A wild monkey is terrorizing a small city in southwestern Japan, breaking into homes to bite and claw residents amid an ongoing hunt for the animal, officials said.
Some 20 people in the Ogori area of Yamaguchi have been attacked by the monkey since July 8, with most receiving light injuries, according to the city’s administrative office.
The youngest victim is a 10-month-old girl, whose leg was scratched by the monkey after it entered through a screen door on the first floor of her house.
On Tuesday evening, the monkey struck at an elementary school, biting a 10-year-old boy on the arm and both hands, public broadcaster NHK reported.
It attacked two more people on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning: a woman in her 60s and a woman in her 80s, both of whom were outside at the time.
In other recent attacks, the monkey bit a man drying laundry outside and a woman whose balcony screen door was open. It also attacked two toddler brothers after climbing into their home through a window, NHK reported.
Authorities have not confirmed what type of monkey was responsible for the attacks but said the area is inhabited by macaques, also known as Japanese snow monkeys. Macaques can be found in parks in several areas of Japan, often scavenging food from visitors.
Police are ramping up patrols in the area and urging the public to keep their windows closed while the hunt continues.
The Ogori area is largely residential, and it’s rare for a wild monkey to leave the forest and harm humans, a spokesperson for the city office said.