People are often curious what foods the chimps like. The Cle Elum Seven as a group are not very picky – not nearly as picky as other chimpanzees I’ve known. The bulk of the food we provide for the chimps is raw (or sometimes baked or otherwise cooked) fresh produce, and almost everyone eats almost everything we serve. There are a couple of exceptions, of course.
Jamie, for example, eats almost everything, but really does not appreciate the skin of carrots, so we peel hers for her. She also will often turn up her nose if there’s raw spinach in the chimps’ morning smoothie, though I discovered the other day that cooked spinach (frozen and then thawed and blended up with some fruit and almond milk) is better than okay in her opinion. Foxie is probably the pickiest, and declines several different vegetables, preferring fruit. Surprisingly, she loves smoothie with either raw or cooked spinach, even though it’s doubtful she would eat spinach on its own.
Strangely (or maybe not so strange for those who agree with their tastes), as a group they don’t seem to care much for zucchini or summer squash, but they love pumpkin and they like spaghetti squash, so we’re always asking each other – do you know if they will eat this squash? This is what happened tonight when Elizabeth and volunteer Tania were getting dinner together. Elizabeth held up a butternut squash and asked if I knew if the chimps liked that variety. I really wasn’t 100% positive, but Negra gave us the answer with her food squeaks:
It turns out they all loved it. Missy was probably the most excited, but was moving far too fast to get photos. We’ve learned it is always best to give things a try, even if there’s a chance that one of the chimps might not like one of the foods we serve. Sometimes tastes change, and, because we provide as large a variety of produce as possible and always have three or more choices in a given meal, there’s always something for everyone.