Archive for the ‘Nesting’ Category

Morning grooming fest

Monday, June 12th, 2017

When I arrived to the chimp house this morning I found the whole family (with the exception of Missy who was still asleep in her nest) at the top of the sunny greenhouse together nesting and grooming. Grooming is extremely important in chimp society. While it does serve to care for wounds and keep each other clean, it’s a primary means of building relationships, maintaining bonds, and offering comfort.

The chimps had a doozy of an argument yesterday (as chimps’ often do) and while it was pretty much resolved by the end of the day, it was really nice to see everyone relaxing together this morning, amends made, grievances forgiven. The business of chimp families.

Annie and Negra (background):

Annie self-grooming:

Annie in her nest, Jamie grooming Jody:

Jamie is grooming Negra, but Burrito was actually trying to get Negra to play by ruffling her hair, play-stomping and laughing. Negra was not remotely interested in anything but being groomed.

After making the grooming rounds with her chimp family, Foxie swung down to say hi:

It’s been a peaceful day in the chimp house. And good thing, because the chimps need to rest up for the big celebration tomorrow! Not only is it their 9th anniversary since arriving to their sanctuary home (9 years?!!), but it’s Negra’s 44th honorary birthday! And it’s going to be a party fit for a Queen, naturally.

Easter 2017 Part II

Monday, April 17th, 2017

The day after the big celebration the chimpanzees have been napping, resting and eating light, recovering from yesterday’s all day party! As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, here are a few photos from the first Young’s Hill forage of the year (aka Easter Party #2):

Annie picking carrots we “buried” for the chimps to harvest:

Jody and Negra (Negra was ALL over the place! It was her day 🙂 ):

Jody finds a quiet spot to enjoy her spoils:

Missy scored on corn:

Foxie and Dora on the hunt for Easter eggs filled with nuts and berries:

Boss lady, Jamie, thrilled with her beloved leeks:

And a bonus video of Easter shenanigans from the breakfast forage:

Today’s happenings

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Hands down, today is the loveliest day we’ve seen in quite some time. The air is fresh and the with only a slight breeze. The chimps have been enjoying themselves with a variety of choices today, from roaming Young’s Hill throughout the day to nesting and grooming in the toasty sun-warmed greenhouse, to crazy games in the playroom.

Foxie began her day by tossing her new France Dora doll on her back (this is how chimp mamas carry their young) and heading up Young’s Hill for a morning stroll:

Missy has been asking for weeks to have the barn doors at the end of the playroom open so she can see if the garden popped up overnight yet. We usually give her a quick peek, but it’s still too cold to leave them open for more than a few minutes. But today was the first time it was actually warm enough to leave them open for about an hour so the chimps enjoyed sitting in the sun and watching Keri begin garden preparation!

Missy took a break from garden duty to head over for a game of ghost tug o’ war with me. You know that game, right? Put a blanket over your head and play tug o’ war? And then stand on your head, of course (Missy, not me!).

Of course, Jamie made sure to supervise Keri with all those tools (someone had to):

Jody enjoyed snoozing in a sun puddle:

And I think dear, sweet Annie summed up the day best for all of us as she closed her eyes and lifted her face to the sun:



Some days are best for a nest

Monday, March 27th, 2017

The sun has filled the chimp house with light and the chimps with high spirits and shenanigans, but the spring wind is chilly today so the chimps have spent the afternoon enjoying sunny spots from the comfort of their nests this afternoon. Much how I spent my weekend, so who can blame them?


Jody enjoying a magazine:

Burrito keeping an eye on good friend, Jody, from afar:



To Each Her Own

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

One of the most important things we offer to the chimpanzees here at the sanctuary is the freedom of choice. We provide the ingredients for a happy, healthy life, and the chimps take what they want and leave what they don’t.

Blankets are one of those ingredients. We put out so many blankets each day that there are plenty for everyone who wants them. Surprisingly, though, not everyone does.

Most of the chimps use the blankets we offer to build big, soft nests. The process of building the nest is just as important as the end result. They painstakingly wrap each blanket around their bodies or spread them out underneath them in just the right configuration. Sometimes they weave the blankets through or around other objects or structures.

This morning Jamie and Foxie were each “nesting” in their own way just a few feet from each other in the playroom, and the difference in their styles was apparent. They do have one thing in common: they like to have their favorite things nearby.

Foxie and a troll doll:

Jamie and a boot:

But that’s where the similarities end. Jamie likes to gather as many blankets as she can and twist and wrap them into a big, cushy circle.

Foxie, though, prefers the heated floor.

As much as it might make our own bones ache a little to see her lying on the bare floor, we appreciate that everyone has their own idea of comfort. Foxie makes her own choices, and we’ll always celebrate her in all her quirky glory.

Fall in Love with Jody

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

Jody has just 29 Pals right now. Watch the video, fall in love, and become Jody’s Chimpanzee Pal!


Is That Neggie or Fake Neggie?

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

I’ll begin with an explanation of what the title of this blog actually means. “Neggie” is one of Negra’s nicknames, which is pretty straight forward. “Fake Neggie” is one of Missy’s nicknames, but Fake Neggie is not exactly short for Missy. So, how did Missy get that nickname you might ask? Keep reading to find out.

Blankets are among one of Negra’s favorite things. Wherever Negra is, there are usually blankets nearby. She can often be seen with a blanket covering her head, while she is napping. She also has a few favorite spots throughout the various enclosures where she prefers to build her nests. Here are a couple of photo examples of Negra with a blanket over her head.

Missy also likes to build elaborate nests to rest in (yes, the energizer bunny does like to rest up sometimes.) She too, sometimes likes to cover herself with a blanket.

Here are a few photos of Missy, with her head covered by a blanket.

Missy also likes to take over Negra’s nest, when Negra is not using it. This can sometimes make identifying these two chimps a little more challenging. Here is a good example of Missy (aka, Fake Neggie) with a blanket over her head, next to the real Neggie.

Okay, now that you know Neggie and Fake Neggie, who do you think is wrapped up in this nest?

The answer is……Neggie!

Chimpanzee shenanigans

Friday, January 27th, 2017

Today the chimps started out arguing and fighting and ripping and hooting, a little more than usual. But whatever family business they had to work out seems to have been resolved and they’ve spent the afternoon lounging about and engaging in a variety of goofy and endearing shenanigans.

Jamie has a routine of building a nest in one of the front rooms and napping/supervising the humans as we clean the playroom. Even while at rest, she usually has a project or a plan in progress…

and today she chose this:

Jamie is very creative and often likes to repurpose her enrichment:

(Happy Jamie flailing about):

Viola! From sock to ankle bandana:

Later in the afternoon, Foxie joined Jamie nesting in the playroom. Here is a good example of different nesting styles – Foxie doesn’t like to use blankets, whereas Jamie gets pretty creative:

With these two, it isn’t long before wrestling ensues:

And here it is folks, the ever-elusive Jamie play face!!:

Foxie is the one person who can really get Jamie to cut loose. But Jamie takes everything pretty seriously (she is the boss after all) so even when she is in full play mode, we don’t often catch a play face. So we need that in a closeup:

Foxie laughing as Jamie play bites her hand:

And last, but certainly not least, I leave you with this guy:



The Essentials

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

Jamie gathered a “few” essentials to add to her nest this morning. And by a few, I mean, a bucket (filled with snow), a few cups, a Dora doll, a scrub brush, a large LEGO piece, a few wooden toys, and two black boots. Other pieces of enrichment were added throughout the day including a nail file, a tooth brush and a left over Christmas stocking.

Balancing out all that holiday excitement

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

There is really only one right way to spend the day after your second Christmas party in a row.

Let Negra be your guide: