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Hey hey, we're the monkeys (and we do monkey around)

Nicaragua granada isletas howler monkey sitting in tree20180829 76980 17thiiv

In the countries of Nicaragua and Central America, one type of animal which certainly does not seem endangered in the slightest (and isn't), is the monkey. As a former volunteer with brown capuchins in Bolivia, I have long held a fascination with them (and indeed all primates) - so for me this visit was a considerable treat from that point of view.

While many people will rightly anticipate hearing the dawn chorus created by the numerous bird species of Central America, the far more stirring / sometimes terrifying wake-up call is created by the howler monkeys. I think the name is a slight misnomer, as in fact their cry is more like halfway between a dog and a sea lion; but when it comes at full volume from just outside your cabin at 5am, this point is not the first which comes to mind. As you lie there with dawn breaking and the sounds reverberating through the trees, you really are aware that you're a long way from home.

While the howler may be the most audibly spectacular of the four species found in the region, the others are also wonderful (and many may prefer the others for their lack of vocal contribution). The wiry spider monkeys are perhaps the best to watch flinging themselves from tree to tree, while you will need quiet and a sharp eye to catch the slender squirrel monkeys, which are found in fewer places than their cousins. Probably the most familiar to most of us however, from the realms of the TV and film, are the white-faced capuchins, whose intelligence and character has made them unfortunately attractive for people to think of as suitable pets.

On the positive though, they are found far and wide across Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and for me a massive highlight of a visit there. Read more about Central American wildlife holidays here.

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