Written By: Sherry Chambers
In bringing a baby Macaque home, your first lesson with your baby Macaque is the Macaque attack! Sounds really scary, but is really just a condition all macaques experience, a involuntary motion of jerking and sometimes biting down, especially when they are little. So the first thing to keep in mind when holding your baby macaque is hold them with a blanket, it will be less hard on the hands. They seem to hate the attack as much as their humans but can't seem to help themselves.
As your baby macaque gets older they seem to get less attacks, why who knows? It's as if they have a undeveloped nervous system that reacts in jerking upon upset. Whether the upset is madness, frustration, or just nerves jumping, the result is what appears in older macaques to be a big twitch. As they get older the biting part of the attack is more under control, not that they won't bite, but they have more control over that reaction. The best part is by the time they are older they have now developed feelings toward you, now a family member they are more likely to try not to hurt you out of affection upon having an attack.
I've heard a lot of stories about macaque's being the more aggressive of the smaller monkeys, and this is partly true to some degree. Because of the size and strength some get, I would think that could make a human back down all the faster from a fight. In my experience with my two macaques, backing down is not an option, they see this as being the successor, and will play upon that achievement next time around.
In handling my macaques fear is not something I feel with either of my monkeys at all! I've not let them get away with one aggressive act since day one, and they know, I am boss! I was for warned about putting them in their place by numerous primate owners, and keeping them ranked under all my family, they will from time to time challenge, but are put down, in their place right away.
In my family I guess I'm the highest rank and not even my male has challenged me since very little, he is going on 3 years old now. In having a monkey, its like children let them get away with misbehaving and they will push it to the limits! A strict mom is what you must be with a macaque, they will always see what they can get away with like kids, but persistence is required with a monkey. Remember you are taking on a life time commitment since they will live 25-45 years depending on the kind of monkey.
Along with all the stories you will hear about them being aggressive, let me tell you I have found mine to be very loving for the most part. My male is so affectionate, he hugs me all the time, and gives me big wet kisses. He loves to watch TV with me and seems to understand a lot of things happening on the screen. Whether it is scary, or fighting, or other animals, he will watch the whole program. I'm sure he doesn't get the plot, but I know he does get the action or emotion part of it always. He will get upset when there is fighting or screaming, and crying, he'll react to things jumping out by covering his face, he has even been known to scream.
They both look forward to my coming home, and want to be kissed, and hugged, and want it as soon as possible upon my arrival. I think that you must get they're respect from very little on so that there isn't so much challenging, for position in the family. I think that with lots of attention in a positive manner, and keeping they're respect as alpha leader, you can have a loving relationship with them, without fear of being attacked and challenged, as it is clear who is boss, and remains boss. Think of it like with kids, you get they're respect from little on, so you hopefully will never have to be challenged by them physically. Your word is law under your roof, till they are old enough to leave and be on their own. I'm not talking physical strength with grown children, I'm talking respect with age, provided you have earned it.
I'm still in the beginning stages of this whole raising of macaques, and it is definitely not for everyone, you must have a love inside for the chore you have taken on for a number of years. The training process with my monkey's will be a lifetime of work, and I'm sure as long as we respect one another's space we will learn and live with one another through the years to come.
I've already seen a relationship born between me and my monkeys, I know they respect me to this point, and can say I feel loved by them as well. They are very protective in nature like my dogs are, they are not real friendly with people who are to forward, and fast at approaching? They will warn the person with loud verbal noises and the hair on they're heads pulled back from they're foreheads. (Picture two guys getting ready to fight taunting one another in one another's face to make the first move!) This is a Macaque getting ready to pick a fight, if the opponent doesn't back down.
Macaques are very verbal about everything, from being excited, to having a noise for each person in the family, to all they're needs. They are very smart, and will communicate with you loudly; it's your job to figure out what it is that they want. Trust me you will, as they are persistent in your figuring out what they are asking for.
Macaques are very good swimmers, and love to swim, they look like little scuba divers when given a bath in a tub or something with a bit of depth. They will dive to the bottom and swim under water like a fish in water. Bath time for my macaques is a baptizement of my bathroom, from floors to walls, sparkly clean is my bathroom after bath time, due to the major clean up.
Favorite foods are usually fruits and vegetables with most monkeys, as with mine. Each monkey will have his or her own tastes just like us, developing tastes for certain things more than others do. My monkeys really like eating like humans and love just like us all the bad things to eat like sweets. Like humans they can only eat sweets on occasion, for special treats, holidays, so that your monkey stays healthy. Mine love liquorice, red to be exact, and mine will get a piece once in awhile for being good. Birthdays they like some ice cream, or on a hot day we will go to the drive through as Sonic and both my monkeys and me will share a cone together. Monkeys are very good parents, and you'll find that they will share food with their humans, as well as teach each other how to eat something.
Over all they are very caring animals, and very sociable, they will treat you like one of them by grooming you, sharing food, playing with you, and even understanding that in play they must not bite or scratch, and rough house the same way as usual, cause you do not play that way. They will be more gentle in play as not to hurt you and they understand that you are horribly slow compared to them and take full advantage of teasing games with with you, since you will not be catching them easily. They will understand hurting you should play time get a bit rough and show remorse to hurting you, and want to make up, and be friends again.
In that Macaques are very strong willed animals for the most part they are not for people who will not stand up to them without abusing them. In making the decision to have a Macaque, I feel that they are as much of a loving monkey as the Capuchin, given the right owner who will take they're time in gaining their respect. My story continues from here and I'm hoping that with continued time and love that my monkeys turn out to stay the loving members of our family they have become.
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