If you’ve ever met me you know that I love monkeys so you could imagine my joy when I saw tons of them in Bali. I knew photographing them would be challenging when one of my Indonesian friends corrected my sentence “hari ini saya mau ambil baynak foto monyet” (today I want to take many pictures of monkeys) to “hari ini saya mau ambil baynak foto monyet nakal” (today I want to take many pictures of naughty monkeys). I spent a good 5 hours in the humid forest taking photos and I wish I could have spent more… but it was getting dark and the monkeys were getting more and more bold towards me so I had to go. They were definitely naughty… I had more than half a dozen climbing all over me trying to steal things from my bag, two tried to bite me through my pants, and many would posture and screech at me when I didn’t let them climb up me.
Warning: There are some photos of injured monkeys at the end of this post.
Beautiful monkey enjoying a coconut.
Who doesn’t love a baby monkey? This little guy was actually fighting off a larger monkey when I shot this.
The joys of motherhood.
Let me tell you a secret!
This one rude British girl I met was laughing at me because I was wearing long sleeves and long pants in the hot humid forest. I told her that my doctor told me that the monkeys have rabies and that the locals told me they were naughty. She insisted on playing with them and before I knew it a monkey drew blood. She went screaming out of the forest with 5 monkeys chasing after her.
More baby monkey goodness. I didn’t nail the focus on this little fella but he is still adorable.
A wet monkey shivers on an old Balinese statue after a swim.
Some monkeys were kind enough to pose for me… or perhaps they were wondering if I was going to steal their food.
This little one surprised his mother with a quick feeding.
Proudly strutting through the jungle on top of a Balinese lizard (komodo dragon?) statue.
A monkey found a discarded closed bottle of Coca-Cola. Within 20 seconds he had it open, removed the straw, and drank it like a human would (kicked his head back and chugged it down).
Again, who doesn’t love baby monkeys?
I think this monkey stole some illicit green leafy substances from a tourist, he looks pretty stoned.
The Balinese carved tons of monkey statues in the forest.
A storm started to roll through and this monkey protected her young.
A perfect example of a crazy monkey. He followed me around for half an hour and kept making silly faces. Whenever I pointed the camera at him he ran off.
A proud father watches patiently as his son picks a fight with another young monkey.
WARNING – Not for the squeamish!
Many of my friends got upset with me for showing these photos so I am putting up a warning. Do not scroll further if you don’t want to see injured monkeys.
This poor little monkey had his scalp torn off a few days before. I was told he lost a fight and a gang of monkeys chewed and ripped his scalp clean off, exposing his skull. His mother was constantly fighting off other monkeys trying to finish the job.
This monkey had his jaw torn out in a recent fight. He was having a lot of trouble eating and the younger monkeys were stealing food from him.
This old monkey lost an eye in a fight and seemed sluggish and disoriented in his old age but unlike the younger monkeys, he seemed to be well respected. This monkey was clearly an alpha when he was in his prime and it was really touching to see younger monkeys cleaning him and bringing food to him.
I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more monkeys as I travel through Southeast Asia, they are as smart, sneaky, and naughty as a human child and equally adorable.