Five monkeys living on Monkey Island in Homosassa have their own storm plan, caretakers say

Posted at 2:20 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 19:10:11-04

With Hurricane Hermine approaching, caretakers aren't monkeying around when it comes to protecting the five primates inhabiting Monkey Island near the Homosassa Riverside Resort.

The island, which sits about 50 yards off shore, is home to five monkeys: Sassy, Ebony, Emily, Eve and Ralph.

In previous storms, the monkeys have stayed on the island.

However, should things get bad, there is a plan.

"If it gets too bad and they get in danger we will tranquilize them, take them off the island and put them somewhere they are safe," said DJ Lawson, property manager at the resort.

According to Lawson, it is unlikely the monkeys will need to be removed during this storm.

"When it is warm out, they like the rain, they go out and play in it. If they get tired they go in their house where they are out of the rain, completely dry and sheltered," Lawson explained.

With high tide expected to hit around 4:15 p.m., the same time dinner is served to the monkeys, caretakers are not worried about the island flooding.

"Their island usually doesn't go under water, if it does, their house is high enough, it has never gotten anywhere close to being to their house," Lawson said.

Their wooden house is also equipped with blankets and a heater.

"We switch them out daily. When they get done with a blanket they will throw it out and it will go on the island. When we go on to the island to feed them we gather them all up and take them and housekeeping cleans them and we give them fresh blankets," he said.

During Wednesday's heavy rains, Lawson told ABC Action News the monkeys decided to play in the rain and roll around on the grass.

And there is no need for sandbags or the fear of unwanted critters, particularly alligators, seeking higher ground with the monkeys.

Lawson says the monkeys are able to spot the alligators, get to higher ground and then throw things at the alligators to scare them off. They also scream at the alligators.


Two sandbag sites opened up around Citrus County and it did not take long for residents to stock up as flooding is expected in the area this afternoon and evening.

Store owner Ashley Porter filled the bed of his pickup truck with sandbags.

"I'm just trying to be prepared," said Porter.

The Citrus County Department of Public Works sandbag filling locations are as follows:

  • 4508 S. Grandmarch Avenue in Homosassa
  • 7490 W. Gulf to Lake Highway in Crystal River

The sites are open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Friday's opening will be dependent on storm updates, according to Citrus County Public Information Officer Cynthia Oswald.

Updates and information will be made on Facebook and Twitter throughout the storm.

The county's Emergency Operations Center also opened their Citizen Information Lines for any resident who has questions regarding the storm.




You can find more on closings and other important county information at