Monday, September 24, 2007
When will they ever learn?
Miss Billy has a friend at last.
Little Miss Billy we call her, for the avoidance of doubt. She arrived here on Thursday the 20th of this month and has rapidly won all our hearts. At first sight she is clearly not a normal Howler. She is an adult with a properly developed female genitilia. But she is small and light weight. Not much bigger than you would expect from a six month old female. I call her my ‘little old lady cut down short’. Her gait is poor and her mobility is restricted, yes you have guessed! She has suffered from ‘rickets’. She has the classic bowed legs, arched back and the tendency to walk on the forearm rather than the hands. She has all the classic symptoms of life in a Caracas apartment. When will they ever learn that monkeys belong in the forest and not on the settee in the living room? In conference with a number of veterinary friends I understand that a large number of Howlers, seen in Veterinary practice have this condition. What is the cause? Poor diet lacking in Calcium (milk etc), and lack of sunshine which normally causes the body to produce vitamin D. The poor gait is the monkey’s reaction to the joint pain which results from this condition. But this is all dejavue to those who read the stories about Negro, who also had this condition. The prognosis in this case is good. She will have high grade, absorbable calcium twice a day for three months and I am sure that in that time we will see a marked improvement. She is a delightful person with loads of personality. She smelt a bit high on arrival but we had a shower and she smells a lot sweeter now.
She really needs a special enclosure with walkways and areas not too far off the ground. If she fell she might severely damage her bones and this could be lethal. We do not have this area yet, so in the meantime she is living with me and Rosita. As you know, Rosita stays with me at night although she goes out during the day. Last night I was delighted to see Rosita and Billy cuddled up for the night on top of the fridge. Tonight Billy found a cardboard box with a cavelike front to it. Rosita waited for Billy on top of the fridge and Billy waited for Rosita in the box. Strong minded lady, Miss Billy. Billy won and our photograph is of the pair of them in the box. Miss Billy has at last got a friend.
Photographs Billy is on the left
Posted by Philip Cordrey at 3:30 PM