Predators and Play 30th October 2015

Those who have been able to visit the Tree House will have seen the nectar feeders we put out for the tiny Sunbirds, they are India’s equivalent to humming birds. Much exited chirping and alarm calls from them alerted me to their reason for distress. Lured by the sight of so many little snacks seemingly within reach, this rat snake had decided to try and cash in on the bounty, by dangling on the feeder, hopefully disguised as just a rope hanger. The birds were not fooled and far too bright to feed while it was there, the noisy alert calls warning off any incoming ones too, so It soon gave up and moved on.

The other predator, rarely seen, was a very large monitor lizard. These grow to approx 6 to 7 feet long and this one must have been that size. The monkeys were all making there alarm calls for all they were worth, the dogs in frenzy, Little Bunty chased it up a tree! The staff had heard what appeared to be a big cat fight in the thick forest undergrowth just prior to its appearance, and one of our cats, Coaster, has not been seen since its visit. In rural areas they are known to take and eat both puppies and cats, so we fear the worst. Coaster was our biggest cat, and a healthy one year old, but with a ridiculously trusting and bold nature, approaching all the monkeys and both strange dogs and people with an unshakeable confidence.

We still hope he will somehow turn up safe and sound, but as the days pass this seems more and more unlikely , and a sad and horrible fate for poor Coaster.

On a more cheerful note, the reintroduction of cardboard boxes to the monkeys toy repertoire at the end of the rains, supplied by AJs , our local supermarket., has meant lots of extra fun and enjoyment for them. With the bigger monkeys this usually means a “pass the parcel” type toy, with a small treat in the centre box, with the aid of sellotape and ties, getting into this final box can be a long job and often one monkey will give up, and another will take over the quest, but If the dominate monkey spots that the prize is within reach, often it will just be snatched back at the critical point.

With the smaller ones, and the babies, boxes they can get inside and play house and hide and seek are the favourite, but despite all my efforts to strengthen them with sellotape and hardboard, within a day or two at most, they are always reduced to a flat pack of cardboard pieces.

Raj continues in his improvement and mental abilities, we have found peanut butter to be a great motivator with him, so put a small smear just out of reach, or in a toy, to keep him moving about and stop any pacing, which used to be his only activity. When out for a walk he managed to get hold of the almost empty and discarded jar, and was thrilled at his find, jealously guarding it till the last smear was cleaned up!


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