Thursday, July 27, 2006
Not for hen pecking.
It began when David, said, ‘there are two monkeys in the kitchen’. There should only have been one. MonaLisa is the only adult monkey to have the run of the house in the evening. For a fraction of a second I hesitated, I thought that Mañiña had left his quarters and was wandering around. I realized almost too late that this was Sophie, she had broken out of her enclosure. Imanol was sitting on my foot when she attacked. She grabbed him with both hands. Fortunately, I was able to lift him clear moments before her teeth closed. This was just the beginning. David grabbed her and got a bite on his arm. By this time, I had put Rosita and Imanol in another room, and I was now free to contain Sophie. I lifted her away from David. I am skilled at holding monkeys without getting bitten. What I didn’t count on was MonaLisa joining the fray. You may remember that MonaLisa was Sophie’s surrogate mother. MonaLisa advanced on me and repeatedly bit me in the ankle, coming to the rescue of her daughter. I closed the kitchen door with MonaLisa securely inside. Sophie was struggling powerfully in my hands and I had to find a place for her to spend the night. Her own enclosure, the one she shares with Marco and Sussy, was out of the question. Clearly, it was insecure. All the other houses were in use. The only option was that she should go in with Totto. I opened his door and with her cries of protest pushed her into Toto’s garden. I was not sure what kind of reception she would receive. I half expected that it would be unfriendly. Indeed it was. Totto launched himself at her grabbing her by the shoulders and pulling her up onto the bamboo walkway, she screamed and wriggled free. Then suddenly there was peace. Nothing I could do now except leave them to make peace. I had been considering putting them together for a while now but hesitated to face the scene that I had just witnessed. I have written about Sophie’s anti social attitude to young monkeys. She has a history of violent assault on them. Emma for example had only been here a few days before Sophie bit her hand so viciously that she lost the top of a finger For whatever reason, Sophie has to be kept away from young monkeys. Jealously, or some innate instinct that we do not understand? I tend to reject the jealously idea, I think that is too anthropomorphic a concept. Much more likely is the establishment of her position in the hierarchy.
We will mend the enclosure today. We must then consider whether to return Sophie or to keep her where she is.
I have been concerned for a while that Totto was lonely, although he shows no outward sign of it. The hostile greeting he gave MonaLisa recently and the same to Sophie last night, needs thinking about. He is a proud person and very macho. Maybe he just wants to set the position straight from the beginning. “I am not for hen pecking’. I visited Totto and Sophie this morning. Whilst they were not together, they did not seem wary of each other. I'll watch the situation for a couple of days before deciding on Sophie. If they accept each other this could be good news for Totto.
The picture shows MonaLisa embracing Sophie.
The Marco, Sussy. Sophie large enclosure is now five years old and needs constant attention. We constructed it from stout pieces of wood. Over the years the constant weathering from the hot dry summers and wet winters not to mention the action of insects, has eroded it. It needs reconstructing with metal poles. We must act soon if events like last night are not to be repeated. Unfortunately, we do not have the funds available for the work. This underlines the appeals that I have made for contributions. We really do need some help, and soon. You can make a difference. Ask me for details of account numbers and we have Paypal.
Posted by Philip Cordrey at 5:58 AM