Monkey Mayhem Returns To Longleat!

18th March 2011

This troop of over-excited monkeys thought that their birthdays had all come at once when a car, complete with suitcases, was left in their enclosure.

Normally the madcap primates spend their days leaping from car to car, hitching free rides on the thousands of vehicles that pass through their enclosure each day. It was decided to give the monkeys a full test drive to ensure that they are nicely limbered up for the new season!

The new toy was delivered last week and the 100 Rhesus monkeys soon set about tearing it apart with gusto.

The cheeky monkeys jumped on the bonnet, ran off with their very own wing mirror and rolled hubcaps gleefully away to play with.

They even rifled through luggage strapped to the top of the car, and tried on human clothes for size.

The little terrors admired their own reflections in the mirror, and even tried to pull off the Mercedes badge on the bonnet as a souvenir of their day!

Their antics were perfect preparation for the reopening of their enclosure, which will see hoards of delighted tourists flocking to see them in the up and coming months.

Deputy head warden, Ian Turner said: "The Longleat monkeys are one of the key attractions of the Safari Park creating fond memories for many thousands if not millions of kids over the years and probably the same number of frustrating memories for dads!

“We decided to give them their very own car to get them back in training for the new season. It’s clear to see from our test run however, that monkey mischief is still very much front of mind and they plainly haven’t forgotten their fondness for cars!”

Found throughout south east Asia and across the Indian subcontinent rhesus monkeys thrive in a wide variety of habitats and climates.

In some parts of India they are believed to be sacred with the result that they have lived in close contact with humans for countless centuries - particularly in and around Buddhist and Hindu temples.

Rhesus monkeys are extremely intelligent, naturally inquisitive animals which can learn to manipulate simple tools and distinguish colours and shapes.

Highly sociable they live in family troops of 20 or more led by a dominant male.

Food is gathered as a group - one monkey acting as "look-out" for danger, while the others fill their cheek pouches with as much food as they can.

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