22nd July 2011

Russle Viper SnakeThree more startling snake encounters to date. Firstly a large spectacled cobra seen in the garden, trying to swallow down a pigeon it had just caught. Later, another cobra in tree right outside the bedroom window, trying to catch palm squirrels. Once alerted to its presence they darted around it giving loud chirps to warn others. They have now proved that the humble prairie dog in America, actually tells its fellows a detailed description of the danger, there is a different call for "man with gun," to "man but not dangerous" for instance. These palm squirrels were definitely using a different call to the one we most commonly hear for a cat being in view. The third snake was a new born Russell's viper, which although small is still just as dangerous. This was simply curled up on the porch and coaxed into a snake bag to transport it to a safer area; it caused even more concern however when it unexpectedly went missing in transit. The mystery has not been solved, and John is just hoping its not still hiding somewhere in his car!

Sun bird Goa, India The birds seem to be hit quite hard by the heavy rains and we have seen a number of waterlogged birds simply sitting around, waiting to drip dry after a heavy bout of rain. The little sun birds are also finding life hard, as in any break in the rains they are now literally lining up at the sugar water feeders I provide, for a much needed boost of energy.

On the monkey front, Ruby, who is our most mentally damaged resident, is finding new ways of venting her aggression. Although she tolerates men, she hates most female humans and has now developed a new way of getting back at us. She is at present kept on a running chain as she wont settle when put in a pen, and is on one of the balcony's to keep out of the rains. From her present home base she can see anyone approaching the front door and if in a mood, waits till the chosen female is at the nearest point to her, and then darts out and throws one of her toys or a ball at them with full force, which when you are caught unaware can be quite a painful shock. This is obviously a source of delight to her, and if it's thrown back to her she will have another go; but she obviously prefers the startled cries of surprise.

Langur MonkeyPhooka and Puck continue to be a full time job, and to provide additional entertainment for them during the monsoon our spare bedroom is in the process of being turned into their monsoon play room. All the curtains and furniture have been removed to safety and even a window taken out and replaced with mesh for them, branches and ropes are being installed. To date they have never been left alone as if not actually clinging to me or another foster mum, want at least to see you nearby, but as they get older the idea is to slowly get them used to being left to play in there, on their own, for increasingly longer periods. This will be a slow increase, starting with just a few minutes until they feel safe, as it is not something that would happen in the wild for at least the first year of their life.

To start the slow separation process I try and get them to sit and wait for me to bring them their 3 hourly milk feeds, rather than clinging to me throughout and they seem to be getting the idea that the milk will arrive even if they are not supervising the process, but if there is too much delay they will soon resort to hanging on the door handle, screaming for my attention.

New restrictions on British residents in India means we have had to arrange for cover at the Tree House to care for the monkeys, and a couple to move in to look after the babies, while we return to get the paper work which will allow us to live in our property here !

Angela, John's P.A, is going to organize the blogs till our return.

Having to leave the country also meant rescuing another kitten to add to our 16 residents. She was dumped at the fish market as a small kitten and has been living in a small drain and impossible to catch, but relying on me to provide food on my visits. I was hoping to befriend her and then get her spayed when big enough in a few more weeks. As a semi wild and older kitten she would realistically never be offered a home at the rescue center. I could not leave her with no support so had to trap her. She is now in a cage in our cat house where hopefully she will learn to trust humans again and can then be let out with ours till old enough to spay. I have called her Cinders.

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