Silver Springs Monkeys in Florida - Primates Park (2022)

(Last Updated On: March 4, 2022)

Once upon a time in the countryside near Ocala, Florida, there were a number of amazing primate species, some of them still living in the wild. The Silver Springs tourist attraction once housed the spider monkeys in Florida along with Gibbons family, some lemurs, and soldiers of the macaque monkey.

Now that the facility is no longer about to display exotic animals, the only primates in that area are the free-range rhesus macaques. They have interesting stories of their own.

Silver Springs Monkeys in Florida - Primates Park (1)

Silver Springs Monkeys in Florida history

Since the 1930s, several hundred rhesus macaque monkeys have lived near Silver Springs tourist attractions in Ocala, Florida.

(Video) Family attacked by wild monkeys at Florida's Silver Springs State Park

Florida wildlife operators say they want to remove the Rome monkeys from Silver Spring State Park on the Silver River. One of Florida’s first tourist attractions, the park was once known for its natural vista and native wildlife. However, the biggest figure in the park for the last 3 years is its monkey. That’s right – Silver Spring State Park is home to at least 300 rhesus macaques, monkeys in southern and southeast Asia.

Feral rhesus macaques are wild troupes of rhesus macaques published by researchers, zoos or private owners that have been able to survive and propagate in several locations in the United States.

Silver Springs State Park

In the spring of 7, a colony of rhesus macaques was established in Silver Springs, Florida. Monkeys were released by tour boat operator Colonel Toe to extend his jungle cruise ride. Location The story of the monkey that was released to enhance the scenes in the monkeys that were filmed in the area, is the only Tarzan movie that was filmed in the area, Tarzan of 1939 discovers a son! There is no rhesus macaque in some parts due to the bad mood of the species. Monkeys still thrive on the Silver River.

Silver Springs Monkeys in Florida - Primates Park (2)

South Florida

In southern Florida, rhesus and other monkey species have been found in various colonies, such as common squirrel monkeys and varlet monkeys. They are believed to have gained independence after destroying hurricanes at zoos and wildlife park opportunities, most notably Hurricane Andrew.

(Video) Silver River Monkeys Part 1 & 2

As of September 12, 2013, 1000 rhesus lives in the state of Macau; Officials have captured more than 700 monkeys in the past decade. Most of the monkeys diagnosed have tested positive for the herpes B virus. Wildlife officials consider the animal a danger to public health.

Silver Springs is the source of the monkeys in Florida

Apparently, 12 monkeys were released on an island in the park by a local tour boat operator in the 30s as part of an attempt to start attracting Tarzan-based tourists.

Can you shoot monkeys in Florida?

Here’s a rule you won’t find anywhere except Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently ruled that feeding wild monkeys is now illegal. Wild monkeys are certainly not citizens of Florida.

Are there any wild monkeys in the United States?

Why There Are No Monkeys From North America There are a fair share of terrifying creatures roaming in North America, but there is one creature that has never had roots: monkeys. There are some wild monkeys in Mexico, but in the US and Canada? None.

In 1981, Dr. Linda Wolf would attract Silver Springs monkeys with peanuts so she could monitor the girls’ fertility rates.

(Video) Kayaker dodges tree jumping monkeys on river in Florida river

Linda tells us that according to local legends, Tarzan was searching for a son and brought the rhesus monkeys to the area, which was filmed in Silver Springs, on March 7. The monkeys didn’t make it to the movie (“It wasn’t in the script!” Linda said) but they did watch the filming and whenever Johnny Wisemaul sank into the water they screamed in excitement. “I think they were warning him about alligators,” Linda laughed.

In fact, Linda learned that the Monkeys were brought to Silver Springs a while ago by an entrepreneur named Colonel Twy, who was on a jungle cruise boat ride. He built an island on the banks of the shallow silver river and planned to keep the monkeys sometime in 1938, with the idea of ​​increasing his revenue.

However, Colonel Twy obviously thought he (non-swimmer) was getting a squirrel monkey. Instead, he got six rhesus monkeys. “Monkeys were swimming on the island before Colonel Twy could get back on his boat!” Linda said.

Rhesus monkeys are curious and resourceful animals. Linda tried not to get her car too often at her observation site because the monkeys rumbled in (they thought the rear view mirrors were the door handle).

Granted, Colonel Tooy later came up with a few more monkeys, but for the most part, nature only took his way: the monkeys split into the manifold. Several soldiers were stranded on the banks of the Silver River near Silver Springs, west of the original release site. Their regular monkey chow, fruits, and vegetables were provided by the jungle cruise boat captain who wanted to lure their customers closer.

(Video) Wild Monkeys at Silver River, Ocala Florida - Rhesus macaques live in Florida - Captain Tom

Some monkeys headed east where the Silver River flowed into the Oklawaha River. There, monkeys set up housework in the Ocala National Forest. Some did not provide food for these monkeys, only during the cold winter months, the locals threw their dog kibble out of charity work. These monkeys were on their own – and still, are.

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Map of the Linda region. The monkeys quickly dispersed from the shallow Silver River’s main release site (E). The provisioned monkey (C and D) was located near the fountain (A). The soldiers of the undead monkey (H) still live in the Ocala National Forest.

By the time Linda began her studies, there were probably 300 monkeys living near Silver Springs, and another 250 or more were divided into two or three troops in the Ocala National Forest. Unfortunately, at that time, the then-Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission insisted on the removal of large numbers of monkeys.

Self-described “raccoon trappers” were deployed to execute this order. At least 217 of the former freelance primates were trapped and sold to Buckshire Corporation, which supplies animals to laboratories. Others were sent to the zoo. Yet more were sent to an unknown fate.

Silver Springs mom and baby

Along with the attention of national TVs and newspapers, a huge crowd was finally caught in the trap of such a large number of monkeys. As far as Linda knows, there has never been another ‘without a trap’ to trap the monkey.

(Video) monkey in silver springs Florida

What will happen to the monkeys in Ocala, Florida? Living in the National Forest has survived at least decades of minimal humanitarian intervention; They will probably be able to continue it in the same terms.

Monkeys that were accustomed to feeding regularly might take a tip or two from their neighbors. Hopefully, with minimal human intervention, these strong and adaptive macaques can spend their days in Florida in peace.

Silver Springs Monkeys in Florida - Primates Park (3)


What happened to the monkeys at Silver Springs? ›

In July 1991, PETA's application to the Supreme Court for custody was rejected. Days later, the last two monkeys were killed after veterinarians determined they were suffering and should be euthanized.

Are there still monkeys at Silver Springs State Park? ›

That's right—Silver Spring State Park is home to at least 300 rhesus macaques, a monkey native to south and southeast Asia. The animals are breeding rapidly, and a new study estimates that the monkey population will double by 2022 unless state agencies take steps to control it.

How do you see the monkeys in Silver Springs? ›

Monkeys on the Silver River - YouTube

How did the monkeys get to Silver Springs Florida? ›

The monkeys, rhesus macaques, originate from two small groups released into the Silver Springs state park almost 100 years ago by an eccentric boat captain. Their numbers have soared since then, and experts predict there could be 400 roaming the park by 2022.

Are there alligators in Silver Springs State Park? ›

The alligator had been a popular curiosity among kayakers and paddleboarders in Silver Springs State Park, where it was often seen lounging in the sun along the banks of the Silver River. The park — home to alligators, large turtles, manatees and even a colony of monkeys — enforces a no-swimming rule.

Why do monkeys bite their babies? ›

It turns out that's just what happens in one rhesus macaque society. When a mom doesn't give in to her baby's demands, it risks being smacked and bitten by its fellow monkeys. Rhesus monkey babies cry when they want to nurse.

Are monkeys nasty? ›

While some monkeys are gentle, some are very aggressive. However, even the gentlest monkeys are unpredictable and might turn aggressive on anyone, including the person to whom they are the closest, especially during and after puberty.

Where can I interact with monkeys in Florida? ›

6 Places Where You Can See Free Roaming Monkeys In Florida
  • Silver Springs State Park. See on Instagram. Address: 5656 E. ...
  • Dania Beach. Address: Dania Beach. ...
  • Homosassa Crystal River. Address: 5297 S. ...
  • The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. See on Instagram. ...
  • Ocklawaha River. See on Instagram. ...
  • Monkey Jungle. See on Instagram.
Dec 20, 2021

Why do monkeys bite each other? ›

When monkeys get aggressive, it's usually because they think you have something to eat. According to one study, about three-quarters of all the aggressive interactions between long-tailed macaques and tourists at Bali's Padangtegal Monkey Forest involved food.

How many monkeys are in Silver Springs? ›

An estimated 176 monkeys lived on the Silver River in 2015, according to the UF study, which was led by Jane Anderson. The study, which appeared in the Journal of Wildlife Management in 2019, detailed the state's history managing the monkeys.

Do monkeys carry diseases? ›

Nonhuman primates are more likely to contract hepatitis A, measles, or poliomyelitis from humans or as part of a laboratory experiment than to transmit these diseases to humans. However, once infected with these diseases, primates pose a risk to the humans with which they are in contact.

Why do monkeys scratch so much? ›

A study conducted on monkeys showed that scratching reduces aggression and chances of conflict in primates, including humans. Scratching can be a sign of stress in many primates, including humans, and may have evolved as a communication tool to help social cohesion in monkeys, a study has found.

Why does Florida have monkeys? ›

How Did Monkeys End Up In Florida? The monkey colonies of Florida most likely started in very similar ways to other invasive species. Lab subjects, zoo animals, and escaped pets (registered and unregistered) are the main contributors to invasive species in Florida.

How do I get rid of monkeys? ›

Presence of big dogs in premises shall make monkeys leave the area. Monkeys are scared of snakes. Keep real looking plastic snakes at roof tops or boundary wall of your house. Loud heavy noise, bursting of crackers or their sound track will force the monkeys to leave any premises.

Where are the monkeys in Dania Beach? ›

The monkeys have made this woodsy stretch of road their home since the 1950s. The monkeys are at the Park 'N Go near the cruise ship docks. They get on the cars and are on the fences. Sadly, there are only two monkeys left at the Motel 6.

Are there monkeys in Ocala National Forest? ›

For more than 75 years, monkeys native to Central and East Asia have inhabited Silver Springs State Park in Ocala and become ingrained in its lush ecosystem. Recent observational research by University of Florida biologists found that an estimated 200 rhesus macaques live within the park.

Are there monkeys in Ocala Florida? ›

The state park currently is home to a growing population of roughly 300 monkeys, which were left behind from a tourist attraction called Colonel Tooey's Jungle Cruise in the 1930s.

Are there monkeys loose in Florida? ›

Robust data and genetic research are providing important evidence on a colony of wild African vervet monkeys that landed in Dania Beach more than 70 years ago and settled in a thick mangrove forest near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in South Florida.

Monkeys in Silver Springs have been found infected with a deadly virus. And their population will double. Here's how to be safe when visiting Silver Springs

This is concerning to state entities, researchers, and locals alike due to a deadly virus found in a portion of the population of Silver Springs monkeys.. The rhesus macaque monkeys are not native to Florida—the earliest documentation of the Silver Springs monkeys goes as far back as the 1930s, according to Dr. Brian W. Ogle, assistant professor of anthrozoology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida.. A recent study by Wildlife Management found that the Silver Springs monkey population, which started with only 12 rhesus macaques in Central Florida, is expected to reach around 400 by 2022.. “The concern of these animals stems directly from the fact that the animals carry a zoonotic disease, which means the virus can be transferred from animals to humans,” Ogle said.. While contraction is extraordinarily rare, and most commonly occurs through bites and scratches from macaques, the fatal consequences are cause for extra precaution around the Silver Springs monkeys.. “Since humans are in close proximity, and the monkeys have a tendency to act in an aggressive manner when humans become too close,” Ogle said.. In 2017, a group of rhesus macaques were filmed chasing a family in Silver Springs State Park.. Silver Springs State Park has, in the past, closed down sections of the park directly due to issues caused by the roaming rhesus macaques.. If you happen to be camping or visiting Silver Springs State Park, it’s likely that you’ll come across one, or a pack of, Silver Springs monkeys.. Get the Latest 2021 Camping Travel Trends in our Year in Review How To Find Free Camping in National Forests The Checklist Every First Time RVer Needs Find Free Camping With The Dyrt Map Layers The Ulimate Boondocking Guide To Free Camping Everything You Need To Know About Wifi For Your RV 7 of The Best Overland Routes in North America 14 Wilderness Survival Tools You Should Have in The Backcountry Here's What To Add To Your Primitive Camping Checklist

Descendants of theme-park escapees, a population of rhesus macaques in a Florida state park may soon double in size—a recipe for trouble.

But for the last 80 years, the park’s biggest draw has been its monkeys.. That’s right—Silver Spring State Park is home to at least 300 rhesus macaques , a monkey native to south and southeast Asia.. The study, published October 26 in the journal Wildlife Management , claims that such an increase could put the health of the park and its visitors in serious jeopardy—because, among other problems, the monkeys carry a rare and deadly form of herpes virus called herpes B. It’s extremely, extremely rare for herpes B to spread from a monkey to a human, but when it does, it can be fatal.. Florida’s primate problem began in 1938 when a tour boat operator known as "Colonel Tooey" released six rhesus macaques onto a small island within what is now the state park.. He procured the monkeys from a primate dealer in New York City with the intention to create a Tarzan-themed attraction on the island, but his plans quickly unraveled.. Officials also sterilized 20 female macaques during that time.. The colony within Silver Springs State Park has already spread into the Ocklawaha River and could easily establish new colonies in other parts of the state, experts warn.. The monkeys “aren’t really that aggressive unless you get right up to 'em and try to feed them,” says Debbie Walters, a guide with a local tour boat outfit, Captain Tom's Custom Charters.. Macaques spread the virus through their urine, saliva, and feces—the last of which they’ve been known to throw at humans.. Regardless, many locals appreciate the animals and want them to stay.. “A lot of other animals cause disease, and we don't kill them.”. Walters says she would support efforts to sterilize or relocate the monkeys, but would oppose a management plan that used lethal measures or sold monkeys for use in biomedical research.. In January of this year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission called on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which recently took over management of the park, to put a population-management plan in place.

State temporarily closes Island Boardwalk and Sea Hunt Deck

Two areas within the Silver Springs State Park remained closed Monday after a rising number of rhesus macaque monkeys who live freely in the park became aggressive toward park visitors.. Park manager Sally Lieb said state park officials in Tallahassee decided in late June to close off the Ross Island Boardwalk to park visitors because of unwanted monkey interactions with park guests.. She said state park officials also closed the park’s Sea Hunt Deck after an Estero, Florida family videotaped aggressive monkey behavior at that location.. A state park official recently came to the park for an area park service meeting and observed monkeys on the Ross Island Boardwalk and decided to close that area, Lieb said.. There are an estimated 200 rhesus macaque monkeys living in and around the park, according to Steve Johnson, associate professor of wildlife ecology and conservation at the University of Florida.. Lieb said the decision as to when to open the closed areas of the park will be based on “when we’ve solved our issue and our issue is that the monkeys have spent a lot of time in these areas.”. The park staff also will make a greater effort to educate park visitors about the monkeys and patrol the areas where the monkeys congregate.. Then park manager Colonel Tooey reportedly released about six rhesus macaques on an island in the park in hopes they would attract tourists and increase revenue for the boat tours, Johnson wrote.. The job of getting the monkeys to avoid human contact is made more difficult because boaters often feed the monkeys and park staff has no say over what happens in the Silver River, Johnson said.. “Along with posting signs and flyers related to the monkeys throughout the park, park staff survey public use areas during morning safety and maintenance checks before visitors arrive.. Park staff may temporarily close use areas if monkeys are spotted during these checks,” he wrote.. Meanwhile, park visitors say they will not stop coming to the park because of bad monkey behavior.

Canoeing down the Silver Springs river is much like canoeing on any springs in Florida. The water is a gorgeous crystal clear and consistently cool, huge knotty cypress trees line the riverbanks, a…

The park has been closed twice since 2016 during times when monkeys showed increased aggression towards humans, including one incident where monkeys chased a family along a boardwalk.. We aren’t sure why the herpes virus appears to spread so readily in captive monkeys while no infection has been noted in wild monkeys, and research is still ongoing.. About 25% of the monkeys in Silver Springs have Herpes B virus and about 4 to 14% of them may be shedding the virus by mouth at any given time, so it may simply be that bites so far have come from individuals not actively shedding the virus.. Rhesus monkeys destroyed endangered red mangroves that grew along the coastline of the Florida key islands where they were introduced, leading to shoreline erosion and eventually prompting to remove all the monkeys Macaques decimated populations of four separate species of shorebirds in the Florida Keys islands where they were introduced.. As in so many cases of introduced species, the solution to the problem of Rhesus monkeys in Silver Springs is a complicated one.

Florida’s first tourist attraction owes its existence to America’s biggest natural spring but now it has a problem with an introduced species.

Then, the colonel ordered half a dozen Asian rhesus macaque monkeys.. USA TODAY reports that “From 1984 to 2012, about 1,000 monkeys were removed or sterilized through permits issued by the state.” Then, it emerged that some of the captured macaques were sold to laboratories for animal testing.. Most of these people got infected after they were bitten or scratched by a monkey, or when tissue or fluids from a monkey got on their broken skin, such as by needle stick or cut.. In 1997, a researcher died from B virus infection after bodily fluid from an infected monkey splashed into her eye.”. The New Yorker reports that “The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates that between three and four thousand primates escaped during the hurricane, together with as many as fifteen thousand other animals, including parrots, gazelles, wallabies, six mountain lions, and an Asian pheasant . . .” Most of the escapees were rounded up or shot by police.. “Furry, Cute and Drooling Herpes: What to Do With Florida’s Invasive Monkeys?” Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian , December 31, 2019.

The primate who ruled the news vanished again. A quest to find him led deep into Florida’s monkey kingdom.

Monkeys.. If the stories sound a bit Big Fish , know they’re not far off.. “But she did right by Cornelius.”. But people wanted one thing.. I can’t find Cornelius.

Park officials are no longer trying to tamp the macaque population down.

The monkeys — just six of them — arrived in the 1930s as tourist attractions, confined to an island in a Central Florida river.. The furry, pink-faced creatures native to Asia soon spread and multiplied in what is now Silver Springs State Park, capturing the hearts of visitors who traveled the lush river in glass-bottom boats — and confounding conservationists who want to rein them in.. It’s a testament, researchers say, to the messy problem of managing an invasive species that has become a tourist highlight complete with its own urban legend.. Anderson estimates 550 to 600 macaques now living in northern Central Florida and frets that more growth could bring serious consequences for area birds such as quails.. The macaque population along Florida’s Silver River had ballooned to nearly 400 by 1984, according to a paper by Anderson and her colleagues.. The macaques’ herpes B has only been transmitted to people in the lab — but in the rare cases that humans get the virus, it can be deadly.. “It is a tragedy that wild monkeys are torn from their families and forest homes and sold to research and testing laboratories,” one animal rights organization’s spokesman said in 2013, calling on officials to catch and sterilize instead, as the Ocala Star-Banner reported .. “What do you do with the monkeys?” the University of Florida associate professor told The Washington Post.. Instead of trying to manage the population, officials warn tourists to keep their distance.. Experts caution that such human cases are rare.. While she said the macaques have “bitten or scratched multiple people in Florida,” authorities have yet to record an instance of the monkeys passing their herpes B to humans in the wild.. A rhesus macaque monkey and her offspring in Silver Springs, Fla., in 2017.. Wildlife managers in Florida say they want to remove the roaming monkeys from the state in light of reports that the animals are believed to be carrying a herpes virus that could be dangerous to humans.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There’s an upswing in monkey business in and around a state park in Florida, where bands of non-native rhesus macaques live along a…

Jul 11, 2017 • July 12, 2017 • 3 minute readIn this July 3, 2017 photo provided by Brian Pritchard, a band of non-native rhesus macaques are seen on Pritchard's property in Ocala, Fla. Officials have closed two walking areas at nearby Silver Springs State Park because of unwanted monkey interactions with park guests.. (Brian Pritchard via AP) ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There’s an upswing in monkey business in and around a state park in Florida, where bands of non-native rhesus macaques live along a river that’s popular with kayakers and tourists.. This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.. Officials have closed two walking areas at Silver Springs State Park because of unwanted monkey interactions with park guests.. Matt Mitchell, the assistant director of Florida State Parks, said rangers are checking areas each morning for monkey activity.. “Park staff may temporarily close use areas if monkeys are spotted during these checks,” he wrote in an email.. “Park staff also respond to reports of monkeys in public use areas by guests.”. A video shot by a family showing seemingly aggressive monkeys on one of the park’s boardwalks made the rounds recently on social media.. This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.. He thought it would be a good idea to release six macaques on a small island in the Silver River and call it Monkey Island to draw tourists.. The monkeys thrived in the warm climate and the park at one time sold “monkey chow” so visitors could feed the primates.. But once again, state officials are considering options to control the primates — after all, viral videos of charging monkeys aren’t the best publicity for the park.. Experts say monkeys can carry and transmit Herpes B-virus, but there’s no evidence that anyone has gotten sick from the Silver Springs monkeys.. You don’t want to antagonize them,” said Steve Johnson, an associate professor of wildlife ecology at University of Florida who researches the monkeys.. Johnson said there are four or five groups of monkeys in the park, and other groups are outside the park.


1. Wild monkey in Silver Springs State Park, Florida
(Robert R)
2. Macaque Monkeys at Silver Spring State Park, Ocala Fl
(Eileen Wise)
3. Monkey Tour at Silver Spring - BK Adventures
(BK Adventure )
4. Monkeys at Silver Springs State Park
(Thomas Fletcher Sr)
5. Monkeys Defend Themselves From Idiotic Family at Silver Springs
(WTF Florida?)
6. Florida's herpes-infected monkey population is booming and it could have fatal consequences
(ABC Action News)

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