I am sitting behind my computer, typing away quietly, and he sneaks up on me. Sensing a dark shadow behind me, I turn around and gasp. He looks at me, his eyes piecing, a slight grin playing around his fierce pointy canines. I scream. I wave my arms. He shrugs, and retreats, casually.
A few days later I walk into the living room from the bedroom hallway. He is sauntering halfway the living room, same spot, and looks annoyed that I interrupted his stroll to the kitchen. Caught in the act, he feels cornered, and looks around him. Which way to go, into the kitchen? Back the way he came, the patio doors? I’m blocking the back window as well as the hall to the bedrooms. He starts towards the kitchen, his favourite destination, where he knows we keep the food.
I shout, wave my hands, try to block him without aggravating. He would have no way out, all doors and windows in the kitchen are closed, because of him. All food is locked away. But worse, Indah might be in the kitchen, and when he feels the back-exit is blocked by me, he might get aggressive. I flap and sway my arms, shout, still trying to avoid looking into his eyes. Don’t go there! He gets the message and picks a quick exit via the patio instead. I breathe out again.
We have lived with macaques peacefully for years. We have enjoyed sitting on the patio, sipping or tea and Ribena, watching them weaving through the trees, some with babies clutching to their bellies. We watched them file by in a row, jumping a large palm leaf one at the time, waiting for it to slowly sway over, jumping off to the next tree, and the leaf swaying back to it’s original position, ready to pick up the next one in the monkey family train.
We have learned to hide all food, even the toothpaste, and to lock the medicine cabinet securely. We chose to live in the jungle and we knew they lived there too.
But this guy is different. I don’t trust him. And he, obviously, does not trust me.
He is starting to treat not only the garden, but also the house as his home. And that is where I draw my line.
Possibly this male, a large Alfa, I competing with us for space. Our house is comfortable and safe, and, as he knows well, full of nice food to steal and toothpaste to suck. We need to teach him who’s the boss. Another possible scenario is that, since this group contains two large males, our guy is in fact not Alfa, but Beta male, and he is being pushed out of the group. The recent monkey wars, where they fight high up in the trees, loud screeches resonating through the street, support this theory. Beta male will be aggressive, frustrated by being pushed out of his family group, and insecure as he will need to go out to start his own, in a world where territory is scarce.
All perfectly natural behaviour for a monkey, but not a war I want battled out in my living room.
Advice from a macaque specialist at Acres advices: macaque activated sprinklers (which I am sure the kids will love, just a bit too much), spraying chili or other foul substances on window sills (which, since they quite happily rip chili’s of our plants, I doubt the effectiveness of) or spraying/ splashing them with water. Show him who’s boss.
So. I went out and bought me the biggest super soaker I could find. And a small handgun for by my desk. Beware, you motherfucking monkeys. Mama’s got a gun. The battle is on!