Apes kidnapping Human Women -- Totally False?

Is there any truth to the legends about apes (gorillas, orangutans, etc.) kidnapping human women? Or is this type of tale just total fantasy?

It was documented in a 1933 film, but it is of dubious veracity.

While Chimpanzees and Baboons can be quite aggressive, I’m pretty sure this is fantasy. Do you have any links to actual accounts of this happening?

No, just hazy memories of images from pop culture (Tarzan, other “jungle-adventure” type movies and serials, pulp magazines, and such) – I suspected that the “ape-abduction” archetype was just a myth, but I thought that just maybe there were a few actual instances where it had actually happened.

At the same time, it seems a bit silly to think that another species would find humans sexually attractive, don’t you think? Heck, maybe they do… I would hope not, but who can fathom the mind of a beast? (Or other humans, for that matter…)

Than an ape would find a human attractive as as plausible as a human finding an ape attractive.

In other words, there’s one in every crowd?

It could plausibly be argued that apes abducting “our” women has been used as a covert metaphor for society’s racial fears.

I remember reading some story about an orangutan that was somewhat tame that would try to have sex with women, or something. But I don’t have any cite on it. I think I’ve also heard stuff about apes in captivity acting weirdly sexual upon adolescence towards female humans. Do apes recognize humans as being male or female? I mean if I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t know what sex THEY are.


I remember reading something like that in Demonic Males by Dale Peterson and Richard Wrangham. I don’t remember whether it was something one of the authors witnessed or if they were just passing along a story they heard.

ISTR there was a cite about that in one of the “baboon rape” threads inspired by HBO’s Rome series.

Primatologist Birute Galdikas reported witnessing an orangutan raping her camp’s cook while working in, I think, Borneo. The account is in her book Reflections of Eden.

That incident is also mentioned in Sy Montgomery’s book, Walking with the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas.

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Not necessarily. Many animals are driven to sex due to smells that the “target” gives off. We humans have (in terms of sexuality) become visually driven and relatively insensitive to smell, but human women may, as far as we know, give off scents that makes apes go ape.

As said, animals are more scent driven than us. I’ve read that pet reptiles will sometimes become sexually aggressive or just plain aggressive towards a woman if she isn’t in a relationship with a man, for example (if she’s in a relationship she has male scent all over her). I think Cecil once mentioned sexual assaults by tortoises. And monkeys have been known to react to men by trying to castrate them. So, sometimes animals do notice and care what gender you are.

Well whadda ya know. I guess some animals do find humans sexually attractive.

I knew a tortoise that would alternately try to mate with or attack one’s shoes.

If ever in the presence of a monkey, I will be sure to remember this.

Wow! Sexual assault by Tortoises? Weird, wild stuff! I had no idea…

t was also documented in the 1981 videogame, Donkey Kong.

Most monkeys can tell the difference between males and females, so I imagine most apes can as well. My monkeys will duck-face (make sexy faces) to both males and females because they are inherently bi-sexual, but they are more nervous around males and show more aggression towards them.

I’ve also heard stories about other apes who showed sexual preferences to humans, including a human-raised female chimp who loved to masturbate to playgirl.

As for finding non-human primates attractive, if you spend a lot of time around non-humans, you do feel that some are more attractive than others. One of my friends who worked with baboons told me how this guy was entirely in love with a female baboon and allowed his love for her to break up his marriage.