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
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
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.
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.
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.
An apple is a treat.
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.