Lolita has 15 or 20 minute bursts of energy and playfulness, but she's always gentle and never uses her teeth... She's darling.
Chiquito grunts and sucks noisily on his morning bottle, and while he likes to hold it himself, I think the "mommy time" is important for our bond. Since I wouldn't have the option of holding it if I were in the cage with him (see the Monkey/People Rules on the Home page), I offer him the bottle through the chain link.
"Symington (1987) reported that...infant males were carried longer than infant females; and there was a longer interval between the initiation of nursing and attempts by the mother to reject nursing. Although most offspring are weaned by age two years...a male was observed nursing as late as 31 months. She observed no gender-based difference in post-weaning investment, with juveniles of both sexes traveling and sleeping with their mothers for the first four years..." (Spider Monkeys; Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of the Genus Ateles, ed by Christina J. Campbell, 2008.)
Because spider monkeys are frugivores, a soy infant formula is a more biologically appropriate substitute for mother's milk than one made from cow's milk. This was particularly obvious when we initially switched Lolita from 2% milk to the Isomil soy formula, and watched her poop transform from floating white chunks to tootsie rolls.
Chiquito has gained two pounds since we weighed him for the first time in mid-February, and is now 12 lbs 2 oz.
I got an email today with birthday wishes from my brother Tony (an MIT professor) and his Chinese wife, Anddie:
Anddie and I saw "Chimpanzee" in your honor last night. We really liked it...it was nice to see a movie which (to our unprofessional eye) was authentic, with real animals, real photography, and a real story. Obviously, we are old-fashioned.
(Though the event did not start well. Anddie and I walked up to the ticket booth and Anddie said "Two Chimpanzees for the 4:10 showing."...)
Please support this documentary! A portion of the box office receipts from the first week go to the Jane Goodall Institute.
Honeycomb is stucky stuff. Chiquito loves it, and it keeps him entertained for a while after it's gone.
Excerpted from Scott Oliver's online newsletter:
You are receiving this newsletter because you registered at WeLoveCostaRica.com and requested it.
Tuesday, 17th April 2012.
What do you mean you've never heard a spider monkey giggling?
VIP Member Michele Gawenka's life changed forever when she first saw a photograph of a rescued baby howler monkey in Costa Rica.
The life of her husband Paul has changed dramatically too…
While most gringos dream of a quiet retirement in Costa Rica with long walks on the beach and the occasional cocktail, Michele and Paul have become Monkey Mom & Dad…
While their friends are snoring away in their comfortable beds, Paul and Michele are getting up every few hours to feed their hungry, hairy 'babies' in the rescue center they started with the blessings of many and the permits in hand from the Costa Rican government…
You can see the giggling spider monkey video and read Michele Gawenka's article about: How I Got Monkey Fever in Costa Rica and How Infectious It Could Be For You! At:
I sent them US$100 to help take care of the baby moneys, perhaps you could too? If you truly appreciate what they are doing, please contribute and if you use Facebook, spread the word by clicking if you 'Like' the article.
Hasta luego from your 'amigo' in Costa Rica - Perhaps your new home of stunning scenery, sunshine and smiles.
Scott Oliver - Founder of WeLoveCostaRica.com
Carlos Salas from MINAET writes in my Libro de Bitacora.
Today was Friday the 13th and the third "anniversary" of my fortuitous encounter with David Peiro [see the Friday the 13th of January entry]. So it seemed appropriate that we received an unannounced inspection from MINAET (Ministerio del Ambiente, Energia y Telecomunicaciones) - their first visit since the monkeys arrived. Chiquito was entertaining and a willing photographic subject, and appeared to find Carlos Salas and Jose Montero good company. Chiquito likes men. But he's been indifferent or aggressive toward women for the past month - twice grabbing and yanking long hair that was within his reach - and in fact came to us because he had started biting his first human surrogate mother.
Although the subject of sexual preference with regard to humans is only mentioned briefly in Spider Monkeys; Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of the Genus Ateles ed. by Christina J. Campbell, it supports Chiquito's behavior. "The keeping of monkeys as pets among indigenus peoples is commonly observed. In the Amazonian city of Iquitos in lowland Peru, many locals believe that spider monkeys behave differently toward women than to men (D. Urdaneta, personal communication)."
Chiquito has showed me his teeth three times - once when I wouldn't let him take the empty plastic syringe after giving him medication orally in applesauce, and twice when I wouldn't let him pull the nipple off a baby bottle with his teeth - but fortunately there was chainlink between us each time. I need to reprogram myself to distract him or offer a desirable substitute.
We use it as a term of endearment, but Lolita's head resembles a coconut. It also sounds as hard as one when she bonks it, which happens surprisingly often when she's on the ground (where she obviously doesn't belong).
"The cranial anatomy of Ateles is notable for what it does not display. The narrow facial skeleton is relatively shallow, gracile and unremarkable, in keeping with the general expectations of a highly frugivorous taxon. The braincase is also relatively simple in design, rounded as might be expected in a modestly encephalized form. This simplistic picture is not meant, however, to imply that the Ateles head is also primitive in design. On the contrary - it combines a variety of traits not expected in the ancestral morphotype of atelins or atelines..." (Spider Monkeys; Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of the Genus Ateles, ed Christina J. Campbell, 2008)
Translation? Lolita has a good head on her shoulders. But we already knew that.
Lolita's preferred sleeping spot is my armpit, and I often let her snuggle in bed for an hour at night before transferring her to her cage. She makes contented little chuckling noises under her breath until she falls asleep, and doesn't move unless I do. In the wild, she'd sleep with her mother for several years.
In her playpen (which was manufactured as a rabbit cage), Lolita either sleeps clinging to a large stuffed monkey toy on the bottom of the cage, or swaddles herself in a makeshift tent of her own creation. I always wrap a fleece blanket around the plastic shelf to make it softer, and Lolita discovered she could squeeze between the bottom of the shelf and the blanket to create a little tent.
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.