by Frank Lewis
From monkey blogging co-conspirator Tom O'Konowitz of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's PR department:
Who knew monkeys could swim? Allen's swamp monkeys [ed.: sounds like a Zydeco band] are very strong swimmers. At Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the animal keepers encourage the swamp monkeys to practice their natural swimming ability frequently. They'll fill a big tub with water and treats — grapes, nuts or apples — and wait for the swamp monkeys to dive in after the food. Even baby swamp monkeys have taken part in the "diving for grapes" sessions.
Not all primates care to get wet, but the swamp monkeys are specially equipped to do so: they have webbed toes that allow them to more easily paddle through the water. In their native swamp forests of the Congo and Zaire, Allen's swamp monkeys will dive into water to avoid predators.
You can see the swamp monkeys every day at the Zoo's Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building. If you're lucky, you may catch them taking a dip.
Support for the aquatic ape theory? Who cares, they're monkeys that swim! More photos after the jump. — Frank Lewis