Humans love to travel - and these days, we can indulge our wanderlust more easily and more often than ever. But all this adventure means we're crossing paths with foreign animals … sometimes with unexpected consequences. New Zealand insurance company Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) has released its annual roundup of animal-related claims. You might expect the chart-topper to be something monumental: a run-in with a bear, a killer bee attack or a road crossing gone awry. But no. 

Image: Katherine McAdoo/Flickr

The most expensive claim of the year – over $100,000 – came from a traveller in Europe who suffered several broken bones ... after being knocked over by a dog (note to self: avoid clumsy canines).

A baby elephant, shoe-chewing rats and an allergy-inducing jellyfish also made the list. "You name the animal – I can pretty much guarantee there’ll be a claim as a result! You wouldn’t credit the mischief they can cause,” says SCTI's CEO Craig Morrison.

But of all the animal assailants, monkeys were the biggest menace. According to Morrison, this is largely to do with the growing interest in tourist attractions like India's Monkey Temple. This, combined with the desire to interact with the 'cute and cuddly', gives monkeys a leg up on thievery. 

Last year alone, monkeys were responsible for stolen smartphones, backpacks, knives, money, sunglasses and more. One SCTI customer required rabies vaccinations to the tune of $4,000 after being bitten by a monkey in south-east Asia.

"Though monkeys play to their audience, they are fiendishly clever and, ultimately, wild animals - with teeth, claws and quick hands," Morrison warns.

Top header image: Sjors Provoost/Flickr