The wild langur troop still spends a lot of time around the house and garden because they continue to be fascinated by our adult langurs Pixie and Elfin. They were moved to a bigger pen some months back and are now easily seen from the surrounding forest. Because the troop spends so much time here, the youngsters have decided to occupy themselves by trashing the garden. Every day we have been removing smashed down shrubs and young trees. Ever optimistic, and with the monsoon rains due soon, we bought replacements and did a big re-plant of the now barren stretches of garden. Unfortunately they loved this new look and immediately went to work on destroying it, chasing them off is pointless, as you run at one group waving and shouting, a second lot will be behind you grabbing plants out of the ground. Finally, we came up with the idea of toy plastic snakes. All monkeys are of course wary if they see a snake so by placing them around and under strategic plants, we hope they will move on to new games, not in our garden.
There has been several real snakes spotted in the garden recently, one under the roof tiles when they were being replaced and another in an empty flower pot I picked up. John went out to Puck and Phooka, our langur youngsters to give them their evening milk and on the way thought he’d been done on the ankle by an insect. On the way back to the house, on the same steps, he saw a krait take off from his path! Kraits only come out at night and are highly venomous, but the bite is virtually initially painless, which is one reason so many people die from these bites. A check showed the tell tale double red holes of a snake bite and as this is the second time he has been bitten by a krait at night no time was wasted getting to hospital and organising for the anti-venom. Only a few really big hospitals keep it in the stock. Luckily, it was a minor dose of venom so in a few hours he was allowed home, with little ill effect.
The local electricity company has been clearing the lines around us of over growing trees, so lots of big branches were able to be collected for the monkey pens. They all love the fresh foliage to play in and don’t stop chasing through it until every leaf is gone. Lots of mess to clear up in the pens, but worth the fun and exercise they provide. There is also lots of fun for the monkeys too from the availability of cheap water melons. They are readily available and in season now and the miss – shaped or small ones can be scrounged for a few rupees from the market stall holders. The monkeys really like the seeds best but as these are very slippery and hard to pick up, it keeps them busy for hours.