Moving to a new place opens up all kinds of exploration especially when you read that there is a lot of wildlife around. Now most of the time you will be expected to travel to view said wildlife in their natural habitat and only on rare occasions will you actually find the wildlife on your doorstep so to speak. Well that is exactly what I’ve found living here as Moo and I often encounter Monkeys on our two daily walks. Ok, I use the term walk very loosely as anyone who has experience of beagles know that it becomes more of a drag than a walk with stops every few feet to intently sniff something very interesting. But despite these hold ups we do encounter monkeys on a frequent basis, probably three or four times a week on average. I may be being very naïve but I always thought that the majority of wildlife would avoid any human contact and while many monkeys remain in the relative safety of the tree-tops there are a few, probably alpha monkeys, who will almost come face to face with us.
Our condo is grouped together with around eight other condo’s that all sit on top of a hill with the front of ours facing inland. Outside there are three dual carriageways of approx 200 meters in length each that are punctuated by two side roads leading down to the main costal road. I guess that the original design was to allow residents quicker access in and out of their homes but like a lot of condo’s in Asia, although the individual units may be sold, less than 20% are actually occupied. You only need to check the condo’s at night where you’ll see very few lights on in individual units, a little understandable here where quite a few of these units are nothing more than holiday homes. Strangely a similar result was to be found back in the Phils.
The first dual carriageway has one condo on the far side of the road with a small grouping of trees opposite. We have noted a few monkeys here although it is quite rare so there must be much nicer leaves to munch here! The next dual carriageway, where the condo ends, is replaced by a large hill with a few densely populated trees, It is regularly where monkeys are spotted here happily frolicking around which is surprising as the majority of the hill is covered in white plastic sheeting! NO, I don’t have an idea of why just yet but I will find out and let you know. The last dual carriageway is where the most monkeys are spotted as it is a dead end with just a u-turn at the end. The forest continues along down one side with another condo’s large car park on the other side. Despite the fact that many people, walk, jog, bicycle and exercise here along with the other two dual carriageways, there’s usually around a dozen or so, monkeys can be spotted here quite frequently. Now Moo and I walk twice a day, once around 7.30am just after its got light and once in the evening around 6.30pm just before it gets dark. We’ve seen monkeys at both times and they don’t appear bothered by all of the human activity going on around them.
According to Memsahib, who’s obviously looked up Wikipedia, there are two breeds of monkeys around here. Macaques which are the larger and Dusky Leaf Monkeys which are smaller. I have no idea if they are in direct competition with each other though I will say that I have not seen both breeds in the same area at the same time. For those of you interested in knowing the tricks to spot monkeys I can let you into a couple of secrets. First look and/or listen for swaying branches at the tops of the trees. This works best when there is little or no wind rustling the said tree tops, also listening out for the cracking of branches is another give away that there are probably monkeys around. The second is much easier, look out for leaves raining down from the trees. Now I mean green leaves not brown dead leaves. Monkeys it would appear are very messy eaters and will break off a few leaves at a time, eating one and discarding the rest to the floor. I first came across this when there was a veritable blizzard of leaves raining down on the road as a family of monkeys happily munched their way through breakfast one morning at the top of a tree.
So there you go Monkey spotting 101, there are a few more wildlife species around inc many loud and noisy birds, very colourful squirrels, or at least squirrel types and of course snakes! Happily we haven’t run into the latter so far and long may this continue! Right I’m off to find out why the hill has been draped in white plastic sheets!