Chimpanzee smiles are one of the greatest things to see. Granted let’s not confuse a true chimpanzee smile with a fear grimace. What most humans recall when they think of a chimpanzee smile are those usually found on cards or advertisements. Usually a juvenile chimpanzee dressed up in some costume, and full teeth showing with the edges of their mouth going from ear-to-ear. For those of us who work with or study chimpanzees, fully showing the upper and bottom rows of their teeth is the indication they are fear grimacing. Chimpanzees use the grimacing to show that something is causing them anxiousness or fear, or to show off their impressive canine teeth to intimidate another.
A true chimpanzee smile, one used for play and enjoyment, only the bottom teeth are usually exposed. I say usually because there are occasions where something may be super exciting or really funny is too hard to contain. In these circumstances, other chimpanzee behaviors are looked for such as laughter, breathy pants, etc. But once we, as caregivers, confirm they are indeed chimpanzee smiles, and if directed toward us, it makes the day so much brighter.
Here are a few I was able to capture of Mave. Both the lead up and the actual smiles.
First was last week as I entered the Willy B, Honey B, and Mave’s side of the building. She really wanted to play an interaction called “shoe tickle.” As J.B. described in his blog a few weeks back, “shoe tickle” is when the chimpanzees fully extend their fingers through the mesh and can only touch the bottoms of our shoes with just the tips of their fingertips. This is to avoid them grabbing us in some way.
Then there is this sequence from Sunday of her in serious play mode.
Yesterday I was able to catch Honey B’s smile during a play session as well!
(Note the coloration of Honey B’s eyelids! It’s one of the many, many, many things I love about her that makes her unique!)
I tried to round this off by getting some photos of Willy B’s smile and play face. However, as some of you know, he is really difficult to get photos of. Either he’s too close for the cameras we have on hand, or he stops doing what he’s doing if a phone is brought out. Though Willy B is serious about 85% of the day, the other 15% he can really be a goofball. Though most of the time he doesn’t showcase a smile or play face, once in a while he’ll let one slip and it’s amazing!
I tried to supplement it with someone who almost always has a smile on his face and can be heard throughout the sanctuary laughing nearly 95% of the day.
Though Burrito spends nearly the entire day laughing and playing, it actually can be difficult to get photos of his smile. But this is what I could get.
Hopefully these smiles brightened up your day as they do ours!
When you’re smilin’, keep on smilin’ and the world smiles with you.”
Lynn Gold says
Thank you for the smiles!Today is my 67th birthday& i am laid up with a swollen& painful knee.Smiles from all my favorite primates are the best medicine!!!How beautiful are the chimps.thx again.
Linda C says
Aw, happy birthday, Lynn!
You guys are duch big supporters, I think they need to go and round up smiles from the other 7 for you!
Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
Linda C says
*such* big supporters
Happy Birthday! Sorry about your knee.
Chad de Bree says
Happy Birthday, Lynn! I’m so glad this blog was appropriate to help brighten up your day and hope you feel better soon!
I am smiling right back at ya! Yes, smiles from these guys are very contagious. Especially Mave! What a happy expressive face she has. Honey B is such a hambone. And I dare anyone to look at Burrito and not smile and feel lighthearted. Good work catching Mr. B without something in his mouth so we can see that goofy laughing face of his.
Linda C says
I know Mave is a sweetheart, but the tilt makes that last play photo look devious….
And Honey B’s long face at that angle reminds me of the ape in…..was it Indonesia? who took a selfie.
I always figure, when I see them, that a Jamie smile is worth a lot, because I have the impression that they’re harder to come by/she makes you work for them!
Pat Froelich says
This was quite delightful. Loved the smiles and almost smiles.???
I love their wonderful faces. Thanks for the great photos.
I trust that the Extra-Tuff boots (of which Jamie has taken a special interest) and other caregiver footwear can withstand the shoe-tickling maneuvers of Mave and Honey B. What beautiful playfaces they sport!
So wonderful and heartwarming to se this! Thank you! ??
Oh what a lovely start of the day this blog is ( it’s morningtime her in Europe ).
I just LOVE Mave and her sweet smile; she beems goodness and wisdom in that last picture and she looks so charming and kind.
I wouldn’t mind getting my feet tickled by her at all….
Mave is so beautiful….even more so when she smiles. I see the laughter and mischief always in Burrito’s sparkling eyes. Thank you once again for such wonderful photos….I’m another birthday girl today, so this was my birthday treat….best ever.
That first photo of Honey B looks like she’s taking a selfie lol, which is absolutely delightful. Award-winning photography, you guys do such a good job of capturing the spirit of the chimps you care for.
DIANE DePoe says
Thank you for all the smiles! Big toothy grin to all of you! Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Arlene and Michael says
You have to smile when you see these fabulous faces. Thank you to all of you there for giving the Chimps so much to smile and be happy about.