The chimps are constantly snacking on grass this time of year. Despite having access to two acres of the stuff, the best grass seems to grow just outside the greenhouse, which means that the humans have to do all the work and the chimps don’t have to get up and walk anywhere.
Convenient, isn’t it?
Missy requested a couple of bunches this afternoon and proceeded to make a nest on the greenhouse platform. This is quite common – when the chimps receive something they know they will enjoy, like when Jamie gets a new book or pair of boots, they often choose to make a nest before settling down with their new treat.
Sometimes the chimps shove handfuls of grass into their mouths all at once, while other times they take a more delicate approach, carefully separating each blade from the stem and eating them one by one.
Using their lips and tongue, they fold the blade up like an accordion and swallow it with minimal chewing.
As we’ve mentioned before on this blog, this is very similar to the way some chimps in the wild ingest certain plants for medicinal purposes.
We do routine checks for parasites so it’s unlikely that they are self-medicating the way wild chimps do. But who knows? Maybe its preventive medicine. Or maybe it’s just a snack. Whatever the reason, the prescription is always the same: More of that grass, please.