Snow Monkeys bathe in hot springs
April 17, 2009 12:34 AM   Subscribe

Japanese snow monkeys in Yamanouchi have developed a neat trick - they bathe in the region's hot springs. Here's another gallery. There's even a webcam!

I love these guys. They're really cute. And this time I searched for monkeys, hot springs, hot tubs, and every other relevant keyword I could think of. I really hope nobody's posted this before, but with my luck it will appear as, oh, "oriental primate immersion within caloric effusions".
posted by Joe in Australia (23 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I believe this is the opening scene of the film "Baraka."
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 12:48 AM on April 17, 2009

Did you search for oriental primate immersion within caloric effusions? Because if you had, you would have seen that...

No. But I have seen these bloody Japanese hot-tub monkeys in every mail ever forwarded by anyone's auntie.

Imagine little hand-like feet sneaking around beneath the surface while the groper casually looks the other way and plucks frost from its beard. "What?! I R just sitting here!"
posted by pracowity at 12:51 AM on April 17, 2009

The scene from Baraka.
posted by spasm at 1:14 AM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

But do they have seaweed wraps and mud masks afterwards?
posted by rhymer at 1:38 AM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

But I have seen these bloody Japanese hot-tub monkeys in every mail ever forwarded by anyone's auntie.

Aunties mailing stuff like this around predates the Internet.
posted by effbot at 2:25 AM on April 17, 2009

Best of the Web for sure.
posted by the cuban at 2:38 AM on April 17, 2009

The monkeys in the hot-tub are only a single troop, and their lives are not at all representative of the majority of snow monkeys. The BBC Natural World series recently showed a documentary on this, which is available at iPlayer for another few weeks for UK viewers (or anyone who knows how to use a proxy). From the programme blurb:

In 1970, a picture of a snow monkey bathing in a hot spring graced the cover of Life Magazine. Ever since, Japan's hot-tubbing primates have been protected and well fed for the enjoyment of tourists and photographers - they have become international superstars of the natural world. But while their unique lifestyle has brought fame, the rest of Japan's snow monkeys lead very different lives, enduring incredible hardships as they fight for survival in their beautiful but unforgiving mountain home.
posted by Jakey at 2:51 AM on April 17, 2009

*starts knitting monkey-sized sweater and four mittens*
posted by pracowity at 3:27 AM on April 17, 2009

You know they totally pee in that hot tub, right?
posted by orme at 3:34 AM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

As seen in Life!
posted by TedW at 4:32 AM on April 17, 2009

Wait a second. Is it true that they have only just recently developed this hot-tubbing habit?
This Macaque troop regularly visits the Jigokudani-Onsen springs to escape the cold, behaviour originating from a female Macaque which ventured into the hot springs to retrieve soybeans in 1963.
posted by pracowity at 5:21 AM on April 17, 2009

MetaFilter: All the components that gave rise to human intelligence - it's just that they have never been assembled.
posted by Poolio at 6:32 AM on April 17, 2009

bloody Japanese hot-tub monkeys

I love this band!
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:34 AM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Out-of-Print Chronicle Books Mitsuaki & Hideko Iwago's Snow Monkeys is a good source for photos and information on these Japanese Macaques. They can be found on most of the islands of Japan except Hokkaido and the Ryukyu Islands.

Snow Monkeys Natural World BBC Two

Steve Backshall in Secret Wilderness Japan visits Yakushima to observe the beach dwelling monkeys. About five minutes into the segment.

Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani have become a popular tourist attraction.

Pet Japanese Macaques are being employed as waiters for handing out hot hand towels and bottled drinks in a restaurant.
posted by plokent at 7:28 AM on April 17, 2009

A colleague went travelling round Japan some years back with a friend of his. My colleague has a light manrug front and back and noticed that every time he went to the baths, a good half of the [somewhat less hirsute] Japanese men would get up quite soon afterwards and find somewhere else to be.

My colleague's friend was an especially hirsute Asian guy, who could have made Chewbacca envious. Apparently when he looked like getting in, the remaining Japanese bathers virtually propellered themselves out of the water they were moving so fast.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:33 AM on April 17, 2009

One of my favorite pictures of snow monkeys was from a Mutual of Omaha calendar. An adolescent was soaking up whilst holding a snowball, and the expression was one of pure mischief.

And now, it seems that seals are getting into the act.
posted by CancerMan at 10:35 AM on April 17, 2009

In college, my American History professor was really into "Mountain Men". He spent one lecture on them alone. They were trappers/furriers and worked seasonally - just spring and fall. In summer, they sold what they'd trapped. In winter, well they were bored a lot so some of these guys would winter in the Rocky Mountains at hot springs. Not sure what they did for entertainment there.
posted by almuric at 11:53 AM on April 17, 2009

What's with all the gold chains?
posted by Smedleyman at 1:37 PM on April 17, 2009

Wonderful photographs. The snow monkeys look so pink and worried. I love the ones when the monkey's expression appears to be saying, "Ahhh, this is bliss."
posted by nickyskye at 3:07 PM on April 18, 2009

If I ever went and visited these monkeys, I know I'd end up like that woman who recently jumped into the polar bear pit in order to be friends with them.

The cruelest fact of nature is that fuzzy little critters don't want cuddles.
posted by Ms. Saint at 5:38 PM on April 18, 2009

« Older "Yes, this is an actual interview & no, they...   |   Offensive Tea Party Signs Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments