Of Moths, Mangoes and Monkeys

The past two days and today have been quite the fun experience regarding wildlife living on my compound. I am not sure if I have mentioned it before, but the sheer number of amazing butterflies flitting around NYS is astounding. On Sunday I saw a species of butterfly I had not noticed before and it was of an exact color pattern I would like: black and orange. These were not monarchs however, as the wings were entirely black with and orange, “eye,” on each, and they were much smaller. The wings swept back, and were more triangular than quadrilinear. I saw two of them, both eating mangoes that had been discarded by monkeys (or students, who are fond of throwing large and sharp metal objects into mango trees hoping to hit a mango and knock it down). I cannot identify the species though, and the Internet is not being of help.

Then just yesterday I saw perhaps one of the most hilarious monkey antics yet. An adolescent had found a good mango on the ground, but upon my approach all the other monkeys executed their usual, “mzungu maneuver,” which is to run towards the nearest clime-able object and prepare to shoot up it should I become too curious. This one adolescent however, completely reluctant to relinquish his mango prize, decided to carry it with him. The mango was rather large though and he was unable to hold it with just one arm and then three-legged run. Instead, he held it with his two forearms and decided to hop his way over to one of the abandoned buildings monkeys use to hide in, on his hinds. I see this one and a half foot tall gray monkey hopping through the grass grasping a mango as if it were a life and death situation. The determination on his face was easily distinguishable. Imagine a sack-race hop. It was like that.

Finally, just this morning on my four minute walk to work, I hear a buzzing in the grass and actually see moving detritus. Of course I go over to explore the mysterious noise in the brush and what do I find, but a rather old and tattered, large, khaki moth struggling. Its wings were disintegrating, and as such it could not produce the necessary thrust to lift off. Obviously, this was food just jumping around waiting to be eaten and sure enough as I get up and walk away from my inspection a bird swoops down, picks up his breakfast and flies away. I hope he didn’t mind the mzungu interruption.

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