Marion County Backyard Swarmed By Monkeys

MARION COUNTY, Fla. He's calling it a growing monkey phenomenon.

Brian Pritchard says his wife bought him a feeder on fathers day with hopes of catching pictures of deer as they walked through his backyard, but what he ended up with were dozens of monkeys.

"I had several deer I was trying to put protein to, to help grow and basically I got invaded by a bunch of monkeys," says Pritchard.

Pritchard says more than 50 monkeys would show up to his property at 7 every morning and night and turn his back yard into a zoo.

Mr. Pritchard says he watched as dozens of monkeys climbed up the railing and began spinning a plate that dispersed enough food to feed the entire troop.

The monkeys have taken more than 250 pounds of deer food which has caused Brian to shut down the feeding operation. Nearby, silver springs state park has shut down two sections, due to an increased monkey presence and aggressive behavior.

Researchers estimate about 200 non-native rhesus macaque monkeys live at the park and some carry the potentially deadly herpes B virus. Pritchard says the park's section shutdown has these monkeys looking for refuge elsewhere.

"There just can't be 200 monkeys out there when me and one of my buddies has a hundred of them on film," says Pritchard. "So in my book I just feel like that that number is way, way further than 200."

And as long as they leave him and his family alone, Pritchard says he's okay with having them hanging around in his yard.