Is like a circus with no clowns. And every day has been like a circus since we moved into our little jungle house. Chico has turned this little area into a wonderland of delights for birds and animals alike as they pass through on their daily journeys. We have even been fortunate enough to see some fairly rare birds for this section of our area. More on those later. Let me introduce you to my “kids”, the wonderfully entertaining, highly excitable and completely amazing Squirrel Monkeys, or “Titis” as they are nicknamed around here, short for Mono Titi. The scientific name for these little balls of furry delight are Saimiri. We have an abundance of them here, the orange and white variety with what I like to call a majestic Lion’s tail. I know them so well now that I can hear their chirps as they approach, making their way through the jungle trees on their way either to, or from, the beach. Each experience is new, although I have come to know some familiar faces. They tend to repeat trails and patterns, and you remember the phrase “Monkey see, monkey do?” Well, it wasn’t stated for no reason. Much like ants, only more spastic, they tend to follow the same trail foraged by the leader, who often appears earlier than the rest of the “tribe” to scope things out, get the best pick of what is available to eat and then allow the others to proceed. By the way, before we go any further, I have to say that there is a rule here which says not to feed the monkeys. There are many practical reasons why it is not a good idea. For starters, they never forget a kindness. And they show up the next day-and the next-and the next, chirping wildly and begging for the scrumptious goodies most people like to offer. It is an incorrect assumption that monkeys only eat bananas and, in fact, feeding them a steady diet of them discourages them from seeking the balanced diet they need for health and longevity, not unlike their human friends. It’s the equivalent of giving Ding Dongs to a six year old. Given a choice, they will likely go for the Ding Dong before the worm or the palm fruit-the monkey, I mean. π
An occasional treat is given by many and the hotels will treat them once in awhile to keep them in the area for the guests. We are very fortunate where I live because there is much for them to find to eat, from the nectar of giant white blossoms that dangle from the trees to palm fruits, termites, water from banana leaves and even a worm or two!
I wanted to share some of my favorite shots with you today. I hope you can get half as much entertainment from them as I did doing the photography.
Also included are my favorite photos of the Capuchin, or White Faced monkeys and my very favorite group, the Congos, or Howlers. The last group is more elusive, very communal and very stealthy. I love to watch their slow, steady progress through the trees but appreciate the nature of their sense of community. Beautiful creatures, all of them.
Each day when they pass through, they scope out the banana trees for ripe fruit, and I have seen a Capuchin devour a half dozen new blooms in one sitting.
This video shows how they react when they think food is near. I call this my Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree.
This little guy was one of a group of newbies that was barely able to scale the tree to pass through, but like the troopers they are, all were successful!
Sometimes they are just looking for a place to “hang” while they cool off.
They jump and rattle the palms for awhile.
Their light weight allows them to sit almost anywhere. It’s quite comical when they misjudge the strength of a banana leaf and it can be heard crunching beneath the titi’s weight as he goes flying on to the next available leaf.
This is what happens when no bananas are to be had. He was going to wait me out. And I’m sure the table was cool….
In his state of repose he appears to be in meditation. I call this one “praying for bananas”
They love to parade across the porch, pausing to rest on the rails, the drainpipes, the clothesline. They are like family.
Hey, it’s Mickey, Pete, Davey and Mike! Hey, hey!
They are very affectionate
Hey, guys, maybe you should get a room. π
And the glorious prize…the bananas they steal from the plate Chico sets out for the birds.
Whether eating palm fruits or white worms…
They do it with gusto and expertise.
They even love to join in the Christmas decorating!
A little “cuddle” time.
The flying Wallendas got nothing on this bunch!
You can see the trials of their lives often written upon their faces and bodies, wounds from internal conflicts or injury from modern technology. This guy has a disfigured spot on his upper mouth. There is an older one that has visibly been injured in the eye. I once saw a titi at a hotel with a nub for one arm. The young man working there said he likely lost it when he hit a live electrical wire. There is a concerted effort here to string lines of blue rope which the wildlife use instead of the high wires.
And so it goes…now meet a lovely bunch, but not as friendly. Cute to look at, like little old men wearing yamakas, they appear and sound cute and cuddly. A closer look at one baring its teeth should alert you to the fact they are pretty much a “look but don’t touch” crowd. Beautiful and communal as well, they are well organized in their search for food.
Meet the Capuchin, a lovely fellow but likes to keep his distance. I always oblige.
They cut quite a striking figure against the green background of the roof. This one was searching for food.
In this instance, a snack was found in the form of a termite nest. His friend had to sit and wait patiently for his turn, hoping there would be something left.
yummy. Hey…my turn. Hey!
This guy decided a grasshopper would be a nice snack!
They all love the palm fruits, even the birds.
Sometimes the prize is a bit more elusive as this fellow discovered as he tried to crack open the treasure he pulled from the tree. It was amazing to watch him bang it against the rooftop to get to the goodness inside.
Yeah, enjoy my friend. I’m going to check out the Howler’s now.
I was fortunate to have several encounters with the Howlers since we have been here but they tend to remain high in the trees. This day brought a few out in the open so I could get some better shots.
Check out those tails!
Like giant jungle ornaments.
This one made me think of that child’s game we had, Barrel of Monkeys. yeah, I played just last week. hehe
This was my willing subject
This look and behavior reminded me of a teenager just needing to get away from the family, man..
Ok, but don’t ask me to smile or anything.
And don’t annoy me or I WILL TELL YOU OFF! Yep, they aren’t called Howlers for nothin’.
Well, that’s all the monkey business I can offer up today. I could include a lot of scientific information but that’s not my thing. I’m more aesthetic than that. I know they are amazing and I never tire of having them visit me here on my porch. Just another Costa Rica miracle.
Peaceable Kingdom at work.