Retroblog – Monkey bars

They’re very savvy.

When we lived in Bangalore we would occasionally encounter the resident band of monkeys – actually Bonnet Macaques – as they passed through the neighborhood, seeking any possible way to sneak into apartments and steal food. At least once, one pushed open the front door and came traipsing across the living room floor. We heard from others that these savvy critters knew how to find and open refrigerators. Check out this a pair of blog posts (and associated photo galleries) from November 2008!

Bonnet Macaques raid the rooftop and atrium of our apartment building at IISc.

Monkey bars – the sequel

Always bring a camera when doing laundry.

OK, sometimes it just happens. You write a blog entry one day, about the monkeys, and the very next day a dozen monkeys come by while you’re hanging laundry. They are actually Bonnet Macaques and are common in this part of India.  I used photos from our visit to Mysore, but I described anecdotes about them breaking into apartments here at IISc.  Today, I happened to be on the roof hanging laundry, and a band of monkeys strolled across the roof. My new personal rule– never hang laundry without your camera at hand – paid off handsomely.

A Bonnet Macaques seeking food on the rooftop of our apartment building at IISc.

This group, with at least a dozen monkeys, traveled through the trees and landed first on my neighbors’ roof.  They strolled across the connecting stairwell, around my laundry, and down into the narrow courtyard that separates us from another neighbor.  In that courtyard, they scrambled across the clotheslines (and clothes), explored the windows in hopes of finding one open, and entered a foyer in hopes of finding a door open.  In the foyer they found what appeared to be apple peels wrapped in newspaper.  These they nibbled as they climbed back up and headed on their way across the next roof.

I took over 200 photos, but selected a few good ones.

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.

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.