Why do monkeys rub onion on themselves?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Monkeys have a fascinating behavior when it comes to dealing with insects. One peculiar method they use to prevent insect bites is by rubbing onions on themselves. This behavior might seem strange to us humans, but it serves a purpose for the monkeys in their natural habitat.

One of the main reasons monkeys rub onions on themselves is to repel insects. Onions contain sulfur compounds that have insect-repellent properties. When monkeys rub the raw onion on their fur and body, it releases these compounds, creating a pungent odor that insects find unpleasant. By doing so, monkeys can deter insects from landing on their bodies and potentially biting them.

In the wild, monkeys often encounter a wide range of insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas, which can carry diseases or cause discomfort. By using natural repellents like onions, they have developed an effective way to protect themselves from these pests. This behavior showcases the resourcefulness and adaptability of these intelligent creatures.

Additionally, the act of rubbing onions on their fur may also have a soothing effect for monkeys. Just like humans, monkeys can experience itchy skin or irritation caused by insect bites. By rubbing the onion on their bodies, they may find relief from the discomfort and irritation caused by these insect bites. The pungent odor of the onion may also help mask any other scents that could attract insects, further reducing their chances of getting bitten.

It’s important to note that this behavior is not exclusive to all monkey species. Different species may have their own unique methods of dealing with insects, depending on their environment and available resources. Some monkeys may use leaves or plant extracts with insect-repellent properties, while others may use mud or dirt to create a protective layer on their bodies.

Monkeys rub onions on themselves primarily to repel insects and prevent bites. By utilizing the natural insect-repellent properties of onions, monkeys can create a barrier against pests and reduce the risk of discomfort or disease caused by insect bites. This behavior showcases their adaptability and resourcefulness in their ever-changing environment.