SNOW MONKEYS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
The snow monkeys are famous for their habit of sitting in a hot bath in the winter season, but that isn’t the only time of year when you can enjoy the wonderful snow monkeys. In this article we will introduce you to the year schedule of the snow monkeys starting in January!
Winter is in the Snow Monkey area. Where the snow monkeys live it gets down to -15 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) in January, so the snow monkeys are loathe to leave their hot bath during the day. At night the snow monkeys go back up to the mountains to find a place to sleep for the night. They will sleep in a tree or on a cliff. They usually sleep at a different spot every night, this behavior doesn’t change throughout the year.
In winter it is very difficult for the snow monkeys to find food. In the wild, all the monkeys can find for food is tree bark, so the barley and soy beans provided by the Snow Monkey Park staff is vital for the survival of the snow monkeys. Thanks to the daily provided food, the monkey population has been able to increase little by little over the past years.
This way of life (eating barley, getting in their hot bath, finding a tree to sleep in at night) will continue up till mid March, when the temperatures start rising and the snow starts melting.
Spring is here! It will still be cold with snowfall at times, so food is scarce in the Snow Monkey area. Green sprouts start to appear slowly but surely though, and these make for little snacks for the monkeys. The more the year enters the green season and the warmer it gets, the more the monkeys get to foraging and the less they feel the need to enter the bath to warm up. This does not mean the snow monkeys won’t enter the bath at all, but they feel less need to do so.
Spring is the time of the year where you will see the monkeys get more active and playful. They will be jumping about, not having to worry about reserving energy anymore. Around mid April, the snow monkey babies start to be born. This is during the same time the cherry blossoms at Kanbayashi Onsen, the gateway to the Snow Monkey Park, start blooming.
At the end of May and beginning of June most baby snow monkeys of that year will be born. The interactions of the babies and their mothers have a very human way about them and it is quite a unique sight to see.
This is also the time of the year when nuts, flowers and wild vegetables become more abundant. The monkeys won’t have to rely on the food provided by the park staff as food is all around.
Summer starts and the snow monkeys start to shed their winter fur for lighter summer fur. The real summer heat hits the Snow Monkey area at the end of July, and it hits with a vengeance. This time of year is marked by snow monkeys filling their belly with food and then finding a spot in the shade to cool off and relax.
The babies born in spring start becoming more self-reliant and independent and stray a little further from their mothers.
The Snow Monkey Park is in the middle of a forest and covered by trees which provide ample shade for the monkeys. The park is a safe haven for the monkeys where they can just chill and hang out. There still are monkeys hanging out in the pool. This time not to warm themselves, but to relax and swim.
Heading to autumn! The forest is blooming in the time of year, filled with berries, nuts and many other kinds of snacks. To not completely lose all the snow monkeys to nature, local delicious apples are provided daily to the monkeys by the park staff. However, there are days during this time of year when the monkeys won’t come down to the park because of all the natural delicacies found in the mountains.
Remember that babies are born in spring? These monkeys were conceived in autumn, the mating season. This monkey business is done in the privacy of the mountains, so the adult monkeys are sometimes late to arrive to the park.
The colors of the leaves change to beautiful reds and oranges, creating a lovely background for the monkeys that inch closer to the hot pool with every passing day.
When autumn passes and we enter winter again in late November/early December, the temperatures drop to mius again and you’ll see the snow monkeys getting into the hot bath. Mid to late December is when the area starts to get covered in snow and the bathing season for the snow monkeys starts once again.
The snow monkeys display different behavior every season and every season has its own unique scenery. The combination of the snow monkeys and each season is sure to bring a smile to your face.