Monkeyshines with the Toque Macaques
After a morning marked by clouds and humidity, it finally started to rain yesterday afternoon. We didn’t mind much. A nice shower provides a welcome breath of fresh air here in Kandy, and we were safe under the roof of our porch. But creatures who live out in the open don’t much appreciate the rain. They’re forced to seek shelter, and our veranda seems to be an irresistible refuge. It’s monkey time!
Three brave monkeys were the first explorers. Two youngsters and an older one appeared on the railing and soon approached us, while we were sitting on the balcony chairs. The little ones were skittish, but the large male was almost too bold. These are Toque Macaques, only found in Sri Lanka, and otherwise known as the Temple Monkeys. Indeed, when we visited the Temple of the Tooth, a large number of them were hanging around, listening to the chanting. They’re cultured.
They’re also endangered. Toque Macaques have been dying out at a alarming rate due to human encroachment on their lands. Their biggest predators are dogs. According to the IUCN Redlist, their population has decreased by 50% in just three generations.
But at least in the area immediately surrounding our house, there seem to be plenty of the cute, fluffy-haired guys. Minutes after the courageous explorations of the three conquistadors, a cadre of refuge-seeking monkeys arrived in force. Now a little skittish ourselves, we brought the chairs inside, shut the doors and sat down at the window to enjoy an hour of literal monkey business. These macaques are…
Crazy Cute! – They’d wrestle with and playfully attack each other. One monkey was leaping up to the railing, until another little bastard grabbed his tail, yanked him back down to the ground, and leaped upon him with glee. The babies are super-curious, and would come to the window to stare at us, staring at them.
Kinda Gross! – I’ve never seen so much shit and piss. They seemed to delight in peeing all over our balcony. Or pooping, and then wrestling in it. Nasty freaks!
A Little Creepy! – Eventually, we had about twelve macaques on the veranda, trying to gain entrance to our house. Tapping on the windows, gnawing on the door frame. It was like a cuter version of Night of the Living Dead.
After about an hour of excrement and play, they left. And although mopping up their pigsty wasn’t the funnest task in the world, we are hopeful that they’ll return. Who knows… the next day was supposed to be rainy, too!