The Adorable Snow Monkeys of Japan

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You might not know this, but there is actually a place in Yamanouchi, Nagano, Japan called Jigokudani Monkey Park, where snow monkeys, are often seen chilling out in a hot spring.

The snow monkeys, also called the Japanese macaque, are old world monkey species that are native to Japan. They got their name because they are commonly seen in regions where the ground is covered with thick layers of snow for months each year.

These macaques are easily distinguished for their bright red faces. Aside from that, they boast a thick coat of sand-colored fur, which helps them adapt to hot spring temperatures that ranges from 60  to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Jigokudani Monkey Park, which means “Hell’s Valley”, is home to these monkey species. It is named as is due to the steep cliffs and hot water surrounding the place. Since it opened in 1964, thousands of people from around the globe, flock to observe how these monkeys survive the harsh winter environment.

Mr. Takizawa, an employee at the park, described the snow monkeys by saying:

“The typical features of Japanese macaques are their short tails and small ears. These descriptions form the basis of Allen’s rule – that animals in colder climates have shorter appendages particularly in temperatures below zero – which means their petite physical features total to a smaller surface area, allowing them to be less exposed to the cold, thus being protected from forming frost bite.”

Although selfies are becoming very popular, there are concerns that gadgets are frightening the monkeys. For instance, drones are considered risky for them because they resemble some animals that the macaques are scared of.

With the increasing popularity of these species, you cannot expect their haven to be very peaceful. Even so, these monkey species just ignore the humans visiting them. In fact, they just go on with whatever they are doing and play and swim in the springs.

Watch these snow monkeys in these videos:


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