Longleat’s monkeys are famed for their mischievous behaviour, but even they could hardly believe their luck when an ice cream van entered their drive-through enclosure.
Despite the obvious attractions of flakes and ice cream cones however, the monkeys were restricted to a choice of special fruit-based ice lollies – which seemed to prove equally popular.
“Colin’s ice-cream van is a familiar site as he lives on the Longleat estate, so we thought it would be a nice idea to ask him to come along and provide the monkeys with a cooling treat,” said Longleat’s Ian Turner.
“Obviously it was just a one-off and we did it under closely controlled conditions but it certainly seemed to go down well,” he added.
Despite dealing with hungry children on a daily basis, Colin admitted he was surprised by the welcome he received from the primates.
“I’m used to dealing with cheeky monkeys, but these guys are in a totally different league!” he said
“While my attention was on a group trying to open the window, others were trying to peel the stickers off the side of the van,” he added.
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.
Highly sociable they live in family troops of 20 or more led by a dominant male. Food is gathered as a group – one monkey acting as “look-out” for danger, while the others fill their cheek pouches with as much food as they can.
Watch the monkeys enjoying their ice lolly treats with this video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF1uG6AuKPI