Thursday, March 8, 2012

Belize: Monkeys

When the driver of the boat, who apparently entertains dreams of becoming a race car driver, slowed along a bend in the New River, I knew something exciting was coming up.

Our guides do this same tour several times a week, so the spider monkeys have learned to expect them.

I know the photo is a little fuzzy...

But isn't he cute?

They have learned how to get free bananas just by being cute.  That has never worked for me.

Here, the guide is holding out another banana, and he's ready!

Camera shy. . . .

or maybe he's afraid we will want the banana back.

He seemed to enjoy that banana immensely.

His tummy full, he posed for us, then sailed off through the trees, using his tail like a fifth leg.

Spider monkeys are common in Belize and other Central American countries. I wouldn't want one for a pet, but they are fun to watch.  But the black howler monkeys, well, that is a different story.

I'm convinced that howler monkeys are inherently evil.  Could it be that the 'Bigfoot' story got started after someone heard a howler monkey?

The howler monkeys are the three dark spots near the tops of the trees.   The guide told us that they throw their feces as a defense mechanism, so I'm glad they didn't come any nearer.

I talked with a fellow who was doing research in Belize, camping on the forest floor.  He said he was awakened by a howler monkey, and when he opened his eyes, the monkey was sitting not ten feet from him with bared fangs.  Needless to say, this fellow got out of camp as quickly as possible.

This link from YouTube will let you hear what they sound like.  Can you imagine being alone in the forest with that?

Please don't get impatient with me.  We'll get to the Mayan Ruins tomorrow.