On the island of St Kitts in the Caribbean local monkeys have joined their human counterparts in developing an affection for rum and all things alcohol. Vervet monkeys arrived on the island 300 years ago along with slaves brought to supply the rum industry. True to their roots they like to tip a few under the warm tropical sun. Visitors who do not keep a sharp eye out may quickly find their cocktails snatched by thirsty and ever sneaky monkeys. Apparently the monkeys have differing tastes in their cocktail of choice with some preferring alcohol free options. But watch out for the rest of them.
Interesting parallels have been drawn between these four legged drinkers and humans. Studies over the years have determined that:
- Some monkeys can control their drinking while others do not know when to stop
- Some monkeys do not drink alcohol at all and at the same percentage as is found in human kind
- Similar to people, 12% of monkeys drink in moderation and 5% drink to the last drop
And it appears that monkeys that are heavy drinkers make better leaders. Maybe Animal House had it right all along. If John Belushi were still alive today our national pastime might include FOOD FIGHTS!
Check out YouTube to see the Vervet monkeys in action.
Ever in search of strange wildlife, we once again find ourselves in the magical land of New Zealand, this time focusing our attention on the Kakapo or as it is affectionately known as the owl parrot. One quick look at its face and you can easily understand the name given by the local Maori meaning “night owl”. The entire population of Kakapos totals 120 due in part to their tasty flavor, an inability to fly, and the introduction of predatory animals by man. Here is a link with a whole bunch of pictures of our friend.
Kakapo far out facts
- The worlds only flightless parrot
- The worlds only nocturnal parrot
- Although it does not fly, the Kakapo does parachute from tree tops by spreading its wings
- The worlds heaviest parrot tipping the scales at up to 9 pounds [that's a lot of feathers!]
- One of the worlds longest living birds with an average age of 95 and a maximum of 120 years
- The lowest rate of reproduction of any birds breeding only in years when the trees fruit heavily to provide a good amount of food, typically every 3-5 years
With the Kakapo population precariously low, there are numerous efforts to help assure their survival including the Kakapo Recovery Programme well worth your review if you are interested in helping out.
As a native Californian and appreciator of all things nature, I have seen my fair share of redwood trees. One of my favorite escapes is Muir Woods where I can wander the various trails and look up in an effort to see the ultimate tips of these monstrous trees. The peace and quiet is just what the doctor ordered to get away from Bay Area craziness.
Redwoods are officially known as Sequoia Sempervirens which is Latin for “forever living” something they come close to doing. Though widespread 60 million years ago, today their kingdom is limited to a 450 mile stretch of land along California and into Oregon.
Far Out Facts
- Giant redwoods are the tallest trees in the world reaching heights up to 378 feet. Check out this very cool video of Steve Sillett climbing to the top of a big redwood.
- In the redwood canopy 300 feet above the ground exists a unique ecosystem supporting a wide variety of plants and animals found only there.
- Their base can be 22 feet in diameter and they would tip the scales at 1.6 million pounds.
- Giant Sequoias can live up to 3200 years - if they could only speak, what a history lesson they could share!
- The bark on Giant Sequoias grows up to three feet thick.