LONGLEAT Safari Park’s newest arrivals enjoyed some early Halloween treats in the shape of carved pumpkins this week.

The seven-strong colony of juvenile male colobus monkeys from three collections in Ireland and France have taken up residence on an island in the middle of a lake.

To welcome them to their new home, keepers laid on a surprise treat in the shape of the edible gourds.

Originally from East Africa, the black and white old world monkeys’ diet is exclusively herbivorous; consisting of a mix of fruit, berries, leaves and seeds.

Keeper Georgina Barnes said: “We knew they liked squashes and gourds and thought pumpkins would make the perfect autumnal housewarming gift.

“One of the team carved them into appropriately-spooky looking Halloween faces but it didn’t deter the monkeys who actually seemed to be even more interested in them and finding out what was inside.”

“They are all settling in well on the island, although it’s still a bit strange for us as it was home to our much-missed male gorilla Nico,” added Miss Barnes.

The name colobus originates from the Greek word for mutilated and refers to the fact that the monkeys do not have any thumbs.

It’s believed this is an evolutionary adaptation which enables the monkeys, to move more easily through the trees.

Capable of leaping up to 10 metres, the lack of thumbs allows their hands to act more like hooks grabbing onto branches as they travel at speeds of up to 30mph.

Eastern black and white colobus are increasingly under threat in the wild from a loss of habitat, hunting for their skin and the bush meat trade.

Individuals in zoological collections live for 30 years or more. In the wild their natural predators include eagles, leopards and even chimpanzees.