Preta

Sri Lanka is just hopping with animals. Hundreds of different mammals, reptiles, and amphibians live here, as well as thousands of different birds and fish, not to mention insects and flora. And my kind, the pretas, have the honor of it being the only part of the world to which we are indigenous.

I am a striped preta, one of the most well-known of prosimian primates, along with the ring-tailed lemur of Madagascar. I'm diurnal, meaning that I'm out and about during the daytime right now. And I am not alone, either. My family group is with me right now. We number about two dozen individuals, and my two mates and our children are among our number. It's always a pleasure to watch as my favorite female carries her baby around on her back like a piggyback ride.

We settle down by some bushes and trees and some of us, myself included, start to scramble up the trees, where we begin to shake down some nuts and acorns for the whole group to eat. Then we go down and join the feast. Some of the others, however, including my mates, prefer to eat vegetation, like the leaves on the trees and bushes, and they pluck off some of said leaves to eat. Like many primates, we also digest some soil to help with digesting other food. I remember this as I'm eating, and I pull up some dry dirt and swallow it. Needless to say, it doesn't taste very good, but I need it to help me survive.

Then I spend some time grooming my favorite mate and her baby. I live in a multi-male group, but I like to spend time with my family when I can. Of course, sometimes the females in our group try to dominate the males in our little group, and though they haven't succeeded so far, they certainly are strong enough that they could succeed someday. My other mate starts displaying signs of aggression with one of my brother pretas at that moment. She hisses and dances around on the ground, her big eyes wide. He growls back and gets up on his haunches, lunging at her. Reluctantly, she grabs her baby and climbs up a tree. When she gets to the top, she uses her prehensile tail to hang from a branch, and shakes a fist at my brother, as if saying that this isn't over, which probably is what she meant.

My life is a relatively easy one, but my people and I, like all other primates, have to watch out for the activities of humans, who are destroying our forests. It doesn't seem to happen as much on Sri Lanka, fortunately, but that could change on any day. So I intend to remain alert for anything that might come and disrupt our lives.