Japanese Monkeys De-stress in Their Own Spa, and Their Expressions Are Priceless

In Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan, a troop of Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys, begin their days with a relaxing dip in their own personal hot tub. The thing is, Jigokudani hosts many natural hot springs, and one troop of snow monkeys took a particular liking to them. For almost 70 years, they’ve been taking baths and drawing thousands of tourists from all around the world.

Bright Side was amazed by these little guys’ fondness of their spa, so we want to peek in at their bath time together with our readers.

Legend says they learned about bathing by accident.

In the 1950s, the development of local ski resorts started, forcing macaques away from their habitat, so they moved closer to human settlements. The local innkeeper began feeding the monkeys and sending reports on them to researchers. One day, an apple fell into the outdoor hot spring from one of the inn’s guests. A young monkey tried to get in the water to retrieve the apple and realized they quite liked it.

Soon, other young monkeys began soaking in the steamy water as well. In a few months, all monkeys had taken soothing baths in the onsen. As a result, Jigokudani Monkey Park was established in 1964.

Or maybe they learned this from humans.

The troop of monkeys in Jigokudani Monkey Park are the only of their kind in the world to have such spa days. Perhaps they learned this behavior from watching humans doing the same thing. After observing human guests of the inn swimming and relaxing in the water, the macaques decided to give it a shot themselves and got hooked.

They bathe to relax and de-stress.

At first, researchers thought monkeys soaked in steamy water to warm themselves in cold winters. But instead, it turned out they seem to appreciate hot springs for their stress-relieving properties. Like us, snow monkeys cope with tension and winter weather by taking warm baths. Pregnant females, in particular, tend to spend more time “chilling” in the spa.

Visiting the hot springs is a natural part of their daily activity.

Don’t forget that these monkeys are wild. Nothing is forcing them to stay in the park or get in the water. As in any national park, the animals are free to come and go as they please. They keep coming back because they enjoy it.

These monkeys are so close to zen, they don’t mind the nearly 500 daily tourists taking photos of them.

Monkey babies enjoy playing leapfrog as much as human ones.

Would you like to visit this park? What kind of animal enrichment do you wish to see more of in national parks around the world?

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Preview photo credit Shutterstock.com
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