Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mr. Nielson

One of my favorite little creatures here on Harnas is Mr. Nielson, a black-capped squirrel monkey. He's tiny tiny tiny--if you measure from about where your wrist begins to the top of your middle finger, his body is about that long. His tail is that length again. He weighs less than two pounds.

Mr. N isn't from around here. He was being smuggled in to Namibia with some other of his buddies and was confiscated. Normally he lives in the rain forests of South America--mainly in Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia. He has vocal cords, so he can make cute little sounds.

Because Harnas is an animal sanctuary, he and his friends were allowed to come here (Namibia has a law that non-native species cannot come into the country). Fortunately, he wasn't put down--as many smuggled animals are. Unfortunately, all of his buddies died of tuberculosis.

But Mr. Nielson is a hearty little guy and has been here for years in his enclosure in the garden area. I just adore him. I like to go inside and put a peanut on my shoulder. He'll jump to my shoulder long enough to take the nut and then jump back somewhere else. "Spider" monkey is a good name--he likes hanging off the wall way up high.

It takes him forever to eat just one peanut because he's so small, so I have lots of time to observe him. He's extremely shy, so he'll try to hide away in the leaves and branches, but he's also very understanding if you move closer to get a better look.

He lives with Dixie the dassie--a strange little animal that I'll tell you about another time. Mr. N lives up high; she lives down low. It's a good combination.

Aren't his eyes wonderful? And I wish you could feel his soft little hair. A cutie-pie, for sure.

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