OCALA, Fla. — A visit to a state park in Florida turned scary for a family from Estero.
Susie Ramsey and her family were visiting Silver Springs State Park on June 29 when they came across a group of wild rhesus monkeys.
For more than 75 years, rhesus macaques have inhabited Silver Springs State Park in Ocala.
That population has grown to roughly 200 monkeys. University of Florida biologists say new sightings of the monkeys have been reported in Lady Lake and The Villages, more than 20 miles south of the park.
Biologists fear as the population grows, they would not be surprised to see males disperse outside of the Ocala area.
Ramsey and her family came across the troop of monkeys at the Sea Hunt exhibit.
In a video posted on YouTube, you can see at first the monkeys were just sitting around. However, just a few minutes later the monkeys became angry. They growled, hissed and started chasing people. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Ramsey’s son thought the entire ordeal was funny, but experts say attacks by monkeys can be serious. The animals have sharp fangs and are extremely strong for their size, meaning they can seriously injure people.
If you spot a monkey in the wild, you should never look directly into their eyes or smile with your teeth showing — the animals consider such actions a sign of aggression. Just back away from them without showing fear and open your palms to indicate to them you are not holding some food.
Ramsey says the monkeys chased after her family even through they did not “look them in the eyes” or do anything aggressive towards the animals. She adds there should be a sign warning people wild monkeys live in the area.