My Filipino Monkey, Pets for Expats
We’ve had Curious George or if you prefer George of The Jungle, our Filipino Monkey for over three months now. The bond has grown slowly but it has grown. He has begun to relax around me now. He has seen me as the alpha for a long time but now he is beginning to cuddle and is actually trying to follow my commands.
Only in the last week has he started to cuddle with me. He would cuddle with Jessie from almost the very beginning. For the first time, I’ve learned what it feels like to be trusted by a wild animal. I hear people on animal planet speak of the honor to be with them but now I understand. I felt this special bond with my monkey last night as he lay up against me and would fall over when I scratched his head or neck. He really loves to have his neck or head scratched. Maybe he can’t get there. His second favorite is to scratch his back upward, against the flow of his hair. Again, he can’t reach this place very well at all. He can reach his head and neck but he still seems to prefer this most of all.
I started isolating George when he would do something I didn’t want him too. He loves to get into my glass of chocolate milk, either empty or otherwise. Each time he did this, I would put him in the bathroom or in his cage. Then I would start holding the glass up to him and if he reached out for it, I would loudly say NO. He finally got where he would not reach out for it. Now when he is in the bedroom, MOST OF THE TIME, he will not go after my empty glass of chocolate milk and some other items that have been a constant point of conflict in the past.
Now I’m not trying to take his monkiness away, he still tries to get in my pocket because I keep candy there. The problem is it is almost always sugar free candy. And that always makes him sick when we give it to him. We stopped long ago. He will still manage to get his lightening fast and never ending hands and arms on some of it from time to time.
When he manages to grab the candy he will quickly hide it in his mouth as no monkey in their right mind would ever stick there fingers in a monkeys mouth. Poor George! I do slip my fingers into his mouth. So he will try to hide it in the pouches on each side of his jaw and I push on the side of his jaws to push in back into his mouth and out. This doesn’t stop him from trying to get the candy and it is just a monkey thing to do so we laugh with it when he tries to steal my candy. I’d share with him if it didn’t make him vomit.
When we give him food, like a piece of bread, he seems shocked. He looks at me in an almost surprised like way. I don’t know why, we give him bread several times per day. He really likes the white of the bread but he will have nothing to do with the crusty end of the bread.
The first night we had George, he was happy to stay in his cage. That surprised me because we read it would make him mad. Now it does just that. I am guessing that he was unsure of us during those first days. I know I was unsure of what he might do. I was afraid of his bite. Now I’ve learned that he plays by biting. Sometimes he gets a little too ruff and I get vocal when he does. Then he will come up to me with what I guess is a monkey kiss. That’s the best way to describe it. Maybe blowing a kiss without using his hands. He opens and closes his lips quickly. Sometimes he will make a squeaky sound while doing this.
I use to be confused when he would show us his teeth! Finally I learned that there are two ways to show teeth. One of them is a grin, it is a hello. It says, peace! He opens his mouth for this type of gesture. Now I’ve learned to do the same thing.
If I show him my teeth in a clenched fashion and then walk up to him, he goes nuts, crying out in high pitched screeched for help. But then of course, nothing happens to him. I don’t do that now that I understand the difference between the two expressions. But I can use it to tell him that he is misbehaving and I am not happy. He will usually stop.
We often let George join us for some bonding time. He will always come to me first. Spend some time grooming me and then head over to Jessie where he expects to be groomed. Maybe it is because she is equal to or below him or maybe he is too ruff in his grooming and has learned she doesn’t like it. Sometimes his grooming can hurt but knowing his intentions I rarely make him stop. Then again it doesn’t hurt me as much as it hurts her.
I have a good bit of film that I look forward to sharing once I get a PC working and a firewire cable. Jessie’s PC died a few months back, now my notebook has gone belly up. Hopefully we’ll get that fixed by next month.
George has been a delight, though at times a pain, like any other family member when you get right down too it. I can’t give him all of the things I want, he needs a big cage so he can be released from his chain. We have removed it a few times, but only in our bedroom with a close watch on him. I hope I get the chance to get another rescued monkey. He needs a friend as we can’t be there all the time.
I’m sure the bonds will continue to grow and hopefully he will be better behaved too. We are still learning to communicate with each other.
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