Monkey Forest Tales: Why monkeys hide?

Over the past days while talking with my mother, she asks me why monkeys hide? It not exactly that monkeys hide, is just that somedays when you are looking for monkeys in the forest you aren’t luck enough to see them not just that they hide on purpose so you cannot see them…or maybe yes (I always wonder…)
When you follow monkeys or even when you just go primate watching (monkeys sighting as you do with birds) there is always a possibility that you don’t see those monkeys you are looking for. Why? Well sometimes you just pass under them without seeing them, some other times, no matter how much you walk you just cannot find them.
They are not hiding on purpose, they just continue with their lives and although some species have more cryptic behavior than others, those cryptic behaviors have been used to avoid predators or to find quite places to rest during day or nighttime. The thing with observing wildlife in their habitats is that you sometimes can see them but other times not and that is also part of the fun of being in wild habitats.
When studying monkeys this can be frustrating as well as rewarding at the same time, it all depends on how persistent you are at looking for the monkeys you are studying. When I started, over 26 years ago, I spent hours looking for the red howler monkeys I used to study, sometimes I found them, but they just move a little bit and I lost them. To find them again a few hours later just a few meters from the place where I saw them in the first time. But that also happens 10 years later while I was studying Colombian squirrel monkeys in the study area of this project and I used to walk several kilometers a day to finally found my study group at down close to the house where I was staying…
When studying monkeys in fragmented areas, you may think that seeing the monkeys is easier because of the small forest areas, they don’t have many places to hide, but the true is that even on those small forest fragment they always find tall trees where they can climb to rest on the sun or small areas full of vines and lianas so thick they can hide from any curious human.
In areas where they are hunted they climb tall trees and run as fast as they can every time they see a human approaching or stay very still and quiet in tall trees covered by vines and lianas which protect them from any predator, including us.
So, if you ever visit a forest, not matter if it is a big or small forest and you are looking for monkeys, to study them or just to enjoy seeing them, don’t get discourage if you don’t see them the first time, is part of the fun of looking monkeys in their habitat. And if you are lucky enough you not only will see them but also will spent some amazing time discovering all the wonderful behaviors they have while living their daily lives. Studying monkeys is a privilege that live give you and I have being blessed enough to spent some of the most amazing days of my live looking at those wonderful creatures that shares the world with us and hope you have the opportunity to do it someday too…
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