Talking to capuchins

November 17th, 2004 by primatecare Leave a reply »

By Jennifer Dougher

A year ago, I went to my local zoo. I go there a few times every year. Well, last year, I saw a Capuchin cage. I couldn’t resist!! I had to go see them. I love capuchins and I know a lot about their hierarchy and social behavior, so after a few minutes of observing them I noticed that the White faced Capuchin male was the dominant male of the group, the Cinnamon was the least liked by the group because every time he came too close to the male that he chased him around the cage and pulled at his tail.

I felt so bad for the poor little cinnamon. Then I saw the Black capped female. She, I could see was the White faced Capuchins favorite. I also know a lot about their body and facial language. I thought to myself “Hey, I wonder if they’ll respond if I greet them in monkey language” So I did. I started to make the “pout” face where I raised my eyebrows and pouted my lips. I felt like an idiot, making these silly faces around tons of people, but I kept doing it. First I directed the face toward the White faced male. He just ignored me. He probably thought he was too good for me. He was a snot, but was still cute 😉 Then I directed the facial gesture toward the Cinnamon, hoping to get a response from the most submissive one. No such luck, he wouldn’t sit still long enough for him to notice me. He was so nervous in that cage with the white-faced. Then I greeted the Black capped female with my face. She ACTUALLY responded. She was so interested in me. You could really tell she was excited by me doing this. Then she got up off her perch and came a little closer to me, while continuing to do the greeting face. We continued exchanging greetings for about 20 seconds, until she got up, walked right to me, and sat down right up against the glass where I was on the other side. I guess she wanted me to groom her, since her back was toward me, and she kept looking over her shoulder at me, while making silly, cute Capuchin faces. It was like I was actually TALKING to her. Then all of a sudden, the male White faced Capuchin got up from the top of his nesting box, rushed down to where I was and SLAPPED the glass where my face was on the other side!!!! He acted just like a little jealous boyfriend!!! Even though the White faced Capuchin never cared for me much after that, I still loved him. His personality was so distinct.

Just like a humans.-Silly Little Monkeys- LOL

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