Monkeying around in the Amazon River Basin

Watching the humans in the hammocks below

You might expect to see some wildlife on a trip on the Amazon River and you will not be disappointed.  The most prevalent mammals you will see are the monkeys and you will see them when you least expect it, therefore, the pictures of the monkeys you’ll see in this post are not high quality poses of monkeys panning for the camera, but rather, candid shots of the little guys doing what they do.  Steal.

Of course, they are just like any other creature that lives near humans: if the human is going to leave something laying around, then obviously the human doesn’t need it or perhaps thinks the passing monkey needs it more.  This is particularly true of food so precautions are  made to keep them away from your food, but, they are industrious and clever and if you turn your head you make look back to learn you are sharing your plate.

A little thief enjoying his melon.

If you were lounging in the hammocks, you’d best not fall asleep with anything in your hand, for when you wake up you can be assured that the little guy watching you will have investigated and taken what you had if it suits your fancy.  They were incredably quick at getting around the screen enclosures and grabbing a piece of fruit or other food then settling down on the other side of the screen to enjoy their treat.  If you have read the other Amazon posts on this website you will know that we were at the Ariau Towers on the Rio Negro tributary of the Amazon River.This complex has a main building in which the dining hall is located adjacent the boat dock.   This is the building to the far right in the picture below. As small store and hotel type rooms were adjacent also.  If you look at the picture below you will notice the plank catwalks leading to the left in the picture. To get to our room, we walked about a half mile into the jungle on one of the these catwalks.

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Ariau main complex

As you may notice, the catwalks were at different heights.  Further, they branched out into different directions.  One day we were taking an alternate route to our room when we came upon a stair where we had to go up to the upper catwalk.  Asleep on  the stair well was a little was a little monkey like the one shown below.  As I started up the stair, I reached down with my hand as if to say “stay where you are” but before I could say don’t,

Sleeping monkey


upper catwalk in the jungle

he reached up, grabbed my hand and was instantly perched on my shoulders.  Now , perhaps I should have expected it, but I didn’t expect the utter lack of sympathy I received from my companions, who immediately started laughinb at my predicament.  There I stand, nearly half a mile from the main buildings with a wild Brazilian monkey perched on my neck.  Not wanting to alarm or anger him, I reached gingerly up and touched him which only caused him to hold on tighter and begin chattering, which indicated to me I should leave him alone.

So, I continued up the stairs and walked along the catwalk toward our room.  He was perfectly content.  I was wondering whether I’d wind up with monkey poop down my collar, and my sisters were laughing hysterically.  In a short while, that seemed incredibly long to me, I started to cross over a stream and my rider decided that was as far as he wanted to go.  He hoped off, ran back down the catwalk, causing the two sisters to nearly fall off as the scurried to avoid him, and was seen no more.   We crossed the stream and were soon at the tower housing our room.  Gratefully, I went inside, washed my neck, and prepared my self a beverage.  Then I retreated into the safety of our screened in balcony and sat and laughed.   Moral of the story is: Never offer your hand to a monkey that you don’t want on your back.

The view from our balcony.

Although we laugh about the monkey, he was not the only encounter with the wild we had on the board walk.  We managed to disturb a  little green snake and wound up with him on the boardwalk with two of us going in one direction and the other behind him saying don’t leave me here.  He quickly escaped and we were certain to watch our step from then on.   Let me know what you see when you go.




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