good parable, and one we can all learn a lesson from, I have not been able to find any evidence that THIS kind of monkey trap actually works on monkeys.

If you find any, let me know…



1 thought on “The Mystery of the Monkey Trap

  1. Hello!
    I have also heard this story,but i don’t believe it is true.So i have googled a lot of websites(and this is the reason why i find your weblog),but still can’t find some evidence to show it is true.

    If you have this problem settled,would you please tell about it?
    My email is :fangpengwansui(at) a lot!

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