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Monkeys break free at Hogle Zoo

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Mar. 11, 2011 at 5:06 p.m.

11 photos

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SALT LAKE CITY -- If monkeys could fly, then things would have been a lot more interesting at Hogle Zoo Friday.

That's because the zoo's four spider monkeys escaped from their cage.

Zoo staffers were able to get all four of them back in less than 10 minutes, but just how the monkeys escaped remains a mystery.

What are... Spider Monkeys?
Spider monkeys are considered the most accomplished acrobats of the forest. They primarily live among trees and even sleep in the tree tops. They have long limbs and flexible shoulder joints enabling them to move easier from branch to branch. They do not have opposable thumbs giving them a hook-like hand allowing for great speed in swinging through the trees. They also use their tail like a fifth limb. They are considered very intelligent and having an impressive memory. -Hogle Zoo

Merrill Humberg just happened to be walking past the spider monkey exhibit at Hogle Zoo when he noticed a lot of commotion.

"One of the monkeys had shimmied up into the tree above the exhibit," he said.

Above the exhibit means outside the cage.

Then, another monkey started lumbering toward a goose.

"One of the encounters I never thought I would see in my life: a Canadian goose versus a monkey," Humberg said.

All four of the zoo's spider monkeys played follow the leader and escaped.

But it didn't take long for zoo staffers to surround the monkeys. They were able to coax them back in their cage with bananas and fruit.

"Our animals interact on a daily basis with the keepers, and the keepers were able to use some food and just get them to easily come back to them," said Lindsey Sine with Hogle Zoo.

Did you see it?
Were you at the zoo today to see the monkeys escape? Send us pictures and video to

Humberg said it was quite a sight.

"Most of the zoo staff, they're usually behind the scenes," Humberg said. "All of a sudden there's 20 people there trying to round up some monkeys, and they did a good job on that."

Zoo staffers say people visiting were never in any danger, and Humberg says he and his young son actually enjoyed quite a show.

But exactly how did the monkeys escape?

No one knows, and the monkey's aren't saying.

"We'll figure that out as time comes," Sine said.



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Alex Cabrero


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