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  #1  
Old 29 March 2007, 08:44 PM
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Whalephant How to catch a monkey

Comment: There is a story that says in Africa (and India), the natives use a
technique to catch monkeys. They hollow out one end of a coconut and they
put peanuts in there (I've also heard bananas..but same concept). The
monkey puts his hand in the coconut and when he makes a fist to grab the
peanuts, he's trapped. The natives will pull a string attached to the
other end of the coconut and capture the monkey.

Motivational speakers use this story all the time to inspire people to
"let go" of their old perceptions - since in truth, the monkey was never
trapped. All he had to do was let go of the peanuts.
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Old 29 March 2007, 09:01 PM
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I remember seeing this done in a animal/documentary style show, but they didn't use coconuts.

There was kind of a earthen berm/hill thing they dug a narrow hole in. They then placed food inside the holes. The monkeys (and I can't even begin to remember what type - this was a loooong time ago) could just get their hands inside, but when they clenched their fists to grab the food they became 'trapped'. It didn't occur to them right away to just let go of the food to get their hands back. I think they probably would have eventually figured it out, but as soon as they were stuck someone would jump out from behind a rock to capture the monkey.

So I've seen something similar done, but I couldn't begin to verify where or when I saw that thing. Almost as bad as FOAF, but at least I remember seeing it myself.
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Old 29 March 2007, 09:10 PM
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Okay, I must be watching to much Peter Sellers because I read that as "How to catch a minky"
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  #4  
Old 29 March 2007, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fowlplay View Post
I remember seeing this done in a animal/documentary style show, but they didn't use coconuts.

There was kind of a earthen berm/hill thing they dug a narrow hole in. They then placed food inside the holes. The monkeys (and I can't even begin to remember what type - this was a loooong time ago) could just get their hands inside, but when they clenched their fists to grab the food they became 'trapped'. It didn't occur to them right away to just let go of the food to get their hands back. I think they probably would have eventually figured it out, but as soon as they were stuck someone would jump out from behind a rock to capture the monkey.

So I've seen something similar done, but I couldn't begin to verify where or when I saw that thing. Almost as bad as FOAF, but at least I remember seeing it myself.
I'm trying to picture this monkey trap hill. It's not making sense.

If what you say is true, then no monkey has ever removed food from this hill. No monkey has ever even seen another monkey get food from the hill. I'm also curious how the monkey catcher gets the monkey. If the monkey won't let go of the food, does the guy have to cut its arm off?

Quote:
Motivational speakers use this story all the time to inspire people to
"let go" of their old perceptions - since in truth, the monkey was never
trapped. All he had to do was let go of the peanuts.
... and by letting go of the trappings of the motivational speakers - you truly set yourself free.
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  #5  
Old 29 March 2007, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
If what you say is true, then no monkey has ever removed food from this hill. No monkey has ever even seen another monkey get food from the hill. I'm also curious how the monkey catcher gets the monkey. If the monkey won't let go of the food, does the guy have to cut its arm off?
Yeah, I can't seem to word it exactly right to give a mind's eye visual. Essentially it was a small hole in the side of a 'wall'. I can't remember how they lured them in. I think it may have been as simple as leaving a trail of crumbs etc. to the hole. They would stick their hands in and get pretty upset. They didn't want to give up the food, but they still wanted to get away. I can't remember how they made them let go, but I think most of them did themselves after a few moments.

Also I use 'monkey' very loosely here. They were some kind of primate, but like I said this was a long time ago I don't remember the particulars very well. I just remember being slightly amused at the simplicity of the trap.
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  #6  
Old 29 March 2007, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barns & No Bull View Post
I'm trying to picture this monkey trap hill. It's not making sense.

If what you say is true, then no monkey has ever removed food from this hill. No monkey has ever even seen another monkey get food from the hill. I'm also curious how the monkey catcher gets the monkey. If the monkey won't let go of the food, does the guy have to cut its arm off?
I remember seeing a film or films involving catching monkeys using this method. I was just a kid in elementary school, and it was probably one of those Disney nature documentaries like the one with the lemmings, so take it for what it's worth.

Monkey catching methods I remember:

1. Termites in a termite mound. This is probably the "hill" that Fowlplay is remembering. Maybe the people watched the monkeys around the mounds, waiting for one to get its hand stuck this way. Once the monkey is caught, it gets scared and lets go of the food, so the person can bag it.

2. Goodies in a jar. Same as above. Greedy monkey won't let go of the food, and can't get his fist out. Hunter scoops up monkey and jar and takes both home.

3. Salt chunks. I can't remember exactly how this one worked. The hunter put big pieces of rock salt out where there wasn't much water around, and put a source of water where the monkey could find it, and the man could easily trap it. Monkeys eat salt like candy, then get hideously thirsty, and voila, monkey in the hole. Or something.
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  #7  
Old 29 March 2007, 09:41 PM
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How to catch an elephant...

Equipment needed:

Binoculars
Coke bottle
Tweezers

Directions: Walk around Africa until you find an elephant. Get as close as you can without endangering yourself. Look at the elephant through the wrong end of the binoculars. Pick up the elephant with the tweezers and drop him in the bottle.
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  #8  
Old 29 March 2007, 09:43 PM
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Barns, I'm getting the impression you were never a Marlon Perkins fan as a kid.
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  #9  
Old 29 March 2007, 09:47 PM
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He was my dad, and I'll never forgive him for what he would bring home.
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Old 29 March 2007, 10:03 PM
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Searches for "how to catch a monkey" and "monkey trap hand stuck" both come up with pages and pages of hits for this kind of story. There's never anything to back it up.

We've just got my and Fowlplay's memories. Tsk.

I tried hunting up videos on youtube, but didn't find anything like I'm remembering.
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  #11  
Old 29 March 2007, 10:04 PM
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Old 29 March 2007, 10:08 PM
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I'm not sure what you're getting at there, babe.
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  #13  
Old 29 March 2007, 10:12 PM
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It's all about keeping you talking to me.
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Old 29 March 2007, 11:45 PM
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I knew I'd find a video on youtube.

Now, this is not exactly the same film that I saw when I was in third grade, but it gets the general idea across.
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Old 30 March 2007, 01:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spam & Cookies-mmm View Post
I knew I'd find a video on youtube.

Now, this is not exactly the same film that I saw when I was in third grade, but it gets the general idea across.
Not exactly, eh?
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Old 30 March 2007, 01:38 AM
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I remember reading something similar to this in Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park. Except they were catching fishers, not monkeys. Also instead of just having a hole, they had a hole in a tree that was lined with nails set at an angle. When the fisher shoved his paw in to grab the bait it slid past the nails, but when he goes to pull his paw out he is impaled on the sharp ends of the spikes.

I remember this clearly because everytime I read that part of the book it made my stomach (and hand) crawl. I suppose fishers are just too smart not to let go of the bait, so they had to "add a little something extra" to the trap.
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  #17  
Old 30 March 2007, 04:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spam & Cookies-mmm View Post
Monkey catching methods I remember:

1. Termites in a termite mound. This is probably the "hill" that Fowlplay is remembering. Maybe the people watched the monkeys around the mounds, waiting for one to get its hand stuck this way. Once the monkey is caught, it gets scared and lets go of the food, so the person can bag it.
The holes in termite mounds are too small for monkey hands. They would have to be enlarged for this to work. If you saw this one on a Disney program, they no doubt hollowed out the mound to position a person inside to grab the monkey's hand.

Quote:
2. Goodies in a jar. Same as above. Greedy monkey won't let go of the food, and can't get his fist out. Hunter scoops up monkey and jar and takes both home.
That jar better be a big ceramic moonshine jug. Otherwise the monkey will just flee from the hunter with the jar on his hand.

Quote:
3. Salt chunks. I can't remember exactly how this one worked. The hunter put big pieces of rock salt out where there wasn't much water around, and put a source of water where the monkey could find it, and the man could easily trap it. Monkeys eat salt like candy, then get hideously thirsty, and voila, monkey in the hole. Or something.
Or something. Did you eat Jimson seeds as a child?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chest Horsenut
I suppose fishers are just too smart not to let go of the bait, so they had to "add a little something extra" to the trap.
A fisher can't hold "bait" in its paw. They don't have anything like a hand, so they can't grasp something. If a fisher wanted to remove bait from a tree hole, it would have to scoop it out. If it isn't wrapping its toes around the bait - it doesn't ever get the paw trapped in the hole. So that means that the spikes weren't used because the hole alone didn't work. Of course this is all creative fiction in Gorky Park.

Can you imagine the tedious labor involved in embedding all of those tiny nails facing inwards within a hole? All that is done on a tree standing out there in the wilderness? Then you finally snag one and some stupid hawk decides to eat it after seeing it flopping on the side of a pine trunk. Screw that.

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Old 30 March 2007, 04:18 AM
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I flipped through the book, just to see if I was remembering the description correctly. Turned out I wasn't. It wasn't the fisher's paw that got caught by the nail...IT WAS THE HEAD!

(Cue Psycho violin music.)
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  #19  
Old 30 March 2007, 04:42 AM
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This was described as a method to trap raccoons in the 1961 book Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Grandpa is explaining to Billy a surefire way to catch raccoons:

Quote:
"Now the first thing you'll need is some bright objects," he said. "The best thing is bright shiny tin. Cut out some little round pieces, a little smaller than this bit. Do you understand?"

I nodded my head.

"Now," he said, "You go down along the river where there are a lot of coon tracks. Find a good solid log close by and bore a hole down about six inches. Drop one of the bright pieces of tin down the hole, and be sure it's laying right on the bottom."

...[snipped for brevity]...

He took four of the horseshoe nails from the sack. With the thumb and forefinger of his left hand he made a small "o" about the size of the bit, which was an inch and a half in diameter.

"Now, say this is the hole you bored in the log," he said. "About an inch apart, drive these nails in a slant opposite each other...the ends of the nails will enter the hole about halfway between the top and the piece of tin," he continued. "Leave an opening between the sharp points big enough for a coon to get his paw through."

...[snipped for brevity]...

"...You see a coon is a curious animal. Anything that is bright and shiny attracts him. He will reach in and pick it up. When his paw closes on the brigh object it balls up, and when he starts to pull it out from the hole, the sharp ends of the nails will gouge into his paw and he's caught."
Billy thinks this sounds like a pretty good method until he realizes that all the raccoon has to do is open his paw to release the tin, and he can get free. He doesn't believe his grandfather's story, so Grandpa gives an anecdote of a raccoon getting caught in a butter churn because he refused to open his fist and release the butter. Billy builds several traps and eventually catches a raccoon with them.

Although the book is fiction, it's based on the real lives and experiences of Appalachian coon hunters during the Great Depression. The book was the first, and until now the only, place where I'd read about this type of a trap. So since many of you have listed other places and animals on which this type of trap has been used, I'm inclined to think it's based in reality.

it would be quite easy to build this trap yourself and see if you catch a raccoon, but I'm not sure what you'd do with it afterwards. In the book, Billy's dad has to bludgeon the raccoon because they couldn't get it loose any other way. Now that Billy has a pelt with which to train his hunting dogs, he promises his family not to use such traps anymore, because they're unsportsmanlike and cruel.
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Old 30 March 2007, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PallasAthena View Post
Not exactly, eh?
I tried too hard to find something. I couldn't post nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barns & No Bull View Post
Or something. Did you eat Jimson seeds as a child?
Or something. But really, I do remember seeing a monkey trapped in this manner in a film. The action in the film might have been faked, but the film existed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
it would be quite easy to build this trap yourself and see if you catch a raccoon, but I'm not sure what you'd do with it afterwards.
My dog won't let any 'coons in my yard. Someone else'll have to try this.
Whatever you do, get it on film!
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