Monkey Business in Barbados

August 23, 2019

They interfere with your crops, steal your food, throw things at you, and trespass on your property. They run around on your roof, tease your pets, and show up at your kitchen window, peering in expectantly. What are these furry little pests that have inundated Barbados with impish, out-of-place behaviour and dare to bite up your okras because you had the audacity to fend them off the day before?

Enter the green monkeys of Barbados, brought to the island from west Africa in the 17th century and indeed a holy terror! In earlier times they confined themselves to the fields and gullies of the countryside, but time and development have forced them into urban areas. From the terraces of St. James to the backyards of St. Philip to the side streets of St. Michael, these feisty little rascals (some not so little!) rove around in small groups displaying their mischievous and spiteful nature, often at your expense. If this sounds too funny to be true, check out some real accounts of monkey business in Barbados:

“A local potter we get pottery from said the nearby farmer was digging his yams and kept looking back as he had several heaps of yams – when he was right to the other end of the field, the monkeys appeared and ran off with yams!” – Charmaine, St. James

‘If I could just get inside…..’ – Blair, Christ Church

“They literally would come into the yard and taunt the two Jack Russells my Mom had. Then as the dogs would try to chase them, they would run, climb high into the trees and laugh at the dogs. My mom swears they would sometimes throw mangoes at them! It was torture for the dogs. They would bark like crazy. It was bedlam in Mom’s yard!” – Jenny, Christ Church

Thief!! – Russell, Christ Church

“I remember my neighbor had a mango tree in his backyard which grew some big lovely mangoes and I remember eyeing this one bunch which hung over the paling by my grandmother. I left school a day with this mango on my mind, ran up the road, threw down my bag on the front step and ran into the backyard just in time to see a monkey grab the whole bunch off the stem. I felt so defeated”. – Julie, St. Lucy

Hanging out at the neighbour’s – Kimmy, Christ Church

“Roughly six, seven years ago, I had a small dog named Frodo. As is the case with most small Jack Russell types, Frodo had spirit and bravery way bigger than his body. One day I figured he had had enough of the teasing from the monkeys and I believe he must have caught up with one of the smaller ones and attacked it, only for a much larger male of the troop to witness. The large male in turn attacked Frodo, giving him quite a bit of damage. I promptly took him to the vet where he had to get a few stitches. He fully recovered and was soon back to his usual very energetic and spirited self but now with much greater respect for his neighbors, the monkeys.” – Dave, St. Philip

A break from the mischief-making – Russell, Christ Church

“They occupy the patio at the back of the house as long as there are no vehicles parked at the house. They assume no one’s at home.” – Sonia, St. George

“There was this lady who ran about three monkeys from her soursop tree. They returned when she was not around and bit all of the soursops, ripe and young.” – Mikey, St. Andrew

Neighbours away = monkeys come out to play! – Kesha, St. James

“On one occasion I saw a baby monkey in a tree at the Wildlife Reserve. I raised my hand, motioning it to come to me, and it was actually coming to me! The mother caught sight of what was going and snatched the baby away, all the time giving me the evil eye.” – Taurean, St. Peter

“You see they used my patio as a toilet!” – Erskine, St. Peter

“Growing up, we used to have lots of monkeys running around our backyard, but one thing that stood out was when my Grandma would be cooking in the kitchen. One day while rolling flour to make dumplings, she turned her back to the kitchen area. One or two monkeys rushed through the window, swooped up the dumplings, and went back through the window.” – Ronald, St. Michael

“They’re coming out of the gully behind my house to get at my crops.” – Remi, St. Lucy

“I never got too close to them because if you threw rocks at them, they had a tendency to respond in kind. As well, the monkey population in the village was relatively small and fluid. They didn’t stay in one location too long and moved on to other neighbouring properties in search of fruits and other food!” – Victor, St. Joseph

‘What are you looking at?’ – Tasha, St. John

“The monkeys keep interfering with his dog. They aren’t really a nuisance to him or the house but they drive Diesel crazy, and Diesel’s a ridiculously large dog!” – Taurean, St. Thomas

“On mornings you would hear them running around on the roof. My sister would tell me it was the birds because I was so afraid of them!” Holly – St. John