Longleat’s troop of rhesus macaque monkeys enjoyed their own version of Christmas dinner after keepers provided them with a selection of typical leftover festive vegetables.

Keepers created their own version of a festive banquet for the monkeys and were delighted at their response. Alongside traditional Brussels sprouts, the mischievous monkeys were able to choose from a range of other yuletide staples including parsnips, carrots and potatoes.

“We weren’t entirely sure how some of the vegetables would go down as Brussels sprouts and parsnips aren’t always that popular among humans at Christmas time,” said keeper Ian Turner.

“However we needn’t have worried as the monkeys couldn’t get enough of them and the babies in particular seem to enjoy munching on the sprouts,” he added.

Found throughout south east Asia and across the Indian subcontinent, rhesus monkeys thrive in a wide variety of habitats and climates.

In some parts of India they are believed to be sacred, with the result that they have lived in close contact with humans for countless centuries - particularly in and around Buddhist and Hindu temples.

Rhesus monkeys are extremely intelligent, naturally inquisitive animals which can learn to manipulate simple tools and distinguish colours and shapes.

Highly sociable, they live in family troops of 20 or more led by a dominant male. Food is gathered as a group - one monkey acting as ‘look-out’ for danger, while the others fill their cheek pouches with as much food as they can