12:14pm Thursday 26th April 2012
It may appear that summer is still a long way away but the recent downpours have definitely failed to dampen the spirits of a troop of monkeys at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park.
Far from being put off by the bad weather, the rhesus monkeys have made the most of the recent rainfall and turned the growing puddles into temporary wet play areas.
As well as providing a fun new experience for the younger members of the troop, the puddles have also enabled some of the monkeys to actually see their own reflections – which have clearly fascinated them.
Longleat’s deputy head keeper, Ian Turner, who took the photographs of the monkeys, said: "Watching them jumping about in the puddles and even throwing stones and other objects into the water to see how big a splash they can make has been great.
"It’s obvious they genuinely enjoy themselves, even if the rest of us are finding the rain less entertaining.
"I was particularly interested to observe them watching their own reflections in the water – they seemed to be captivated by their own image and it really brings home how intelligent they are," he added.
The monkeys are part of more than 100 rhesus macaques at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park who normally spend their days leaping from car to car, hitching free rides on the thousands of vehicles that pass through their enclosure each day.
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.
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