Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Facts - Spider Monkeys!

It's George!
On this beautiful spring-like Friday we bring you Spider Monkey facts!  George is a very vocal black spider monkey who loves to tell you all about his day.  After the cleaning is done, I look forward to one-on-one time with George, playing, grooming and “talking” with him.  He is particularly taken by blondes and will show is masculine side preening for the girls.  He is an elderly gentleman in his 40’s, although you would never know it by the way he swings around inside and outside! His favourite treats are dates, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches.   

Mr. Jenkins is a black-handed spider monkey who loves to play. His area is full of swings, tents, blankets, food puzzles and toys.  He LOVES celery chewing it, spreading the juice all over his chest while making happy sounds!  If Chili the llama comes too close for his liking while he is outdoors, Jenks will break into loud barking to protest.
Jenkins playing with a treat box

·        Spider monkeys are of the genus Ateles which contains seven species, such as Red-faced, White-fronted, and Colombian.  Sadly, Black-headed and Brown spider monkeys are listed as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List.

·        Spider monkeys are “New World” monkeys found in Central America in the countries of Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

·        Spider monkeys live in the canopy (arboreal), are active during the day (diurnal) and have a long prehensile (gripping) tail, sometimes called the fifth limb.

·        Spider monkey communities are “fission-fusion”, meaning that they split up into smaller subgroups to forage and sleep and then come together again.

·         Their diet includes fruit, leaves, flowers, nuts, seeds, insects, arachnids and eggs.

·        In the spider monkey world, the females choose their mates and will have a single baby every two to five years. The babies depend completely on their mothers for about ten weeks.  After that, the young ones will integrate into the troop, moving on their mother’s back for a year, and being dependent on their moms for three years.

·         A highly vocal primate, their vocabulary consists of barks, screeches, whinnying and howling.  You can always hear George and his neighbour Mr. Jenkins!

·        Spider monkeys are considered the most intelligent of the New World monkeys due to their brain size.  Jenkins and George are very clever and curious.

·         You can become a Foster Friend to George and Jenkins by visiting our website!
Jenkins and Pockets chatting outside

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Facts - Baboons!

Today, we share baboon facts!  Sweet Pea and Pierre are Olive baboons and Nan is a Hamadryas baboon.  While in Kenya, it was special to see wild baboon troops on the Maasai Mara. Sadly their numbers are dwindling due to habitat loss, poaching for bush meat and the illegal pet trade.  Sweet Pea is very maternal and loves to groom for hours.  

Sweet Pea enjoys a nap on a giant stuffy!
Pea especially likes large stuffed animals and faux fur to play with and sleep on, as you can see in the photo. She also likes puzzles, taking things apart and putting them back together again.  Pierre is a handsome male who is highly social and supportive towards Sweet Pea and his neighbours.  They enjoy special treats like sugar cane and foraging in the straw for raisins and berries and their pools in the summertime.  Nan or “Nannie” as she is affectionately known, loves her lettuce and enjoys being outside and basking in the sun.  At this time of year, a special treat for all the monkeys is the tender shoots of dogwood which we clip and put in their enclosures.  Nan even put her lettuce aside this past Saturday to chew on the red branches!

Statue of the god Toth
·          Ancient Egyptians considered the baboon to be sacred and related them with the god Thoth. The Egyptians believed him to be the inventor of spoken and written language, astronomy, geometry, and medicine. 
(Photo: Museum of Antiquities)

·          There are five species of baboons:  Chacma, Olive, Yellow, Guinea and Hamadryas.

·          Baboons are “Old World” monkeys who live in arid and semi-arid conditions like the Savannah. Hamadryas baboon live in cliffs, so Nan has many platforms and walkways.

·      They are ground dwellers and do not have prehensile tails.  Pockets, a capuchin, is a “New World” monkey with a long prehensile (gripping) tail that helps him climb (and paint!)

·       Baboons are omnivores and will eat plants, insects and small animals. Sweet Pea particularly looks forward to raw or boiled eggs!

The "divine" Nan
·          Baboons have a complex social structure made of dominant males and females from the same families.  It is observed and carried from one generation to the next.

·      The baboon’s gestation period is six months and they typically have a single offspring.  If it is female, it will have a lasting bond with the mother and will remain in the same troop all of their lives.  If it is a male, upon sexual maturity at six years of age, he will leave the troop to create his own troop or join another.

·       Baboons have large canine teeth and will “yawn” to display them passively.

·          Some of their vocalizations include grunting, screaming and barking as they call to their troop members to warn or to get a sense of where they are.  At night, they will long-call.  There are ten different documented sounds.

·          You can become a Foster Friend to Sweet Pea, Pierre and Nan by visiting our website! Foster by April 20 and get a bonus monkey handprint to go with!

Pierre enjoying sugar cane