Sweet-toothed monkeys enjoy ice lollies at Longleat
SWEET-toothed monkeys are famed for their mischievous behaviour but even they could hardly believe their luck when an ice cream van entered their drive-through enclosure at the Longleat Safari Park
Keepers had enlisted the help of local ice-cream seller Colin Robb to provide some cooling treats for their troop of rhesus monkeys.
Despite the obvious attractions of flakes and ice cream cones however, the monkeys were restricted to a choice of special fruit-based ice lollies.
Ian Turner from the safari park said: "Colin's ice-cream van is a familiar sight as he lives on the Longleat estate, so we thought it would be a nice idea to ask him to come along and provide the monkeys with a cooling treat.
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"Obviously it was just a one-off and we did it under closely controlled conditions but it certainly seemed to go down well."
Despite dealing with hungry children on a daily basis, Colin admitted he was surprised by the welcome he received from the primates.
He said: "I am used to dealing with cheeky monkeys, but these guys are in a totally different league. Almost the moment I got in to their drive-through enclosure they were leaping on the van and doing their best to remove the giant plastic ice cream cones from the front of the vehicle.
"While my attention was on a group trying to open the window, others were trying to peel the stickers off the side of the van."
Found throughout south east Asia and across the Indian subcontinent rhesus monkeys thrive in a wide variety of habitats and climates.
In some parts of India they are believed to be sacred with the result that they have lived in close contact with humans for countless centuries - particularly in and around Buddhist and Hindu temples.