Backpacking Bonus 10: Monkey Business

Just like the elephants, monkeys seem to be everywhere throughout Asia and I have seem them in the wild in pretty much in every country I have visited up to this point (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Indonesia). Monkeys are also regarded as sacred, just as the elephants are, so it is appropriate that they get a chapter of their own. However, this is not as in depth as the elephant chapter was and it is mostly photos and videos. I did not research the monkey world so extensively, but sharing a little glimpse of their behavior I think will be enjoyable for everyone.

PRIMATES at PLAY

While I have seen monkeys all over the place, there have been a few places in particular where I have had more interaction with the monkeys so I am highlighting the top three spots. To sum up monkey behavior from what I have observed, they pretty much just spend their days eating, sleeping, playing, reproducing, and grooming each other.

Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Monkey troops were running around the temple grounds and surrounding forests the entire time. They were absolutely fearless when it came to humans and approached them to grab bags and steal food whenever they anyone got too close; the monkeys were acting as if the visitors’ food and drinks belonged to them. They made the temple ruins their home and playground, climbing up the walls, bouncing across the rooftops, and banging on whatever loud construction materials they could find on the buildings.

Video – Meandering Monkey in Angkor Wat in Cambodia [15 seconds]: http://youtu.be/wrsMvaVDzow

Monkeys were both on the ground and in the sky at the temples of Angkor Wat!

Monkeys were both on the ground and in the sky at the temples of Angkor Wat!

This monkey was quite happy with the jungle gym made out of reconstruction materials at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

This monkey was quite happy with the jungle gym made out of reconstruction materials at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Mt. Batur in Bali (Indonesia)

Near the top of Mt. Batur, the volcano I climbed for the sunrise hike in Bali, the wild monkeys also demonstrated casual comfort with humans. Some visitors were trying to feed the monkeys, which the monkeys were pretty excited about, but other than that, no had no interest in humans and went about their own business as usual, not caring one way ot the other about the large audience they had.

Video – Wild Young Monkeys on Mt. Batur in Bali [49 seconds]: http://youtu.be/1ob9Y7Pdtnk

Monkey grooming is some serious business! They've really got to concentrate...

Monkey grooming is some serious business! They’ve really got to concentrate…

Monkeys on My. Batur in Bali.

Monkeys on My. Batur in Bali.

This poor guy was chased off by two other male monkeys on Mt. Batur.

This poor guy was chased off by two other male monkeys on Mt. Batur.

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Bali (Indonesia)

This was the ultimate “monkey experience” as this is a large protected area where visitors are allowed daily so the monkeys have become accustomed to humans and are not usually bothered by them. While it is advised not to touch the monkeys or try to pet them or pick them up (as they can become aggressive if they feel threatened), if a monkey decides to approach or climb on a person, that is perfectly fine. There were guides inside monitoring the interaction between the monkeys and people in order to ensure that both sides felt safe and were being respected.

For information regarding monkeys and their habits, I took a picture of a sign inside and just copied everything exactly from the sign and wrote it below:

BALINESE LONG TAIL MONKEY

The population of the Balinese long tailed monkey — in English called macaque (Macaca fascicularis) — in Monkey Forest Ubud is about 600 monkeys. They are divided into 5 groups: Temple, Michelin, East, Central, and Cemetery, with different home range group. (In other words, the groups of monkeys each live in and defend a specific territory.) Each group may contain 100-120 monkeys consisting of: infant, juvenile 1, juvenile 2, sub adult male, adult female, and adult male.

Macaca fascicularis is active during daylight and rests during the night. The sexual maturities of males is age 4-5 years and in females about 3-5 years. The beginning of female menstruation is at the age of 2-3 years. The menstruation period is about every 28-31 days and lasts 2-7 days.

Females monkeys are pregnant for nearly 6 months and usually have only one infant, rarely twins. Infants stay with their mothers for about 10 months, receiving breast milk for the first 6 months, then, at 6 months, they start learning to eat other foods as well.

The average weight for females is 2.5 kg to 5.7 kg, and the males are 3.5 kg to 8 kg. Sometimes their weight can reach up to 11 kg. The lifespan of males is up to 15 years; for females, it can be up to 20 years.

The long tailed macaques are omnivores. In the Monkey Forest Ubud, the main food of the monkeys is sweet potato, given 3 times a day, and combined with banana, papaya leaf, corn, cucumber, coconut, and other local fruit. (They also eat the bugs they pick off of their furry friends during the never-ending grooming sessions.)

—–

*Monkeys Eating*

Video – Feeding Monkey on a Bench at Sacred Monkey Forest [14 seconds]: http://youtu.be/BXAqiIvc8Yc

Monkey munching on a sweet potato.

Monkey munching on a sweet potato.

Momma monkey gnawing on a banana while her baby nurses.

Momma monkey gnawing on a banana while her baby nurses.

Got bananas?

Got bananas?

Momma monkey working on a coconut with her baby nearby.

Momma monkey working on a coconut with her baby nearby.

*Monkeys Grooming Each Other*

Video – Monkey Grooming at Sacred Monkey Forest [31 seconds]: http://youtu.be/N-2YGgF8xFw

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*Monkey Babies and Mommas*

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This is clearly a baby boy -- isn't his double-mohawk adorable?

This is clearly a baby boy — isn’t his double-mohawk adorable?

This little one fell asleep nursing! Any mommas out there who can relate?

This little one fell asleep nursing! Any mommas out there who can relate?

Cutie pie! Wish I could take her home...

Cutie pie! Wish I could take her home…

*Monkeys Just Chillin’ Out*

Video – Monkey Troop at Sacred Monkey Forest [1 minute]: http://youtu.be/QB4HSWldRR4

Again, lounging on a temple (top) and snoozing on the forest floor (bottom).

Again, lounging on a temple (top) and snoozing on the forest floor (bottom).

Chillin' like a villain, this monkey had got to be the coolest chick in the forest, hands down.

Chillin’ like a villain, this monkey has got to be the coolest chick in the forest, hands down.

*Monkeys and Humans*

Video – Monkeys Playing Around (and on me!) at Sacred Monkey Forest [1 minute]: http://youtu.be/j8kw_0Ys8yE

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TRAVEL TIP: Monkeys can be quite the little thieves so if you ever find yourself in close quarters with free monkeys, remove and secure anything loose or shiny on your person such as sunglasses, hats, watches, jewelry, etc. Keep your bags and purses closed tightly and don’t tempt the monkeys. If you have food in your bag or in your hand, don’t expect to have it for very long–they will find it and take it from you. And if you try to hang on to your stuff to prevent them from stealing from you, they will bite you. Just let it go. Also, do not look a monkey in the eyes as eye contact is a sign of aggression and the monkey will take it as a threat and go ballistic–maybe on you. You probably don’t want that to happen…

Yours truly,

Alexandra

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Blueberry fung
    Nov 17, 2015 @ 23:20:30

    Best chapter ever!!! Lol what a life, eat sleep play groom…. Haha that’s funny and they are little very concerned about their looks apparently with their sheer focus! Ha. What a maternal creature as well! (Praise the Lord our pregnancy isn’t only 6 months!!) but that they breast feed for 6 months minimum! I wonder how they know time aspect? How do they know 6 months vs. 6 weeks??? That is interesting. Love the pics! Haven’t been able to see the videos yet but I’m sure they are hilarious! And what fun it must have been having they play with, excuse me, ON you! Lol glad you got to have this experience. So cool!! Love you!!!

    Reply

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Common Peace Corps Acronyms

PC = Peace Corps (sounds like "peese kor")
PCT = Peace Corps Trainee
PCV = Peace Corps Volunteer
PST = Pre-Service Training
ET = Early Termination
COS = Close of Service
NGO = Non-Governmental Organization
HH = Healthy Homes, the PC program I am in.
YD = Youth Development, the other program in my training group.

Disclaimer

Anything that is written or views expressed on this blog are mine personally and do not represent the Peace Corps or the United States government.
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