It’s so amazing the see all the animals in that national parks and in the zoos! The monkeys have the funniest little hands and faces and always remind me of someone goofy I used to know.
Awww, he looks so hungry, and is reaching out for my lunch. Maybe he can’t find any bananas in the trees today. Cute little guy, go take that bag of chips home to your family…
I know, I know, we’ve all seen signs telling us to not feed the monkeys, squirrels, and birds since we can remember.
Nobody really knows, so the signs never make sense. A few days ago I saw some reasons written down in a little eco-restaurant, and I learned a few things.
Feeding Monkeys McDonalds?
- Humans feeding monkeys creates a dependency on humans that wipes out their natural food-finding and survival abilities. The irregular and inconsistent feeding leads to aggressive attacks on humans for their lunches.
This is what makes them so eager to share your food – they’ve forgotten how to find food in the jungle because their parents only taught them to rummage through backpacks.
- It’s also just as important to keep your food packed up and away from the wild animals so they don’t just help themselves to your snacks.
They Loooove chips. The only other animal that like chips more than monkeys are raccoons. They’re so aggressive when they hear a chip bag that they’ll try to fight you for it. That’s not nature at its finest – that’s a pet with ‘coon eyes that lives in a tree.
- Contrary to the stereotype, bananas aren’t the best food for monkeys and can cause dental problems and upset their delicate stomachs. “Grocery store bananas” have pesticides in them from mass-growing in plantations and is much worse for the monkeys than for humans.
In fact, pregnant females who are fed nothing but bananas won’t give birth to healthy baby monkeys – they often die before birth.
So What Do Monkeys Eat?
I’m not an expert on monkeys, but I read that they eat wild fruits, seeds, small animals, and insects. They were pretty excited to eat these berries off the tree in Manuel Antonio.
Maybe they were really enjoying the part where they got to throw the seeds down on the tourists below, but either way, they were having a good time!
It may seem like they’re hungry, but they don’t need any human food to keep them alive. No extra bananas either.
- Monkeys can get sick from diseases humans carry that don’t make us sick. Remember when the Columbus and the Pilgrims “found” the Americas and brought diseases that wiped out the Native Americans?
Monkeys can also pass diseases to humans. And bugs, tiny ones… that bite!
- Monkeys need to travel to stay in shape – 10 miles a day is normal life for them. If food is always around the tourist benches, they won’t travel around enough and they’ll get fat. Just like drive-thru fast food does to us Americans.
- Contact with humans makes them less wary, so poachers can capture them more easily, facilitating illegal wildlife trade.
- Migrating from their natural habitat to tourist areas increases dog attacks and road accidents. Quite unfortunate injuries and deaths for them.
The monkeys don’t realize this! Don’t push these amazing wild creatures down the road to extinction by treating them like pets.
Let them stay wild for the next tour group to see!
But I Just Want a Picture With the Monkey
Then be patient and wait for them to pass by on their way through the trees. If you want a picture of a monkey in the tree, go to a zoo – you can get a lot closer the monkeys and probably get better pictures.
So now when you see the sign:
Don’t Feed the Monkeys
Hopefully you’ll understand the sign a little better next time.
Do your part.