I learned very quickly that the monkeys kept at the Wildlife Friends Thailand and Laos Rescue Center's were indeed very cheeky!
During my tour when I first arrived at Thailand we were warned not to walk under gibbons cages for fear of getting our hair pulled or deliberately urinated on! And little 'Tiny' an orphaned macaque who was quiet tame was constantly stealing shoes, food and trying to reach your threw the bars of his cage.
But nothing quiet prepared me for my experience in Laos. There were two macaques who sadly had been kept in a small cage with only each other for quiet some time, this meant they had some behavioral issues such as very disturbing erotic relationship with each other, and a mutual dislike for the human species! Lucky for them the Laos Rescue Center is making their lives better every day, not that they knew this of course or they may not have been such little terrors.
One day we were preparing to check over some juvenile black bears when a tiny Laotian lady ran up to Michelle and I (both of whom can only say hello and thank you in Laotian!) and she seemed very distressed. She kept pointing into the quarantine area so we followed her in.
She was pointing at the two Macaques... they didn't seem to be doing anything wrong as far as I could tell but she kept pointing and talking so we knew something was up. After a minute or two of confusion, the largest male pulled a key chain packed full with keys out his mouth! And if course these were the keys to open all of the cages, including theirs!
I figured hey I'm a smart lady, I can figure this out. All the while remembering I couldn't get with in arms reach of the cage for fear of the Macaques retribution! SO I tried spraying him with a hose... he didn't care... I tried making loud noises... he didn't care... in fact while I was trying to spray the keys out his hands he looked me right in the eye and peeled the keys of the chain and ate them one by one...
We didn't plan for the day to go like this... Michelle ran off to find our vet tech so we could dart the monkeys while I continued in vain to convince him eating keys wasn't in his best interest.
Finally Taos (Vet tech) arrived and we separated the Macaques into adjoining cages so we could dart the key eating offender. Thankfully the darting went well... but before our friend got sleepy he walked over to the other cage and handed the dart to the other macaque, who quickly proceeded to eat it.
SO now we had two sleepy monkeys on our hands! Lucky for them they had simply 'stored' the keys and dart with in their cheek pouches and they were all retrieved easily, although a little chewed.
A day with wildlife can never go quiet as planned, and I now know Monkeys really are cheeky!