Some of the most visible – and audible – wildlife here in Costa Rica are the howler monkeys. They travel through the trees, and their “howl” is far deeper and louder than their appearance suggests – sort of a cross between a growl and a moan. They tend to howl when they feel threatened or are unhappy, and one of the things that seems to make them unhappy is rain, which means they howl a lot. When several howl in unison, the sound can be pretty creepy – like something out of a horror movie.
The other day, we watched five monkeys devour the leaves of a papaya tree across the road from our apartment. We stood and took pictures for about 15 minutes, while they clambered around and ate as if they’d been starved for weeks. Babies clung to two of them, their little tails wrapped around their mothers’.
One monkey sat holding on to a long stem that looked for all the world like a huge piece of celery, and chomped on it while staring back at us. Makes you wonder what they think of us, with our squeals of delight at seeing the babies and our cameras recording something so banal as lunch.