Hot Spring Monkeys


 A nature preserve for monkeys has been established back in the hills of Nagano

Prefecture. Humans are allowed to enter and observe the community of about

one hundred monkeys.



Two Primate Species

 The monkeys are quite tame and seem not to object to having humans walk through

their territory.



Photographer's Delight

The animals are don't mind being photographed.



The Hot Spring Bath

 An outside natural hot spring bath that was set up exclusively for the monkeys a few

decades ago is very popular with the animals, especially in winter. To escape the cold,

the monkeys had previously sneaked into the bath at a local inn. Prejudices aside, the

guests at the inn were quite put off by the monkeys bathing habits, as the animals

apparently have no control over their excretory functions, making a mess of the

bath water.



Wash Behind Your Ears, Dear

 The bath is especially popular with juveniles, who use it as a swimming pool.




 Babies are born in late spring.




 Although the little ones are most often found clinging to their mothers, they will often

get together in groups and play.



Break Time

 This little fellow is having lunch.




 Mieko was trying to take a picture of this little guy, but he was more interested in

playing with the cord on her cell phone.



Resort Living

 In addition to having their bath cleaned and prepared every day by the park keepers,

the monkeys are fed a well-balanced diet. They must be the most prosperous clan of

monkeys in Japan. Park admission provides the funds for all of this. Visitors are

prohibited to bring food into the preserve. Lockers are provided at the entrance to

the park, as the monkeys have been known to steal people's picnics. This guy

escaped to a rock in the middle of the stream to eat the apple slice given to him

by the park keeper.



Snack Time

An apple is a treat.



Mating Season?

 During mating season, which is in the fall, the animals' skin, especially on the face and

rear end, becomes bright red. The two on the left do not know what to make of this bright

red, naked ape.