Howler Monkeys Hanging Out

A group of six howler monkeys has been visiting this tree by our deck almost daily for the past several days. The dogs go nuts and we call them off, but they don’t even seem to faze the monkeys. There’s a male, three females and a couple youngsters.

Our stripped papaya in the orchard

The finca (farm) we live on sits right on the Pacific coast of the Guanacaste province. It’s mostly jungle that stretches virtually endlessly beyond the borders of our 20-acre development. There are several tree-top paths the monkeys follow on their daily migrations from the jungle to the ocean and back to the jungle again. They’re hanging out, munching on leaves and napping in the high heat of the afternoon. They rarely leave the safety of the trees, but the male in this group has been unable to resist the papaya tree in our orchard. He’s hit the ground to reach it and has eaten almost all the leaves off and he’s started to work on the unripe papayas, too.

Howlers live all over Costa Rica and Central and South America. They live in groups (the largest group I’ve seen is about a dozen or so) and they claim territories by having howling matches with other groups in the area. They’re one of the loudest mammals on earth, their howls and screams reaching up to 140 decibels.

Their howling generally runs from 3:00am to 6:00am, then again 3:00pm to 6:00pm. The first time I heard one was when Mark and I were vacationing here. It woke me up and I thought it must be some large wild panther or something roaring. No, actually it sounded like some kind of unearthly monster. Then I figured out it must be the famous Howlers and I was able to relax. You can listen to one here. Don’t get scared now!

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