- Proboscis monkeys (nasalis larvatus)
- Long-tailed macaques (macaca fascicularis)
- Pig-nosed macaques (Macaca nemestrina)
- Orang-utans (Pongo pygmaeus morio)
- Water monitor lizard (Varanus salbatur)
- Saltwater crocodiles
- Malay Boxed Turtles (Cuora amboinensis)
- White-crowned hornbills (Berenicornis comatus)
- Moon-rat (Echinosorex gymnura alba)
- Cream colored giant squirrels (Ratufa affinis)
- Large flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus) …
Here is a photo of some fruit items that I found partly eaten on the ground in Sabah:
In contrast, here is a photo of food that is fed to some captive primates:
This is just a small example using one individual species found in the rainforest. Of course the patterns of feeding are going to be different in captive environments, like zoos and sanctuaries, than what one would find in the forest. How do you think these differences may affect the behaviors of the animals either in a zoo or in the wild? Do you think it is beneficial for the animal to have to work to get their food, or is it better if less effort is necessary? The fruit from the forest that I have shown is from a tropical environment – do you think available food items are similar in our own local, temperate forests (requiring time and effort to eat)? It may be easier to feed captive animals that are local to our continent because we have the food readily available and easy to resource. The same may not be true for animals from tropical environments living in a zoo in the United States or Canada.
So, what can you do?
Inform yourself of your own nutrition – what kind of food do you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Take notes on how you feel after you eat certain products. For example, do some foods make you feel more tired or energetic than others? Do you find some foods are really quick to eat and others take more time? You can relate your own observations to how animals may feed as well.
Next time you visit a park or forest or go for a hike, look around and see what kind of food you see on the ground. You can check for bite marks, and scratches – or any indication of how the animal ate the food. You can also look for animal droppings! Animal droppings in the forest yield great clues as to what animals eat in the wild. Here is a picture of elephant droppings that were scattered all over Borneo:
Here is another photo of animal droppings. This time, I was camping in Algonquin Provincial Park, in Northern Ontario:
“We are what we eat,” and the same goes for the animals we share our environment with. Inform yourself of the food chain and you’ll realize how connected we all are with our nutritive intake, how we behave, and how we interact with others in our habitats.