Photo Gallery: Ridiculously Good Photography of LIFE in All Its Glory

By Eliza Strickland | March 26, 2010 8:05 am

Cold Monkeys—Hot Springs!


No one pulls rank better than the Japanese macaques, or “snow monkeys,” which live in the mountainous regions of Japan’s Honshu Island. The region is racked with heavy snowfall every winter and freezing temperatures that can drop below -4 degrees Fahrenheit, so the monkeys have devised a clever way to stay warm.

They have a layer of fat to serve as insulation and a thick coat to help keep warm, but that’s just the start. When the cold gets unbearable, they head to the hot springs peppering the volcanic island, and this is where the monkeys pull rank. An inbuilt caste system from the mother’s side determines who has dibs on the pool. The high-ranking youngsters get to swim, play, and suckle from their moms in the pool, as the lower ranking monkeys look on dejectedly. When the monkeys emerge from the hot springs, the lack of sweat glands on the monkey’s body seals the heat in.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Photo Gallery
  • Dennis

    How someone manages to snap a photo like this blows my mind!
    The depth of field is razor thin, the critter is in motion (most likely quite rapid motion), running straight at the camera and yet the eyes are in perfect, tack-sharp focus!
    I’m a beginner, aspiring wildlife photographer, and for me, achieving this even with a stationary subject can be a challenge.

    edit: this comment refers to the first photo, of the elephant shrew.

  • Tom

    These are simply amazing pictures. What a world to live in!

  • Richard D. Stacy

    “80beats” is an amazingly wonderful website.

  • nick

    WOW that komodo dragon has some truly epic drool going on.

    re: Dennis: my guess would be a high speed camera tripped when the shrew is heading in, then hundreds of frame gathered in the few seconds it takes to pass, ensuring that it will be in focus when passing through the shallow depth of field required to take such high speed shots with no flash. (shallow depth of field = larger aperture = more light let in at once)

    The flamingos sound like they throw a rave to hook up with their mates.

  • Daniel J. Andrews

    The Trials of Life (Sir David Attenborough) has the elephant shrew careening along runways in episode 5, Finding the Way, around minute 12. They too have low angle cameras and excellent footage of the little critter.

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