19th October 2009
The baby rats that we took out of the car were all moved on by morning, so a happy ending there, that will be repaid by them as they grow up, and become a nuisance.
The new monkey pen division worked perfectly for the first week, before the resident troop learned to exploit the fabricators short comings. He was told that the long round bar that holds the dividing door shut, would need to have an exterior locking system as we have on the other cages. He obviously felt this was an unnecessary fuss, and so didn't bother. After watching carefully how it was closed, the monkeys soon clued up, and when no one was looking, in a flash removed it by twisting and pushing it back out. The staff at first thought they were going mad, till they caught them in the act, so until we can get the fabricator back; we now have to tie it in place each time.
Now the tourist season is starting, several teams of IAR volunteer monkey walkers are coming up regularly, as there are never enough hours in a day for us to give all the monkeys the attention they need. There is only a proportion that behaves well enough to come out for walks with these well meaning, but as yet inexperienced volunteers. Generally the older males are too aggressive, also they all behave better with men than women, as there is automatically a respect for male authority. It's not easy to understand how to handle them, most behave better with someone who seems confident and in charge, just like horses! Weakness or fear is soon exploited, but the youngsters such as Baldric, lap up any affection and attention and can't wait to be cuddled and fussed over, but even Baldric sometimes bullies any small children, as he finds it all too easy to make them scream.
Spock and Daisy love to come out, but don't appreciate being chastised, they both seem to think of all humans as really there serfs, and only as long as you are following their wishes will they tolerate you. This is undoubtedly because they were hand reared from a young age and didn't get the severe telling off they would naturally get from the rest of the troop when growing up, and although I tried to keep them from misbehaving, it was clearly inferior and probably too soft a substitute for the real thing.
Spock in particular, knows and hates the word NO, and I try not to use it with him now he has big teeth, distracting him is a safer option. I was walking him in the garden this week when one of the staff called out to ask me about a job they were doing, I simply called back to them, NO, and so he bit me!.