“If you hear a roar in the night, don't panic it's just a howler monkey. We got lots here.”
“A what monkey?” I asked confused, checking into my river lodge.
“A howler monkey. They sound like a lion.”
I gulped, hoping not to hear their ‘roar' when I was by myself at night. I had slept in a tent on safari amongst big cats, hippos and elephants and I'd hardly had the best night's sleep in fear of the noises around me.
“You'll see them at the Baboon Sanctuary tomorrow,” the receptionist added.
Night fell, and luckily there were no roars to keep me awake. Just the calming sounds of the emerald green river flowing by.
Howler Monkey Belize
The next morning I was treated to a trip to the Baboon Sanctuary. Hoping to see bare-faced baboons swinging from the trees I was surprised to learn that ‘baboons' is actually the alias of the black howler monkey in the local Creole dialect (that sounds similar to the Jamaican Patois).
These black monkeys are actually now an endangered species and several villages in Belize have pledged to conserve their land for the protection of the Black Howler Monkey habitat.
Howler Monkey Sound
The sanctuary gives you the chance to see these roaring creatures up close. Even for a non-monkey lover like me, I found myself converted to these cute little creatures. They are so tame that they take the food from your hands and place their tiny little hands on your shoulder (they are not all like this so don't try doing this with wild ones).
Their roar is a territorial sign made possible by their large hyoid bone connecting with the windpipe to amplify their roar so loud that it can travel up to a mile away!
So next time you're in the Belizean jungle and you hear a roar, it's only a little howler monkey with a big voice.
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