Herein lies a very vague and stupid question about monkeys.

Now you can’t say you weren’t warned!

On some unknown nature show they showed these cute and fuzzy monkeys that lived in a very cold place, perhaps the in the mountians somewhere. It was so cold that their fuzzy fur always seemed to have snow and ice hanging off of it. These monkeys would travel daily to a natural hot spring and spend long hours sitting in the spring up to their necks.

My question: What prevented them from dying of hypothermia when they stepped out of the hot spring all soaking wet.

These monkeys are macaques, and they live in Japan. And I’ve always wondered how they manage to get dry before they freeze to death.

Here’s a link to some cute snow monkeys:

perhaps the same thing that keeps otters & seals from dying of hypothermia when they go swimming in near-freezing water? their fur, even wet, keeps them warm. If they stay near the hot spring long enough for their fur to dry out, then they’d be even warmer.

The otters and seals have insulating blubber. The monkeys don’t. Thanks for the cute pictures Lemur, how closely related are you to them?

Don’t get mad Lemur. It was a joke on your username! I don’t think you’re a monkey!!

Juvenile macaques make…snowballs! The adults don’t, but will play with one if a juvenile makes one. No, they’ve never been observed in a snowball fight.

Otters do not have blubber. Cite:

  • Bjorn240

OK, so the seals have blubber and the otters have specially adapted fur made to be wet 24/7.

Why don’t the monkeys freeze?

Maybe they periodically go back into the spring whenever they start getting cold? I really don’t know, just an idea.

How deeply does the water soak in? If the water just stays on the surface of the fur then drying wouldn’t be too much a problem if they just hung around the hot spring.

If the hotsprings is at a high altitude, then they probably dry off pretty fast due to low humidity.

They throw poop but not snowballs? Strange monkeys.

Do they make snow Koans?

If they evolved for that climate, they may very well have evolved a coat to keep them from getting soaked in the water. Maybe they have a double coat, guard hairs on top and very thick soft fur underneath.

My cat has a double coat… he sits on the side of the tub with his tail in the water, and the outer hair gets so completely soaked that he can’t hold his tail upright… but if you brush his tail you’ll notice that the fur underneath is completely dry.

I concede defeat. Can’t find it. Did find out:

  1. The hot springs dips are recent within the last 30 years. Learned behavior from watching humans, although it may have been learned and unlearned by various generations of monkeys.
  2. These monkeys are a problem and feeding is now discouraged. From what I read the monkeys probably just help themselves to the use of the cabanas.
    The only conclusion I can draw is that their fur/skin insulation is good enought to survive an occasional fall in a river so the hot springs are just icing on the cake.

“monkeys springs snow japan” was my base search but the clincher was not - insulation, “not freeze”, “not die”, exposure, hypothermia, survive

Well, I posted this on Friday after working hours. Maybe I’d have better luck with the 9 to 5 crew. So I’m bumping this old thread.

maybe the owners of the spa supply cotton towels at the reception area, for a small fee of course. And sachets of shampoo if need be.

if you ever come accross that documentary again, you’ll see them drying their fur. They bathe for 2 reaosn: to stay/get warm and to keep their fur clean.
when they’re half out of the water, and rubbing themselves to get their fur clean, you’ll see them blowing into their fur. Some otter species do this too.
This traps their hot breath in the downey layer of their fur, which prevents the ewater getting to their skin. Once that is done, they can come out the water, and use their own body heat to dry off the outer layers.
Hope this helps

As Indefatigable suggests, they may have a deeper, finer layer of fur close to the skin that acts like goose down, insulating and shielding the skin. Kitties, dogs and polar bears definitely have it too.

It raises the question as to why do human hair follicles produce oil? I’ve been told that one reason is to “feed” the hair, but could it also be to create some sort of protective barrier for the skin? Just a thot…

In the Master’s column on the Aquatic Ape theory he claims that: