SILVER SPRINGS, Fla. - An encounter with a troop of monkeys turned scary for a Florida family visiting a state park in Marion County.
Susie Ramsey, of Estero, which is located between Fort Myers and Naples, said she and her two children visited Silver Springs State Park last week when they spotted the monkeys.
Ramsey said the monkeys started moving closer to them and charged at them.
"You guys, the monkeys are attacking. Oh, my God. Guys, the monkeys are attacking us. Oh, my God," her son could be heard saying on cellphone video.
"(They were), like, charging us. They came in within a few feet and they kind of had us all blocked in," said Ramsey, who added that the monkeys were making noises as they ran toward them.
Ramsey said that her son could be heard laughing in the video, but she claims he wasn't aware of the potential danger the animals present.
"We definitely went from saying, 'Wow, look at the monkeys,' to, 'Oh, my God, our lives are in danger," Ramsey said.
Ramsey said she did not see any signs in the area warning them of the monkeys.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection told News 6 in a statement warning signs are placed throughout the park.
"Flyers related specifically to the monkeys are posted at kiosks throughout Silver Springs State Park, with specific signage posted at the Ross Island Boardwalk and Sea Hunt Deck. Both of these areas of the park are currently closed due to recent increased monkey presence at these locations," said Matt Mitchell, assistant director, Florida State Parks.
[WATCH FULL YOUTUBE VIDEO OF MONKEY ENCOUNTER BELOW]
Anyone who sees a rhesus macaque monkey is asked to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922. Officials said people should not approach or feed the animals since monkeys can become aggressive without warning.
Anyone bitten or scratched by a monkey should seek medical attention, wildlife officials said.
Rhesus macaque monkeys are not native to Florida. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said the monkeys were brought to Florida in the 1930s and released onto an island as part of a former attraction at the park. The monkeys later swam off the island.
It's believed that the monkey population at the park stands at more than 200.
Recent sightings have been reported in Lady Lake and The Villages, more than 20 miles south of the park.
Watch News 6 for more on this story.
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