A SHOCKED teenager got more than he bargained for when he was bitten on the leg by a monkey during a school trip to Africa.
Anthony Thompson was one of 20 Year 11 pupils from English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Hartlepool, who jetted off to Kartong Village, in The Gambia, for a week.
But his trip took a turn for the worse when he was bitten and scratched on the right leg by a green monkey during a visit to a nature reserve – the day before the group flew home.
He has not been left with any lasting injuries, but his friends have been making monkey jokes towards him and a member of his family even sent a card saying it was the ‘revenge of the monkey’ in response to infamous Hartlepool folklore where a monkey was hanged after being mistaken for a French spy.
Anthony was enjoying a three-mile walk through the Abuku Nature Reserve when the group stopped to watch the monkeys gather.
He said a friend made a quick movement towards one of the monkeys, which led to the animal attacking Anthony.
Anthony, 16, said: “I think the monkey thought he was going to stand on his tail.
“It obviously wanted to defend itself and started clawing at my leg, but I managed to shake him off.
“Then he came back and bit me before running off. It left two puncture marks in my leg.
“It really hurt, but the scratches were more painful.”
The teenager was rushed to a clinic in the capital Banjul for a precautionary rabies jab, but was otherwise ok and able to fly home.
Anthony, who needed a total of five rabies injections, is now the talk of the classroom.
He said: “The banter from my classmates has been non-stop.
“They keep telling stupid jokes and tell me to stop ‘monkeying around’.”
Anthony lives in Greenbank Court, in the town’s Wooler Road area, with mum Pam, dad Paul, younger brother Adam, 14, and 19-year-old sister Bethanie.
Pam said: “It was a bit of a shock when we got the initial phone call.
“But once we got over that it was fine because we knew he was in very good hands. They dealt with the situation brilliantly.”
Students were in The Gambia between February 7 and 15.
Anna Martindale, the school’s international co-ordinator and geography teacher, said: “Thankfully Anthony was absolutely fine.
“He never complained once and dealt with the situation very calmly.
“It has never happened before, but next time we will probably miss out that part of the trip.”