21st October 2011

Good news on the new monkey pen progress, with two fabricators working as I write. One is only here temporarily, is very efficient and quick but also charging above the usual rate. The other is less experienced but is local and looking for permanent work, so I am hoping that he will learn enough working with his experienced work mate to be of use on his own later.

All the monkeys involved in the big fight are now healing well and off treatment. Most of the plastic sheeting on the monkey cages has now been removed although there have been several big storms at night as the monsoon season finally ends, but they quite enjoy a short spell of rain.

Cinders the kitten I took from the market when the monsoon started has now been spayed. Her life of living in the drain there (see blog dated 29th June 2011) has left her with some strange behaviour. She spends most of her time in the house and on someone's lap or bed if she can get away with it, and although she loves to be stroked and will purr furiously, she also suddenly changes her mind and spits, snarls and shoots off! We can't know what trials she underwent after being dumped, but certainly she is very unusual in surviving there so long. The giant rats, disease and the large numbers of kites (small eagles) that arrive every morning and dusk account for abandoned kittens and puppies very quickly, so this behavior is probably part of her successful survival strategy.

Another, but harmless, behaviour has evolved with the monkeys which was initially only rarely seen, but seems to have somehow caught on amongst them all now and that is "dunking". They get some high energy biscuits with their fruit and vegetable usually and now all of them immediately take them to the nearest water bowl and dunk them before eating, a new habit which quickly spread amongst the different pens.

Yet another snake encounter, this time an Indian python spotted in one drainage pipes. These can grow very large but if left alone are no threat to humans, indeed they eat the many rats that do cause diseases and deaths. Unfortunately ignorance does lead to them being killed and even locally we have heard of one being decapitated, another was put in a sack, soaked in petrol and set fire to. The largest ones are now much more rarely seen as there skins can also be sold for shoes and bags sold in the richer countries.

?Mowgli the mongoose now sleeping in the kitchen drawer, has learnt another trick and as soon as the fridge is opened he dashes under it, and up inside to check the shelves for anything edible, he is so quick and sleek, it's impossible to grab him before he gets in.

Puck & Phooka the two baby langurs regularly walk in the garden on long leads and enjoy picking their own flowers and trying all the leaves although when they play it is a nightmare job to untangle there leads. Puck being less adventurous and more likely to come if called, I will often leave loose while they play, if there are no wild monkeys about.

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