The Rhesus Monkeys who call the Silver River home are at it again! Two years ago it was Tampa, now one has been spotted making his way around Flagler county. Ever since these monkeys were first brought into the Silver Springs Theme Park, they have done what monkeys do…exactly what they want.
Colonel Tooey first introduced these monkeys to Silver Springs in the 1930’s. He brought them in and had them placed on a small island on the River. The assumption was that they would stay there, and could be viewed by visitors to the Park who took his Jungle Cruise Boat Ride.
Well, you live and you learn. Colonel Tooey learned that monkeys can swim. They now roam the Silver River, and I have personally spotted them on both ends of the Oklawaha River (72 miles long), and everywhere in between. Obviously several are touring Florida. The Rhesus Monkey in Tampa received so much attention that it ended up with it’s own Facebook page.
These monkeys live in troops usually numbering from 20 to 30 per troop. I have spotted over 4 different troops on one Silver River Tour. That totals over 100 monkeys in one day.
The Rhesus Monkey have been used as test animals for years and are useful in finding cures for many diseases.
Although not native, the monkeys are a big attraction on the Rivers. Should you encounter these monkeys while boating or kayaking the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers, or in your backyard, do not feed them. You will regret it as they will attempt to get more food from you. They are disease carriers, good enough reason not to get too close.
Elsewhere on the Ocklawaha River, the Rodman Reservoir draw down has begun. They do this occasionally to kill off undesirable vegetation. The direct effect of this draw down is that the waters of the Ocklawaha River will be clear from the confluence where the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers meet, all the way to the end of the Ocklawaha River where it dumps into Little Lake George. The water depth of the Ocklawaha River is very low as a result of the draw down. Use extreme caution while navigating the River during this period.
Huge schools of bait fish, including Mullet and Blue Shad, have recently been spotted heading up the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers.
On a recent trip we spotted a Florida Bobcat! This is the 2nd time I have spotted a Bobcat on the Ocklawaha River in 3 months. It could have possibly been the same one. Either way, it is a rare sighting.
Until next time…see you on the Rivers!