Last night, like so many other summer evenings, Jamie and friends decided to keep the day going past dinner time, when staff might ordinarily close up and say good night. This is a pretty common practice for Jamie during the summer months, to want to keep the door open to Young’s Hill for more perimeter walks in cooler weather (and who can blame her?!). The chimps have access to the rest of their enclosure, including the open air green house, all night, but before staff can finish for the day, we need to close off Young’s Hill and make sure everyone is safe and secure at the sanctuary.
Yesterday Jamie (who was working on enrichment food puzzles in the playroom), was assisted by Foxie, who ran to block the doorway when we went to close the door to the hill. As a sanctuary, the chimps ultimately get to make the decisions on where they want to be at any given time, so we humans just needed to wait and see where the evening would take us. With the decision made on keeping the door open, Jamie and I set out for our first perimeter patrol of the evening (with me on the other side of the fence of course). As we walked our final leg of Young’s Hill together, Annie let us know with raucous alarm calls, that a snake had been spotted on the hill. She was so loud and intent that her alarm calls echoed off the neighboring hillside and amped her up even more!
Jamie and Foxie were first on the scene to look for the snake. Jamie searched through the grass and must have seen it, because she screamed and needed a lot of reassurance from the other chimps. She went from browsing through the grass, to climbing the structures and avoiding touching the ground so she could keep an eye out for it.
The snake seemed to change Jamie’s opinion of spending a lot more time outside, because she soon decided she’d rather fish out peanut butter from enrichment tubes than keep up the search. Never fear, the hunt resumed today as she has returned to the area several more times to look for the offending creature. For now, the coast seems to be clear!