My First Day on BCI

Today was my first day on Barro Colorado Island. The scenery is very pretty. The vegetation is abundant. The day started hot and humid, the way it often is in a rainforest. But the real heat came at noon time with a heat that enveloped me, and a hot breeze. For this reason, there is a big contrast between the day time and the night time in the rainforest. Early in the morning birds can be heard and seen when they go looking for food. They can be seen very early in the morning before the weather gets too hot. Also monkeys get out early in the morning. They can be seen eating fruit on the trees, jumping from branch to branch, playing, and sometimes, even fighting for their food. One of the species on Barro Colorado are the Howler Monkeys. These monkeys are black or dark brown, they have long, thick, and shiny hair. They live in communities called troops, and travel together. They can be heard from far away in the morning and evening. Sometimes they use this howling to mark their territory: they are very jealous of their space. Because of this, it is very common to hear one group yelling to another group to prevent invasion of their territory.

On our walk today, we saw a group of about 10 monkeys eating fruits on the trees. They were very active, jumping from branch to branch, from tree to tree. The sweetest thing was to see a mom carrying her baby who wasn't much bigger than my hand. I would have loved to climb the tree and take him in my arms, but I'm pretty sure mom wouldn't be very happy. We kept on walking, and under one of the big trees we saw two coatis fighting for food. They were having a pretty serious fight. But, all of a sudden, they stopped and each one went its own way. To my surprise, more coatis were coming looking for their morning food. The coatis are relatively small mammals. They have brown or orangy fur on most of their body, but around their eyes and their chin the fur is white. Their long muzzle helps them find food and smell the animals that maybe dangerous to them. Because coatis are shy animals, we need to stay still and quiet if we want to observe them. Coatis are diurnal mammals, they sleep at night and are active during the day. Usually, they eat the fruits that have fallen from the trees. When there isn't enough food they climb the trees to find their meals. On this occasion, two coatis where on the top of the tree dropping fruits to their friends. The adult coatis of the group are usually the ones to climb the trees while the younger ones stay down below eating. It is great to see animals providing for their families!