Tilly’s Terror 29th October 2013

Tilly, Ruby and baby Dennis live together in a pen built, not by coincidence, right near the house. This makes it easier to get them in for cuddles, games or to watch TV most evenings with John. They like to watch anything with animals, and as John got sent a DVD all about monkeys, he put it on for them. As usual they were fascinated and were searching behind the set to find the monkeys, however at the end of the film a large male baboon suddenly appeared and charged straight at the camera! This sent them all into a panic and John had to turn it off quickly. Ruby and Dennis soon forgot all about it and continued to play happily, but Tilly was really spooked and would not settle again. Much to our surprise, a week later she is still wary of even going in the room so it must have been like a horror film to her, and she very cautiously checks all the places it might be hiding before she will come in.

One of the monkeys all time favourite toys is cardboard boxes, they are hard to get hold of here, as they are sold for recycling and so get collected avidly from all the shops for the few rupees they raise. If I can get them big enough, I seal them up with just a monkey size opening and they play endless games of hide and seek and leap out at each other, before dashing round and round it, playing catch. They are often too small for this, so I put one inside another and tie them up tight, with a small treat hidden in newspaper, in the centre one. This keeps them busy shredding the layers to get inside. When it rains they of course disintegrate very quickly, which is just what happened with the last lot I did, when out of a clear blue sky came black clouds and torrential rain, all in just minutes. The monkeys all took to shelter and solemnly sat and watched them, as they just dissolved into mush.

Baby Palm Squirrel taking milk from the bottle over the years here, I have reared several of the little palm squirrels which are very common here. They are usually bought in to the rescue centre when the nest has been destroyed by a predator or a builder and they are still too young to flee. The latest was found lying in the road and may have been dropped by a bird of prey, his eyes had still not even opened. The time and effort needed to rear one of these tiny creatures on a bottle is out of all proportion to its size, but luckily his eyes opened after only 3 days. This meant Flash, as I call him, was soon able to begin the slow process of weaning onto solid food from the bottle. We have always had at least 2 babies together and they then learn to depend on, and follow there siblings. Being on his own, Flash doesn’t seem to have any notion he is a squirrel yet, and wants to spend all his time sitting on me, or flashing round the computer and keyboard, then back to my shoulder. It is going to be difficult on his own, to learn to be a clued up squirrel, the cats have already spotted him through the windows and would love a squirrel they could actually catch. They are far too clever, fast, and nimble for them normally.

Young Chives grooming Nora when he arrived a sad loss this week of one of our first male macaque rescues, when Chives had to be put to sleep. He developed a stomach problem that didn’t respond to any of the treatments our vets tried, and we are now awaiting autopsy results to try and find out more. He was about 9 years old and had lived with Nora since his arrival. Male monkeys are tyrants to the females, taking the best of everything offered and then grudgingly letting the female have some leftovers when they are fully stuffed. Females are pushed into the background if there is anything on offer, be it just visitor attention or new toys. Nora always comes out every day for personnel attention being very fond of John and the other male staff, Chives had become too aggressive to humans for walks. There is no sign that even after all their years together, Nora is missing him in the slightest. In the wild their behaviour is accepted by the females, as they need the protection from other monkeys of an aggressive, protective male. To Nora he was sadly little appreciated, she obviously prefers John.


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