Both monkeys occasionally "prune" and eat the Thunbergia vines trellised around the cage.
"Leaves and flowers make up a relatively small portion (10% to 20%) of the overall diet of well-studied spider monkey popula-tions." [Spider Monkeys; Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of the Genus Ateles. Edited by Christina J. Campbell]
Although our monkeys pick and eat leaves when they're loose, I was shocked by how eagerly Chiquito gobbled up an aging head of red-leaf lettuce I planned to compost. We'll offer leaf lettuce to both Chiquito and Lolita on a daily basis from now on.
I just wish that I could muster up the same enthusiasm for salad greens without dressing. I'd be noticeably thinner if I only ate what the monkeys eat.
Chiquito devours plain lettuce like I would a piece of corn-on-the-cob slathered with butter and salt.
Construction in progress for a new cage!
The new cage will be on top of Paul's bodega (storage shed) which is perfect because 1) spider monkeys love height, and 2) people can't walk up to it without permission.
There are stairs inside the gate, and there will be double entry doors on the back side. There will also be a door between the two sides of the cage that can be opened from the outside. This will permit someone to 1) move monkeys between the two sides of the cage, and 2) enter one side of the cage at a time for cleaning.
Stay turned for pictures of the finished cage next week!
Jane Goodall has always been my hero, and working with primates an aspiration. Africa wasn't in the cards the summer I turned 16, when my parents offered to send me to volunteer, and there was only one class (in physical anthro-pology) when I wanted to study primatology in college.