Do you like monkeys?
Let me rephrase that.
I mean do you like to watch their antics at a zoo or on a National Geographic Special?
I do too!
I think they are cute….but from a distance.
Did you know there are monkeys in Florida?
Yep! But, they are not native like the black bear, the panther and the alligator.
They were introduced much like the pythons and other wild life that people purchase and tire of and then release in the Everglades, etc.
How about grabbing a cup of coffee (or tea) and reading a story about monkeys and Florida?
You know how I love to tell a story. 🙂
You see, many years ago (here in Florida), a guy (nicknamed Colonel Tooey) had a tourist attraction, a jungle like cruise….and while it was somewhat profitable, he had an idea to improve his profits.
What if during his boat excursion ride into the depths of Florida’s rivers and jungle-like vegetation…what if during this jungle boat cruise… the boat full of tourists encountered an island full of monkeys?
What a brilliant idea and a definite money-maker…he thought.
So the man ordered hundreds of monkeys from zoos and who knows where exactly and he had them placed on a small island in the middle of a river.
The Peace River to be exact.
What he didn’t know, however… were two very IMPORTANT facts.
Monkeys multiply like rabbits AND monkeys can swim.
Need I say more?
Consequently, Florida has monkeys!
But Flashback to my story from many years ago.
Soon, as happens over time, tourists got tired of the same old roadside attractions such as “See Alligator Wrestling Here!” or “See the Wonders of Florida Wildlife!” or “Hold A Real Alligator!” (read a 5-6 inch baby alligator with it’s mouth taped shut) or “Authentic souvenir gator skulls for sale!” (read usually made of resin) !! LOL
Alas, The Jungle Cruise ride was no exception and soon the tourists tired of the small boat cruises to see the monkeys…. because there was a new game in town built just across the state of Florida!
So the west coast jungle cruises slowly dwindled from a flourishing business; while the “monkey business” continued to flourish. (if you get my drift)
I think the monkeys enjoyed the boatloads of people with their Brownie and Polaroid cameras pointed at them as the cruise boats motored slowly around the island.
But then one day, the boats were gone.
The monkeys said “where are the people taking pictures of me as I pick at my butt or eat the lice on the head of my monkey buddy?”…
And, “Where is the laughter and the admiration of all of our monkey antics?”
Then the monkeys said: “Let’s get off this island and find some action in the nearby cities and homes.”
Okay, perhaps the monkeys did not say all that, and since I was not there to personally hear their monkey talk, one can only assume.
Whatever the thoughts and discussions were ..now, there was no one to oversee the monkeys, so many of them left the “Monkey Island”
At this point, wild life management realized they had a problem, a big monkey problem.
Well, little monkeys as they were certainly not gorillas…I shudder to think of “bigger” primates scampering around Florida.
And through the efforts of wild life management, many of the monkeys were captured and returned to….. somewhere.
However they were not all captured and every now and then, (to this day)…there will be a news report of a stray monkey or two wandering the streets of Tampa or Sarasota or even Jacksonville and then there is a scramble to find the monkeys.
No one knows exactly how many monkeys are running around in the trees of Florida. (see report here)
“Various colonies of rhesus and other monkey species, such as common squirrel monkeys and vervet monkeys, have been found in Florida. … A 2020 estimate put the number at 550–600 rhesus macaques living in the state; officials have caught more than 1000 of the monkeys in the past decade.”
Now before we go any further, and I raise the ire of monkey lovers in the world…let’s talk about herpes.
Yes, many of these monkeys have herpes.
“Silver Springs State Park has been home to a large troop of invasive, STD-carrying monkeys for almost a century, but now sightings are becoming more frequent in Florida cities hundreds of miles from the park.
“According to a new report from First Coast News, the population of rhesus macaques has expanded considerably over the years, and the monkeys are now being spotted in northeast cities like St. Johns, St. Augustine, Palatka, Welaka and Elkton, and as far south as Apopka and Tampa.”
The monkeys were originally part of a failed tourist attraction called Colonel Tooey’s Jungle Cruise in the 1930s.”
Like I said in the beginning of this post….do you like monkeys?
Well, I do like monkeys.
Not the real ones but the ceramic ones like I have had stuffed in the back of a closet.
Yes, I have been cleaning and re-organizing and have come across a pair of white ceramic monkeys that I found on Ebay or Etsy or who knows where I found them. LOL
(I blame chemo for everything such as hearing, seeing, talking, walking and memory recall.)
Back to the white ceramic monkeys.
I believe they call them The ‘Elvis monkeys’.
Anyway, I decided to use them in a table setting when I remembered a fellow blogger showing pictures of Elvis Presley’s Graceland and the special jungle room Elvis had set up.
If I remember correctly, Elvis Presley’s jungle like room had large white ceramic monkeys or at least something similar.
And actually now that I have been looking at these white ceramic monkeys for several weeks now…they look a bit weird to me.
I mean, the nails on each monkey appear to be painted grey as well as the area surrounding their mouth and eyes.
I may have to grab some paint and do some alterations…I have been known to do that a time or two. LOL
Let’s just say a can of spray paint will never sit idly on a shelf at my house.
So without further ado….here is an evening tablescape I set up a few weeks ago using my white ceramic monkeys.
I sat it up on my Lanai because I thought the waterfall gave a kind of jungle-like vibe.
Using bamboo flatware added to the jungle feel as well as a faux fern…(yes, I have faux plants while living in vegetation infested Florida) they are easier to control, certainly better than the monkey controls spoken about earlier in this post.
The driftwood chargers and simple white plates are set up on a Tommy Bahama palm-frond tablecloth that I ordered on line many years ago.
The emerald green glasses are a Dollar store find, also many years ago when items were still a dollar, remember those days gone by?
Times are changing, but that was just a few months ago.
The turquoise salt & pepper shakers were picked up at Target when they started having their “exclusive Garden decor” also many years ago.
I’ve had the ivy napkin ring holders a very long time and have used them many times over the years. (can’t remember where I got them either, but in this day and age…one can find ANY decor on Amazon.)
Today the ivy napkin rings hold emerald green napkins.
I love using the faux luminary in the barn wood-like bamboo lantern…which came from a local boutique garden center and has been gracing the lanai table for years…hence the barn wood-like appearance. Thank you Florida Sunshine! LOL
The flickering light in the table lantern looks almost real at night.
Thank you for stopping by and leave a comment please. I read and try to respond to each comment.
Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”
Fun tablescape and interesting monkey story for my something to learn today. I really like your table lantern.
I had no idea about the Florida Monkeys! Now I do.
I did enjoy your tablescape and your very cute Monkeys.
Happy March to you!
I know Nancy…one never knows what kind of critters one will encounter here in Florida! LOL Thanks for stopping by dear friend.
Appropriate table scape to go along with the monkey story. I love the Tommy Bahama tablecloth. Interesting about the monkey’s. We have a trip planned later this year that will include Homosassa Springs, Silver Springs and Crystal River. I will keep an eye out for the monkey’s while we are there. 🙂
Bonnie Morgan says
Wow, I did not know anything about monkeys in Florida. Interesting.
Love your tablecloth.
thanks for stopping by Bonnie…I love that tablecloth too and so glad when I found it in. my stash. Yep! we certainly have monkeys here in Florida. hugs my friend
Sandra Marshall says
Oh Kari, I remember that tour around the monkey island. Such memories! Cute table scape, Kari.
Hugs and love,
Thanks Sandy….so glad those monkeys are not this far south. LOL
thanks for stopping by Sheri, I appreciate your comment. Have a great day.
the Painted Apron says
Monkeys kind of creep me out! Cute tablescape though!
Jenna, I am not to crazy about them either. thanks for your comments my friend.
Rita C. says
Interesting story, very cute tablescape!
Thanks my friend….I hear we may be playing WV basketball team again. Kansas lost last night to Baylor…we played so well in first half but a different team came out to play second half. LOL What is really extraordinary is the top 6 teams lost yesterday. They said it was a record that all 6 (or was it 8) all lost. This basketball year is really strange.