Dennis, The Baby Bonnet Macaque 19th April 2013

Dennis our ‘baby’ monkey is now a year old and gets naughtier every day! His favourite game is ‘catch’, he is usually let to run loose when out for a walk with Ruby and Tilly, his foster mums, but when they go back to their pen he’s not so keen. He used to be quite easy to catch and a grab of the tail as he dashed past was the easiest method. He soon learned however the exact distance he was safe, and tormented us by keeping half an inch from grabbing distance. He won’t of course run away when out loose as this is where he lives, but he does snatch anything he knows he shouldn’t have, mobile phones, tooth paste tubes, wallets are his favourites to chew up. He was foiled in his destructive behaviour briefly by an elastic collar, with a short dangling cord attached, slightly longer than his tail and he seemed stunned for a while that he had been outwitted. Yesterday however he clued up, and although he sat still to have his little collar on, he then dashed off to a safe distance and using both hands, slipped it off over his head, laughing all the while!

He is one of the smartest, boldest babies we have had and is going to be a real handful when he is an adult. On his own insistence he has just recently decided he no longer wants to be such a baby, and simply refused to leave the pen at night to come in, when his nappy was put on and he slept in his favourite fluffy blanket. This was a great relief as he could be a real pain at night when not actually sleeping, as unlike the baby Languars he was always looking for something naughty to do while I unknowingly dozed on. This could be opening the fridge and destroying the contents, opening and emptying the drawers, or removing the light bulbs, so as you can imagine I am not disappointed that he’s at last getting more independent.

Sasha by the pool some strange and unexpected behaviour from Sasha, one of our female macaques. A few days ago someone drove up past our gates on a scooter, and just by luck was seen to slow briefly and then tip a kitten out onto the road and promptly drive off. We have a large cage at the gate where people leave unwanted pets, provided just to stop this random dumping, prevalent before. Because he had been seen, we were able to pursue and catch the kitten which had run off into the Jungle. This kitten, being about 12 weeks old we vaccinated and kept at the tree house, to try and find him a home. At the IAR centre it’s the smaller, cuter kittens that are more easily homed. The next day when John had Sasha out for her walk and swim in the pool, 

The unlucky kitten the kitten was there, walking around the perimeter. Monkeys and cats are often best friends and most of our monkeys love to sit and groom a cat, and the cats love it too. Often pet monkeys who live chained up will pal up with the family cat as they are so desperate for companionship. Sasha however had a different agenda. Much to John’s surprise she swam across the pool, grabbed the unwary kitten in both hands, then with it’s tail in her teeth dived straight to the bottom of the pool and held it down on the bottom. There seemed no doubt that she was trying to drown it! John of course quickly retrieved it from her, although shaken and gasping the kitten suffered no long term damage. Sasha has had close contact with most of our cats in the past with no sign of aggression, so the reason for this wilful attack is a mystery.

The wild ginger tom I have been trying to catch for 2 months must be born lucky. Finally one evening I got him in the trap, which I put in my car to go to the vet in the morning, no one was going to let this one out! John however felt sorry for him as he was crying so much that he transferred him to a larger cage for the night. In the morning I told all the staff, not to try and clean or feed him as he was wild and would be going to the IAR centre for neutering. I went down after breakfast to collect him and the cage had been cleaned out, food and water put in but no cat, as of course the minute they tried to give him a fresh tray and paper, he had gone. I despair!


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