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Monkeys Swarm Florida Man's Property (Video)

| by Michael Allen
Macaque MonkeyMacaque Monkey

Brian Pritchard recently saw his property in Ocala, Florida, invaded by monkeys (video below).

Pritchard told WFTV that about 50 rhesus macaques came from the nearby Silver Springs State Park.

The monkeys are suspected to have trekked about four miles to eat from a deer feeder in Pritchard's backyard.

Pritchard had hoped to get some pictures of deer with his feeder, but was overrun by the sneaky simians who made off with more than 250 pounds of deer food:

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They're vicious. They get extremely nasty. ... Obviously the monkeys have it down pat. They don’t have to wait on it. They climb up the poles, they just sit there and spin it off the plate.

... I was standing there, looking out that window and I caught a glimpse of something. I looked and there were 15 of them that came out, and they were everywhere. But they kept looking like they could see or hear me in that shed.

According to researchers, about 200 non-native macaques reside in the park. Many of the creatures may have the herpes B virus.

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Pritchard and his family are not intimidated, and plan to move into a home that sits on the property.

Pritchard applied some human logic to the primates: "As long as they don’t bother me or my kids, I’m not going to bother them."

According to WFTS, wildlife officials are working on a plan to control the out-of-control monkey population.

The park recently had to close down two sections because the monkeys took over, and frightened Susie Ramsey and her family.

The Ramseys filmed the monkeys hissing and growling at them.

"There's nothing anywhere telling you that you should be aware that they're there," Ramsey told WFTS. "Because they're obviously very aggressive."

Ramsey recalled that the primates chased her family even though they were not aggressive toward them.

Ramsey said there should have been a sign warning people about the monkeys.

Matt Mitchell, Assistant Director with the Florida Park Service, issued a statement to the news station:

The Florida Park Service is committed to ensuring visitor safety, providing high-quality visitor service, and protecting the natural resources located within the park.

Since our parks and trails are natural environments, visitors may encounter wildlife. The Florida Park Service posts signs and flyers to educate visitors about wildlife and remind them to keep a respectful distance from animals, and not to feed them or try to touch or capture them.

Flyers related specifically to the monkeys are posted at kiosks throughout Silver Springs State Park, with specific signage posted at the Ross Island Boardwalk and Sea Hunt Deck. Both of these areas of the park are currently closed due to recent increased monkey presence at these locations.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been notified and is monitoring the situation. We will continue to coordinate with them to ensure that visitors are able to safely enjoy this beautiful park.

Sources: WFTV, WFTS/YouTube, WFTS / Photo credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Wikimedia Commons, Thomas Schoch/Wikimedia Commons, Jakub Hałun/Wikimedia Commons

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