Book Hippo

Friday, December 28, 2012

Monkey Love

I've always loved monkeys. I used to badger my mom to let me keep a pet monkey but she wouldn't budge. "Monkeys are meant to be in trees. They'll destroy a house." She was so right but of course as a small child, I didn't realize it.

I watch every tv show about monkeys and apes and for a while when I was in painting, my main subject was monkeys. Monkeys were so cool that I would get mad when people would make the comment that monkeys are a dirty animal.

I would argue with all the force of a child, that monkeys live in trees and all their feces therefore drops to the ground, so they don't really have to think about cleanliness. It's good for the forest, too.

A woman in White Rock had a squirrel  monkey and I used to go to see it. She kept it on a line in her backyard but one day it ran away. I was sad for that.

At the time, I didn't know anything about their behavior nor did others as I have read. In one book, a man explained that in the sixties he'd walked into a room with cages full of male monkeys. They'd all turned their bums to him.

Being a worldly man, he assumed that all those monkeys were gay. No one knew then that monkeys show their submissiveness by turning their bottoms to the person who dominates them.

And the job (if you choose to accept it) is to reach out and touch the bottom of the monkey so he knows that you accept him as a submissive and won't attack him.

So if you do end up keeping a monkey, you will be facing lots of hard work and will have to know how to behave towards one.

It reminds me of a neighbour of mine in Ottawa, she was a diplomat's wife and at one time they lived in Africa. She had a baby chimpanzee and it slept with her baby boy. She raised them together but after a few years, it became dangerous and was a lot stronger than the boy who was about five or six. So they gave it to a zoo.

She seemed to think this was a good solution and didn't see anything wrong with what she had done. But I wonder how the chimp is doing coping with other chimps after having been raised next to a human. Her son, a teenager when I knew them, seemed normal, eating junk food and not helping her about the house, so he didn't suffer. But this brought home to me how smart my mother was.

Her simple "Monkey's belong in trees." was good advice and now I agree that wild animals should be left where they can be able to live how they are supposed to.

I can always get a sock monkey.

1 comment:

  1. I have a sock monkey. Thanks for explaining why it turns its bum to me when I walk into the room. Happy New Year.