If I could have taken this love bug home, I would have.
We went back to Raquel’s Ark yesterday because Arran’s siblings were dying to go and we loved having an excuse to go back. Their sanctuary’s goal is to rehabilitate and release animals into the wild but in some cases, that’s not an option. If that’s the case, they provide long term care for the animals which means, you never know what animals you’ll meet when you visit.
She’s had the sloths, Jessie and Kira since they were babies, they’re now 9 years old and aren’t going anywhere soon (or fast). We got to feed them some almonds. Jessie was too busy to even lift his head while we fed him, definitely my spirit animal! They mainly go by their sense of smell, if you notice, their pupils are really small but their noses are big.
She has a raccoon and jaguarundi that hang out together. You can pet them both. The raccoon has lived there since he was a baby so he’s people friendly. I never even knew there was an animal called a jaguarundi, had to look it up. It’s closely related to a cougar and is endangered due to loss of habitat. This one seemed to love poking at the raccoon and riling it up.
In a cage separate from the jaguarundi is an actual jaguar. It’s ridiculous how close we can get to this jaguar. The jaguar is 18 years old, I believe. The first three years of its life, it was kept as a pet and then in a cage for 13 years. At the sanctuary it has a bit more room to move and is housed in between the monkeys and the raccoon and jaguarundi. It’s probably imagining what would be more delicious. It had just recently had a rabbit lunch when we visited.
Next up are the monkeys but we’ll go back to them, since anything after will be anti-climatic. She currently has a weasel that loves to run back and forth in it’s cage. That sucker is fast!
Raquel has a lot of coatimundi, they are over hunted for their meat. The ones at the sanctuary love to have their bellies rubbed.
That brings us back to the monkeys!
This male spider monkey is in a separate cage from the main monkey cage. Raquel received him and the female (who is quite shy) 3 months ago and will be trying over the next day or two to add him to the mix. The little ones have no problem with him and go into his cage when it’s time to eat.
On my last post, I mentioned the white faced capuchin being mischievous. He was so naughty that he was put in a separate cage, he’s in a time out.
We did get to play more with the other monkeys. They are adorable. The howler monkeys were a little over a year old and those were the ones we played with. One of them (the one we call love bug), the one who likes to just hang on our shoulders seems to be more baby like, he makes a crying sound that just melts your heart. He was so sad when we left and we were sad to leave him. The Brit pulled him off of me when I was trying to leave (and because he wanted some cuddle time) and love bug peed on him, so he’s been baptized as well!
The other two howlers just loved to jump all over the place. They were so much fun and they loved the attention. They also loved to jump on top of each other and nibble each other. So usually where one runs, the other follows.
Thus ends our time at Raquel’s Ark. Probably one of my most favorite experiences ever while traveling. Getting to play with monkeys and hold sloths was amazing. I’m not even a huge animal person, I’ve never had a pet but this visit might have changed that. If you’re ever anywhere near the Volcan region of Panama, Raquel’s Ark is a must do! If you would like to donate to her sanctuary, you can paypal her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a short video of the monkeys crawling all over me (and nibbling me).