Around 1500 Monkeys Rule This Puerto Rican Island

This island of Puerto Rico is locally known as The Monkey Island, due to its large community of animal residents. Around 1500 rhesus macaques call Cayo Santiago home, which is an island a mile off the eastern shore of Puerto Rico.

The Research Center

During the late 1930s, primatologist Clarence Carpenter brought around 450 of this specific species from India to this 38-acre island of Puerto Rico. The main objective was to study their social behavior. That effort gradually turned into pioneering research and the natural enclave eventually grew up to be the Caribbean Primate Research Center. Under the University of Puerto Rico, this educational and research facility is now one of the world’s top institutions for studying primate behavior.

The Monkeys of the Island

From that original colony, generations of monkeys gradually descended over the years and today, they all roam freely throughout the island. They play on the sandy beaches, swim in the water, and explore its endless lush canopy of trees. The adult monkeys weigh around 20 pounds and feature straw-colored fur with a fluffy long tail. Today, the monkey community largely lives independently, without any human intervention except feedings, as the monkeys usually wreak havoc on the natural vegetation of the island.

The Diet of the Monkeys

From the very beginning, food provisions have been important to sustaining the population of these mammals, as the monkeys quickly ate and destroyed all of the island vegetation. Now, they have a regular diet of corn, coconuts, apples, papaya, seeds, and Purina Monkey Chow, which are egg-shaped, yellow-colored dry biscuits. According to Alyssa Arre, the scientific director of the research center, the monkeys like to put the monkey chow in a puddle and roll it around until it softens, before eating it. Arre also confirms that despite popular belief and media depictions, these monkeys are not big fans of bananas.

The Current Study

Currently, Arre and her group are studying the traumatic effect of Hurricane Maria on the community of these monkeys. On September 20, 2017, this category 4 hurricane pummeled the Puerto Rican island with flooding rain and wind gusts of 170 miles per hour. But while the human citizens were largely devastated by the death toll, the monkey community emerged surprisingly unscathed! Arre suspects that the monkeys survived by staying low to the ground and by taking shelter by climbing onto the two hills of the island. The ongoing research studies are still focusing on the hurricane’s effect on the behavioral pattern, social communication, and health of the monkeys on the island.

7 Sleeping Pad Options That Will Keep Every Hiker Comfortable in 2021

Young woman using a sleeping pad in the outdoors

It may not be as appealing as a backpack, a tent, or sleeping bag; however, a humble backpacking sleeping pad is just as critical as the much-touted Big Three. The warmest possible sleeping bag in the world will surely not do much good if you are lying on hard cold ground without a mattress. Being sleepy is the fastest way to ruin the trip of a lifetime, and this is why you should opt for one of the best backpacking sleeping pads for your next hike.

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad This model is perfect for three-season thru-hiking with an R-value of 4.2 in the men’s version. It comes in three variations, 47”, 72”, or 77”. The 66” women’s version is even warmer with a score of 5.4 while maintaining the same 12-ounce even better for smaller people too. It inflates to a root-smothering 2.5-inches-thick and packs tiny to roughly the same size as a Nalgene. It also comes in various lengths for a perfect fit, and an updated value, and the included pump sack make this sleeping pad the perfect choice for many.

Pros: It has an easy-to-use one-way valve, and it offers an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. Cons: Price on the narrow side, and it makes a lot of noise.

NEMO Tensor

NEMO Tensor sleeping pad This sleeping pad is extremely well suited for thru-hiking. Its insulation factors mean that it can be used functionally even on chilly nights, yet many people didn’t have any issues with it being too warm during the summer months. It held up pretty well for most of the PCT where they have used it. As mentioned above, even on the slightly taller side of the spectrum, the pad has plenty of beds to get cozy on.

Pros: It’s warm, durable, and there are two options available – mummy and rectangular Cons: It gets dirty pretty quickly, and it’s not as warm as other pads at a similar price/weight point.

Therm-A-Rest Neoair XTherm

Therm-A-Rest Neoair XTherm This model is the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any pad on the market. The R-Value of this pad is 6,9. It weighs just 15 ounces, and the full-length dimensions are comparable to most pads out there. There is no question that this model deserves top marks in the inter camping department.

Pros: Perfect warmth-to-weight ratio, one-way valve simplifies inflation, it’s well-built for durability and comfort. Cons: crackling noise, price.

Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX

Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SLX This model is rather beefy, with its 3.5-inch thickness of the Q-Core. This makes it eminently comfortable and not floppy like other pads. You could easily sleep right on top of the seriously gnarly roots and not even begin to feel them.

Pros: plenty of cushions, rectangular cut, and vertical baffles that are perfect for side sleepers, it comes in multiple lengths and width; relatively quiet. Cons: It’s prone to leakage along with baffles, longer time to inflate, not that much warmth for the weight and height. It’s also rather heavy.

Therm-a-Rest Prolite Apex

Therm-a-Rest Prolite Apex A good night’s sleep is a priority for most people. Though it’s a bit on the heavy side, this sleeping pad is perfect for every trip. Many hikers find warmer sleeping pads the better choice than a sleeping bag. The sturdy construction of this one makes it extremely resilient, even when sleeping on uneven ground.

Pros: It’s comfortable, it has a great R-value, and it’s convenient because it’s self-inflating. Cons: The self-inflation process is a bit slow.

Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Air

Sea to Summit UltraLight Insulated Air

This one is middle-of-the-road when it comes to weight, price, and R-value, but there are a few areas where it shines compared to its competitors. It earns it a spot among the best backpacking sleeping pads of 2021.

Pros: It’s not too thick. It’s quick to inflate and it offers excellent durability. Cons: Warmth, weight, cost.

Gossamer Gear Thinlight

Gossamer Gear Thinlight

This sleeping pad is too minimalist to work as a standalone one. However, that’s not the point of this item. Instead, these pads are meant to supplement your existing sleep system. The R-values are additive, so stacking this pad underneath another one can surely boost the insulation factor.

Pros: Great warmth-to-weight ratio. Cons: Not a huge boost in warmth.