Although we have never witnessed Burrito build his own nest with blankets, as we have mentioned in other blog posts, he will often sleep in someone elses’ nest. Today, I caught Burrito engaging a behavior we, at CSNW, call Phantom Nesting. This is a behavior both he and Foxie occasionally do, which involves clapping and running their clasped hands along the fence, the wall, and/or the floor. Interestingly, this is not a behavior that is seen in the wild, and is rarely seen at all. As far as we know, the behavior has only been observed in a few captive individuals, but definitely seems to be related to nesting.
*Editor’s Note (from Diana): we don’t know much about this behavior. We’d love to hear from others who work with chimpanzees both in captivity and in the wild to find out if you’ve observed nesting behavior in the absence of “normal” nesting material and/or if you’ve seen the same clapping and arm movements described above and shown in the video below.