Some time back we were woken by the unmistakable call of a soim Callithrix jacchus, if you imagine elongating their name, saying it like an extrememly high pitched whistle of the sort that makes your ears ring, with a rise in inflection on the “I”, SoooooooIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIImmmmmmmmmm that best describes their call, a bit much at 5 in the morning and not my favourite way of waking up. My ears buzzing with the noise, I looked up and saw a soim watching us from the top of the wall under the roof beams (they also have a call like a chirupping bird which is very sweet and much nicer to listen to).
Apparently one of our neighbours was out in the forest and came across the baby soim on the ground, they assumed it had been abandonned by the rest of its group and so brought the baby home, it now lives free in the gardens. Personally I don’t think they should have picked it up, it’s quite possible that the rest of its group were around somewhere and would have come back for it. Soim’s need the social interaction of a group and this one is now tormenting our cat, I think it thinks the cat is another monkey but the cat is not at all keen and as soims can give a nasty bite I don’t blame her. It would also quite like to play with the dogs, who judging from their furious response, would like to eat it but stand little chance of catching it as it flits through the bushes and trees around the house. I’m trying to train them out of reacting to it because hearing three dogs going mental in the garden at 5 in the morning is not a good way to wake up either and they are wrecking my plants as they charge around after it. This morning the cheaky thing was in the hammock, which really upset the dog, she likes to sleep there!
Soim are quite common, especially here in the northeast which is their native area, these small monkeys live in groups of between 5 and 15 individuals, feeding on fruit, seeds, insects, small mammels and birds, eggs and insects, they have specially adapted teeth to make holes in tree bark to allow them to release and feed on tree gum, which plays an important part in their diet.
Soim are often captured to be raised as pets, they look so cute its easy to understand why but as well as being damaging for them as they dislike being handled and need their social group, it is also potentially damaging for humans, like I said they can inflict a nasty bite and are a natural resevoir for many unplesant and potentially fatal illnessess, all the more reason for not wanting it in the house.