This post will be devoted to the Monkey world that I fully discovered in wild, while conquering Singapore. The commonly encountered type there is Long-Tailed Macaques. Well, I certify, tails are astonishingly long and strong. Oh, wait, that is the case with all monkeys. Turned out, their original habitat was in mangroves and sometimes they are still called Crab-eating Macaques (!). Would love to learn from them, so far all my attempts to eat crabs failed quite pathetically.
They are cute when they do their favorite activity, grooming; they are very cute when they are doing their second favorite activity, eating. They are cute and make you a bit worried when they try to unzip (and actually succeed in this!) your camera bag, attempting to steal your sweater. They stop to appear cute and start to be really scary when they snarl at you and show a row of myriad perfect tiny sharp teeth. I guess stumbling on hikers is not one of their favorite activities. Well, as the signs point everywhere, You do not touch them, They do not touch you. However, it is not a “scary walk-through” in some Adventure Park. Sometimes there are misunderstandings and there are occasional attacks of macaques on the passers by. The animals, too, can have anger management issues.
Mostly macaques just sit and groom each other, which helps them to develop social and networking skills. Sometimes they do it in a completely inappropriate spot (that is for us, humans: for them the whole area is appropriate, of course). While walking through Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, I stumbled on the following romantic picture.
Besides favorite grooming, they are, of course, occupied with searching for food and/or consuming it. It is amazing how logical is their behaviour: choosing the right shape of stone to crack the nut; dusting off nut/fruit before eating and rubbing it between palms like we do. He is doing it almost automatically like we do, not looking directly at action but rather observing environment around him.
Hikers carry sometimes lots of food with them. Sometimes it is yummy junk food. And the macaques know that very well. So the whole row of macaques wait for you patiently in the parking lot, strategically choosing spots nearby cars. That’s when this monkey actually managed to unzip my camera bag while I was taking pictures. Why he needed my sweater, I’m not sure. Maybe it is his favourite style and colour, dunno. Or was it customs check for border crossing?
The parking lot is located at the bottom of Nature Reserve (I think, the following is from Sungei Buloh, but not 100% sure).
In front of the parking lot there are few family houses located on each side of narrow pavement road. During half an hour we spent there, we saw only one person, woman hanging clothing to dry, and dozens of macaques wandering on the roofs, playing and quarreling with each other, falling onto the cars, grabbing-dropping-chasing food. Gush, that much noise and activity I haven’t experienced since the last time at bazaar markets in Moscow..
That one was strange to observe: macaques found the Halloween skeleton (yes, Singapore was full of Halloween preparation!) and apparently considered it as unusual food supply. Another funny moment occurred with poor dogs teased by monkeys on the fence.