It's hard to keep a hat on your head when you're upside down...unless you're hanging by your tail and still have four free limbs.
Cleaning the cage is a daily routine, and Chiquito loves to help. Given the choice, he'd much rather be IN the cage than locked OUT in the double-door area used to prevent escapes. (As long as Paul is in the cage, too...)
This morning's purchase for Chiquito.
Costa Rica has hundreds of varieties of tropical fruits (most of which are never exported) and since spider monkeys are frugivores, I buy whatever comes in season for Chiquito. (It's still hard for me to think of things as seasonal in the tropics, but many of them are.)
The price is right, too! Bananas cost 5 cents each, the papaya and mango pictured were 35 cents and 50 cents each. The granadilla were "expensive" at 40 cents each, as were the cas at 25 cents each.
Pictured clockwise starting with the papaya are: papaya, mango, guayaba or cas, jocote or Jamaica plum, granadilla, and manzana de agua or water apple (in the middle).
"In a hyperdiverse western Amazonian forest in Ecuador, just south of the Equator, Ateles belzebuth belzebuth eat fruits from more than 250 plant species (Dew, 2005; Suarez, 2006; and unpublished data). In less diverse, subtropical sites, such as Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica, Ateles geoffroyi eat a much smaller number of different fruit species, or about 30 to 40 (Cant, 1977; Chapman, 1987)." Spider Monkeys, Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of the Genus Ateles; Edited by Christina J. Campbell
Chiquito moons Juan.
Chiquito turned two this week, and his behavior has indeed become terrible. He mooned two construction workers yesterday, and then "discovered himself" by both hand and mouth (he can reach). But when he saw me watching he retracted his penis into its sheath.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so I set him up again today with a third worker - and he obliged.
My son came home from preschool two decades ago exhibiting the same behavior. Verbal correction wasn't effective, so I mooned him back and nipped things in the bud (so to speak).
Chiquito doesn't moon me, and maybe it's just normal immature male behavior?
I also find myself reluctant to moon a monkey...
We've had Lolita for two months and see a noticeable difference in her size, weight and fur. Unfortunately, she still wants milk every three hours during the night, so Paul and I take turns getting up. And fortunately, she immediately goes back to sleep.
Chiquito got a visit today from our neighbor Dave, who slept in Chiquito's cage with him the night he arrived here. Chiquito made several strong bromances in the first week or two and has remained very loyal in spite of seeing the men infrequently.
"Given that there is no strong selective pressure for female spider monkeys to remain in their natal group...selection for males to disperse from the natal group due to inbreeding avoidance is relaxed (Wrangham, 1980; van Hooff and van Schaik, 1994). As a consequence, males can be the philopatric sex and develop strong relationships with one another capitalizing on the degree of familiarity and possibly kinship (Di Fiore and Campbell, 2007; Shimooka, 2005).
Further evidence suggests that adult males have the strongest bonds aside from the mother-offspring bond in spider monkey communities (Fedigan and Baxter, 1984; van Roosmalen and Klein, 1988; Symington, 1990). Ateles geoffroyi males are more likely to be encountered in the company of other males than females are in the company of other females. The males are also more affiliative than adult females, selectively directing their affiliative efforts toward other males, and grooming is the most frequent in male-male dyads (Ahumada, 1992)." Spider Monkeys; Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of the Genus Ateles. Edited by Christina J. Campbell, 2008
Purple pin = San Ramon, Green pin = Siquirres
Chiquito's first surrogate mother came to visit today. She took the bus from Siquirres to Palmares, where her aunt lives - a trip that takes almost four hours without any stops. Coincidentally, though, Palmares is just about ten minutes from San Ramon on the Pan American Highway!
It was wonderful to meet Maria. And using Alexa as a translator, I was able to fill in some missing pieces of the puzzle.
Both Chiquito and Lolita were orphaned when their mothers were killed for food. Theoretically meat is meat, but the ultimate ecological price is higher when a species is wild, endangered and reproduces very slowly.
We haven't had any precipitation since we got the monkeys, and I thought Lolita smelled a bit too horsey the past few days. She didn't seem to mind the warm "rain" shower, and while she appears to be saying "BLECH" in the last photo, I think she was just licking the fur I didn't towel-dry.
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.