American scarecrows are adorable. These days they seem to be used for decorative purposes in the fall, but I assume they once functioned to scare actual crows (and other critters). Do they still? If so, acting as stand-ins when farmers are absent, scarecrows are literally and metaphorically the middlemen when it comes to human-crow interactions.
This Thanksgiving I would like to share with you a few pictures of Indonesian scaremonkeys- similar to American scarecrows in original purpose (to protect crops from pests) but different in design and function. The scaremonkeys I saw ranged from a sheet between two poles…
…to a jacket on a stick…
…to other more colorful and creative interpretations.
While we can admire the resourcefulness and optimistic intent of these scaremonkeys, the truth is that both monkeys and crows are too smart for this trickery. I can’t speak for American farmers, but the best bet for the Indonesian farmers I knew was to cut out the middleman and do the monkey scaring themselves.
I guess the moral of this story is: Don’t expect too much from a sheet on a stick or a plaid shirt stuffed with straw (except for maybe some aesthetic farm charm).
Happy Thanksgiving, fellow primates!