INSIDE LOOK: How monkeys stay cool at Jungle Friends

Published: Aug. 3, 2018 at 6:10 PM EDT
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In this Florida heat, volunteers at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary have been making sure their roughly 300 monkeys are staying cool this summer.

All summer long, just like us, the monkeys have been battling the heat.

Founder Kari Bagnall says most of them are from South and Central America where they live in rainforests with plenty of rain and shade to cool them down. But around Gainesville, if it doesn't rain or it gets to be more than 85 degrees, they need the extra help.

"Some of the monkeys are very lucky because they have buildings to go into and we keep it climate controlled," Bagnall said.

If you're not one of the lucky ones, all the habitats are packed with all kinds of vegetation, plus some shade cloths, misters or hoses.

"Of course we prefer rain to cool them down, and when our rain dances don't work, we turn on the misters or we spray them," Bagnall said. "They love to be sprayed with the water, the white face capuchins especially do."

But what keeps these from going bananas? The snacks. At least once a day they are fed frozen grapes, chilled watermelon, or 100%-fruit popsicles. Bagnall said the grapes are fleshy fruits similar to what they would find in their natural habitats, and are great for keeping them hydrated.

"It's an enrichment tool as well, they get to play with it," said Max Polyack, a veterinarian at Jungle Friends.

Jungle Friends is a non-profit and is always accepting donations of grapes, watermelon, and fruit juice popsicles. If you'd like to know more, go to or contact Director of Development Kathleen McGibbon at

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