Getting close with nature; meeting Brown Capuchin Monkeys.
When you are in a rush, there is no time to stay and enjoy your meal.
This Common Squirrel Monkey just found a tasty snack for himself.
Sometimes Common Squirrel Monkeys can be very selective when choosing their food.
When there is free food in abundance, you just grab what you like to eat.
There are days that you just want to relax and do absolutely nothing.
A couple of days ago I spotted and photographed a small group of Brown Capuchin Monkeys. One question went through my mind after seeing these pictures: 'What were they staring at?'
Whenever there is movement to be spotted in the trees (or anywhere else), I always rush to see what kind of commotion there is to experience.
Looks can be deceiving, especially when looking at this picture. This is the White-faced Saki, one of the prettiest monkeys in Kabalebo (in my opinion)
The Golden-handed Tamarin (Saguinus midas) is a common monkey often seen foraging in Kabalebo. It is also one of the most difficult ones to photograph due to its size and urge to keep on moving.
In Kabalebo there are 8 different kind of monkeys:
- Golden handed Tamarin
- Common Squirrel Monkey
- Brown - Capuchin Monkey
- Wedge - Capped Capuchin
- Howler Monkey
- White - faced Saki
- Bearded Saki
- Black Spider Monkey
The Howler Monkey (Alouatta seniculus) stands out from the group of monkeys thanks to:
- their fur; when fully exposed under direct sunlight, a bright red-brown color is noticeable
- their trademark howl; when you hear their howling for the first time it sounds a bit scary
Howler Monkeys are terrestrial social animals living in small groups of at least 6 - 8. In Kabalebo I've seen them at different locations. As they have a slow digestion system it is not necessary for them to cover large distances. Near the lodge I've seen a group of Howler Monkeys since I just started working here, in 2009. Over the past years I've noticed that their territory covers the area near the lodge. The group consist of 6 - 7 members (both adults and young ones) During the years some members left the group to join other Howler groups.
Their menu consists out of young leaves. Once I've witnessed that the group near the lodge was drinking rainwater out of a tree hole.
Their trade mark howl is to let intruders know that they entered their territory. I've experienced this unique moment when I was guiding tourists near the lodge. We heard and then saw them moving above us. The moment they noticed us, they stopped their journey and the leader started to growl. Then a soft low howl followed. Seconds later the group split up and soon we were surrounded (from above). What followed was unbelievable:
In unity they started to howl and because they had us surrounded, the sound was immense. Even a chain saw sound couldn't reach that kind of level. For 5 minutes we were treated with this special show. And just how the howling had started that's how it suddenly ended. The leader thought that he made his point loud and clear and gave the signal to stop..... and continued his journey with his family.
Monkeys are pretty common here in Kabalebo, Suriname. The ones that I see here are divided in:
- Small Monkeys: Golden-handed Tamarin & Common Squirrel Monkeys
- Medium sized Monkeys: Brown Capuchin, Wedge-capped Capuchin, White-faced Saki and Bearded Saki
- Large Monkeys: Red Howler Monkeys and Black Spider Monkeys
Only the Squirrel Monkeys and Brown Capuchins travel together as one large group, in search of food. All the other monkeys stay/travel with their own kind.
Their strength to survive in the wild is by traveling in large numbers. It is also easy to spot the group as they are very noisy and active during their travel. Jumping from one branch to the next, grabbing and eating as many fruits and nuts they possibly can.
Seeing them on the move, give onlookers, like me, a spectacular view. It is like looking at small acrobats giving away a free show .... jumping in mid-air without a safety net to reach the next spot. Not only does their performance create great picture moments, what makes them so special to me is their face-impression. Sometimes almost human-like.
Here are some pictures of the Common Squirrel Monkeys:
And some of the Brown Capuchin Monkeys: