Chimps have amazing lips. They’re called “prehensile” which means they actually can grab things with their lips. (That word might be familiar… you may have heard of some monkey species with prehensile tails, and they can grab things and hang from things with their tail).
Because of this super awesome trait, chimps use their lips for everything. Wouldn’t you? They turn pages of magazines with their lips, open packages, and Foxie even “vacuums” the floor with her lips when collecting a sunflower seed forage after playroom cleaning.
Their teeth are also very strong, and can bite things open like whole nut shells. Can you imagine breaking open a brazil nut with your teeth? It’s really impressive, but yet another reason they like to use their mouths to manipulate things.
Often times the chimps carry things in their mouths, such as toys, blankets, and of course food. I found these photos taken in the last couple weeks that demonstrate the variety of things we see the mouths of the chimps.
Foxie carrying one of her troll dolls in her mouth:
Jamie using her lips to tear some streamers down from Foxie’s recent birthday party:
Burrito especially has a tendency to manipulate things in his mouth. Here was his toy of choice a few days ago:
And of course, food is the most common thing the chimps manipulate with their mouths. Here’s Missy stripping some celery like it’s string cheese: