A third question we get a lot is “Have you seen the monkeys?” and yes, we see them about 60% of the time when kayaking the Silver River.
A troop of Rhesus macaques was released onto an island in 1938 at the Silver Springs attraction. NOT for a Tarzan movie, but to enhance the boat tours. The attraction operator soon learned that monkeys can swim and they gradually established several troupes along the Silver River and at least two troupes on the Ocklawaha River. If you see them, take your pics from a distance and don’t try to feed them. The males can be aggressively protective and will bite.
According to a biologist we spoke with on the river recently, there are currently 3 troops of monkeys firmly established along the river. (We’ve also seen two troops on the nearby Ocklawaha River, one south and one north of the Silver River confluence.)
While fascinating to watch, please do not attempt to feed the monkeys. It’s not good for them and could be dangerous for you. Monkeys WILL bite. Also, it can set off fights among the monkeys, who eat according on their status within the troop. If a lower level monkey eats before the alpha monkeys, they can be attacked. So watch from a few dozen feet away and don’t try to stare down the alpha males and females who will interpret this as a sign of aggression.