Normally one should never feed the wild animals for many reasons, but here in Manuel Antonio some of the local fruit sellers have started feeding some of the wildlife fruit that is not unhealthy for them.
So today Mangus and myself went down to the beach around mid-day and we found the feeding station one of the old gringos (he was retired – Im allowed to call him old :D) from Pension Santa Elena in Monteverde was talking about. However it is not a feeding station by the hotel like the gringo was thinking, but a local fruit seller that has their base there just feeding the monkeys fruit leftovers.
First thing we see is a bunch of white faced Capuchin monkeys and no other tourists. A few locals taking pictures yes, but not tourists. They were soooooo cute and we had left the cameras in the room. There was even 2 moms with babies there! Oh well, we did see lots of white faced capuchin monkeys yesterday during the mangrove tour at least.
Then we went for a walk on the beach, a swim and relaxed a bit before coming back during twilight hours and we were in for a treat.
Costa Rica has 4 species of monkeys. In Arenal we saw the Spider Monkeys and the Howler Monkeys. During our Mangrove Tour and earlier today we saw the White Faced Capuchin Monkey and now we got to see the Squirrel Monkey.
We waited with the fruit sellers, loaded with bananas and suddenly a whole bunch of Squirrel Monkeys descended from the trees and suddenly there was mayhem. A good one as such.
They were squeeking and climbing down to the nearby trees where they expected to get some nice treats.
We broke off bananas (inside the peel and squeezed the meat out) and held them out. These monkeys are so tame that they would actually hold the banana and eat from your “hand”.
The Squirrel Monkeys are a lot less agressive than the White Faced Capuchin Monkeys that will also come for food here (Good tip: Throw the banana a bit away from yourself and let them have it on a safe distance).
We had an amazing time with the monkeys and the fruitsellers. A few other tourists came when they saw us, but no more than 4 others.
However, it is INCREDIBLY important to remember a few things when feeding wild animals:
- Only feed them food they would naturally eat (bananas, pineapple, melon, mango and other kind of fruit – NEVER cake, chips or human food they would not find growing in trees or on the ground in the jungle).
- Never touch what you feed them with with your hands. If you feed them bananas – break off the banana within the peel and squeeze so they can grab the meat themselves and you stay behind with the peel. Humans have bacterias in their hands (and often repellant, sun tan lotion etc. lotions and perfumes that can be dangerous for wild animals).
- Only feed wild animals that have already learned to recieve food from humans. NEVER start feeding wild animals just because they are cute. It can be dangerous for them to loose their natural fear of humans.
- Never touch, pet or get too familiar with the wildlife.
More Information about dangers of feeding wild animals:
Are you feeding wild animals?
Feeding Wildlife: Food for thought.
Eight good reasons why you shouldn’t feed wildlife!