These Monkeys Relax in Hot Springs to Survive and Thrive

Image: 猿蔵, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve never experienced the wonder that is lounging in a hot tub in the freezing cold, you’re missing out.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Just check out the below video of Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys, which are the farthest northern-living species of primate other than humans.

To help cope with the cold, the monkeys have picked up the habit of idling away winter days in natural hot springs, heated up by volcanic activity, which can get up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 on the Fahrenheit scale).

Since the 1960s, snow monkeys have been famous for chilling out in the hot springs of the Jigokudani Monkey Park in the Nagano Prefecture, which is where the video below was likely shot.

The park has become something of a tourist attraction over the years…

Because who won’t want to watch some bitterly cold monkey unwind in nature’s hot tub?

Studies have found that this bathing can actually reduce the stress of these monkeys.

Researchers studying these unique creatures at Jigokudani Monkey Park have uncovered an intriguing aspect of these hot springs — the monkeys do not just use them for comfort, but as a unique survival strategy.

The study found that hot spring bathing provides thermoregulation during the winter. This key benefit is primarily enjoyed by the dominant female of the troop, using the warm bath to conserve essential energy during the coldest months.