Free living chimpanzees make nests high up in the trees using twigs, branches and leaves. Captive chimpanzees, even those who were born at labs, often make nests too. It’s a natural chimpanzee behavior. Negra and Jody both make massive nests out of piles and piles of blankets and sheets. They carefully arrange the blankets as I imagine their counterparts in Africa carefully arrange their twigs and leaves.
I love taking apart the nests in the morning when we clean. Sometimes I feel like an archaeologist, carefully unveiling layer upon layer. Not only do they use blankets and sheets, but they also stash other treasures in their nests. Today, one of the nests I came across included a shoe, a belt, a cup, a paintbrush, a scrub-brush, and three sheets:
While we can’t give them forests and trees, it’s great to know that we’re giving them what they need to express natural chimpanzee behaviors, even if that means scrub brushes and belts! -Sarah