Monkey bars

We share the IISc campus with a large troup of monkeys.

When we moved into our apartment on campus, I noticed that there were bars on all the windows, even though we live on the second floor.  Indeed, there are bars on all the windows of the academic buildings, too.  People warned me about theft, and I assumed the bars were to keep out thieves.

The monkeys of Chamundi Hill attempt to raid a kitchen in Mysore.
The monkeys of Chamundi Hill attempt to raid a kitchen in Mysore; if you click and look closely, you can also see a huge spider that happened to be between me and the scene of the crime.

I was half right.  The bars are there to keep out thieving primates, but not specifically humans.  These pictures are from off-campus, but there is a band of monkeys that lives on campus and we have had one hanging on the bars of our dining-room window, eyeing the bananas on the table. Our neighbors tell stories of monkeys strolling into the house, opening the fridge, and walking off with whatever tastes good.  We often see them poking through the outdoor trash bins (there are no covered dumpsters here).

When I stopped to take these pictures, on Chamundi Hill in Mysore, Pam and the kids continued walking. Pam was carrying a small bunch of bananas we had brought for our snack during the outing.  Zip! they were gone from her hand, before she had even noticed the monkeys.  The following photo shows the monkey stuffing its cheeks with our bananas. 

This monkey grabbed the bananas right out of Pam’s hand, while she was walking to Chamundi temple in Mysore. His mouth is stuffed with banana.

I’m told these monkeys are Bonnet Macaques

Bonnet macaque, Mysore.

Update: the next day, a dozen monkeys lumbered by while I was out hanging laundry on the roof.

This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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