There were certain things I was expecting on my trip to Grenada, such as beautiful beaches and spectacular sunsets. But I wasn't expecting to encounter monkeys. Perhaps I should have been because Grenada has rain forest and monkeys seem to like rain forests (as do I). Meeting my first Mona Monkey on Sunday at the entrance of Grand Etang National Park was a nice surprise.
The Mona Monkey is not indigenous to Grenada. The species came over from Ghana in the 18th century during the slave trade. One of their distinctive traits is that they have "chubby" cheeks where they can store food, like a chipmunk. To me, this kind of monkey bears a strong resemblance to the Cat in Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat, which may seem like a strange observation but there is something feline about this type of monkey (and something un-catlike about the Dr. Seuss character).
We only encountered one Mona Monkey at the entrance of the park and we didn't see any more when we were hiking to the Seven Sisters Waterfall. I asked some locals, however, and they told me that there are thousands of monkeys in Grenada, but most of them stay deep in the rain forest, which is where the residents want them to stay because they can behave quite micheviously and wreak havoc on the crops. The one that I met seemed pretty mellow and just hung out at the ledge while we all gawked at him, snapped photos and a few people even touched him. But who knows what he would have been like with a bunch of monkey friends. These monkeys have a big mouth full of teeth, as you can see in the photo of the yawning monkey below.