Each day we give out at least 60 blankets for these chimpanzees to use as nesting material. It’s not uncommon for some of the chimps to use over 20 of these blankets and sometimes even 30 for a single nest (Negra)! However, nests are not limited to just blankets. Often times paper, bamboo and other plant material brought in from Young’s Hill, straw, a variety of clothing, stuffed animals and even some of the fire hoses in the various enclosures will be incorporated into these nests as well.
In the wild, individual chimpanzees construct a nest each evening to sleep in. Nests can also be made during the day as a place to rest. Youngsters that are not yet weaned will share a nest with their mother, from whom they learn to build their own nests. Most often, nests are made in trees by bending and lacing together branches from one or more trees. Leaves are then used to line the nest, perhaps to add comfort, provide insulation in cooler temperatures and protect from insects.
In the following photos Katelyn took yesterday, Jody demonstrated that a comfortable nest can be made with fresh straw to get the same effect as a blanket nest here at the sanctuary. Of course, the key to any nest is the testing phase, which Jody seems to have perfected in the last photo.