Dry season drinking from terrestrial man-made watering holes in arboreal wild Temminck's red colobus, The Gambia
Abstract. Like most arboreal primates, red colobus monkeys obtain most water from plants in their diet, licking their body or drinking occasionally from standing water in tree holes. Terrestrial drinking is not normally reported for arboreal primates. Here we report observations of terrestrial drinking from man-made watering holes by Temminck's red colobus (Piliocolobus badius temminckii) in Abuko Nature Reserve and Bijilo Forest Park, The Gambia. Colobus drinking behaviour in Abuko has been reported previously by Starin (1991, 2002), mostly involving juveniles or lactating females; water was most commonly obtained by licking water from the body and leaves or obtained from tree holes. Some juveniles were seen drinking from swampy ground and puddles in the dry season, but otherwise the only terrestrial water body available to colobus during the study by Starin contained crocodiles, a known predator of red colobus at the site. Our observations show that shallow man-made watering holes that have since been created and do not harbour predators were used by different age classes. We discuss some of the implications of this behaviour for this endangered subspecies and report on the trend of increasing temperatures in The Gambia.