Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Monkey Mates

My favorite animals to hang out with at the sanctuary were definitely the monkeys. These were adorable tiny marmoset and squirrel monkeys- very different than the evil vervet monkey in Kroonstad. Marmoset’s and squirrel monkey’s are obviously not indigenous animals. Like many of the animals at Africa Dawn they have been rescued from animal trade and now have permanent homes at the sanctuary. As I mentioned before, laws for owning exotic animals are much more lax in South Africa than America and some try to keep wild animals like monkeys as their pets. Often they realize that these animals are in fact wild and cannot be tamed and abandon them at pet stores or even into the wild. Africa Dawn takes them in and gives them a nice home to live the happily and safely for the rest of their lives.

The marmoset’s mostly kept to themselves when we went in to feed them or clean their cages, except for one very mischievous monkey who was named “monkey boy.” Monkey Boy loves to sit on your shoulder and try and run down your top- especially if you are wearing any type of sweatshirt or jacket. He likes to sit on your lap as well, but does not like to be touched himself and he is a biter! I think the marmoset’s look like old men with big tufts of hair growing out of their ears and I liked to think of monkey boy as a crotchety old man.

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The sanctuary has two squirrel monkeys named Chuck and Larry. They are really sweet and also like to sit on shoulders or laps. They never bit me and liked an occasional cuddle, but their one annoying habit was their love of gadgets- especially cameras! It is so hard to get a good photo of them, as all they want to do is sit on the camera’s lens or stare into it to see their own reflection. Anything with a screen they love and they stole my phone multiple times.

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