"" Writer's Wanderings: Costa Rica -- Monkeying Around

Friday, June 29, 2018

Costa Rica -- Monkeying Around

One of my favorite places we visited on our Pickleball Costa Rica tour was Playa Dona Ana but it wasn't because of the beach even though it was a pretty place. It was the monkeys!!

The trees are alive with capuchin monkeys. Yes, just like the monkey in the Night At The Museum movies and others.  We had all gotten some extra bananas from breakfast and our host, Celeste, had the kitchen at the resort cut up a bit of other fruits to take along to feed to the monkeys. I'm sure everyone else was as excited as I was.

The beach was a nicely kept area and had a small open air restaurant. We arrived early in the day and there weren't a lot of people around. It didn't take long for the monkeys to see that we had food. They began to climb down the trunks of trees and get just close enough to reach a hand out for a piece of banana.

We learned to just give a very small piece in order to keep them from climbing back up in the tree to eat a larger chunk. Before long there were plenty to feed and we enjoyed the interaction. But, we were warned, do not put anything on the tables or the monkeys will snatch it up in a second.

The capuchins live in trees and are active during the day, seeking a safe hideaway at night from predators. They are considered the most intelligent of the monkeys although I think the chimps may disagree and are often used in lab experiments--and star in movies.

Their bodies can be as long as 22 inches with a tail almost as long and they only weigh about 2 pounds fully grown. The capuchins socialize in small groups with the males being dominant and often fighting for leadership positions.

The monkeys consume a variety of foods and often use rocks to break open fruit to get to the nut or core. Those that live close to water may even eat crabs, again breaking open the crab shell with a rock showing that they have the ability to problem solve. Just a side note: Wonder how many smart phones they've stolen and if they've cracked the pass code?
I'm not coming down. You come up here.

There is no set mating season and the young stay with the mother for a few years. The average life span is 25 years in the wild or 45 in captivity.

It amazed me how gentle they were with us. Very carefully they would remove the banana from our fingers or hand. While they enjoyed some of the other fruits (mango, papaya, even watermelon) they didn't touch the lettuce Celeste brought. Just like kids. Didn't want to eat their vegetables.

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