If you saw our Instagram post yesterday, you saw some of this video. Here’s the longer version. This should definitely put a smile on your face!
One thing that’s quite clear about the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees is that they are each unique individuals with different tastes, activity levels, and habits.
Though for most of their lives they didn’t have these things, it’s hard to fathom Foxie without her troll and Dora dolls, Jamie without her boots, and Negra without her blankets, which she puts over her head and shoulders – something she’s done from her first day in sanctuary.
Today I tried (fairly unsuccessfully) to get a photo of Negra as she lay on the heated catwalk with a Halloween blanket wrapped around her. Here’s the best photo I got:
As I was watching her, she got up suddenly. Curious about the suddenness of her motion, I followed her. She traveled down from the catwalk, across the playroom, and into the front rooms, then went out into the greenhouse.
She was clearly on a mission, and was still moving quickly as she climbed up to the top of the platform in the greenhouse.
And this was the result of her mission:
Apparently she knew of another blanket with her name on it.
Because she seemed to be in a black and white mood today, here is a black and white photo of Negra after she got the blanket just how she wanted it:
Long live Queen Negra. We hope she has many more years and many more blankets in her future.
This post may reflect what I would like to be doing on this cold and damp day…
In any case, below are some photos – some oldish and some newish – of the chimpanzees getting snuggly with blankets. We give out at least 60 blankets a day. Sixty is a somewhat arbitrary number, but it’s based on the amount that we can successfully get washed in a normal day with our current washer. We (and the chimps) like fleece blankets, because they are very comfy and the wash and dry fast and easy.
As you probably know, Negra is never far from a blanket, and she often has one draped over her head and/or shoulders:
The photo above is on the holiday card available for purchase in our Zazzle merchandise store!
Missy sometimes “imitates” Negra’s blanket style, even nesting in Negra’s usual spots:
Always the athlete/acrobat, however, Missy incorporates interesting moves when she is nesting. For the full nesting sequence the photo below was taken from, see this post:
Jamie also occasionally sports a blanket over her head when nesting:
though she often chooses a sheet instead of a blanket for the job:
Jody is known for her nest making (she also likes straw nests – see this video from 2009 as an example):
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jody with a blanket over her head, but she still looks darn cozy when she’s curled up in her blanket nest:
Annie is also a nest builder, and can frequently be found gathering nesting material and moving it to another area:
Once she’s made her nest to her liking, she always strikes me as very satisfied:
Burrito and Foxie are not much into building nests. Though nesting has a strong instinctual component, it seems there is a period of learning involved. Both Burrito and Foxie do mostly what we call “phantom nesting.” Once in a while, Foxie will actively nest with blankets:
but more often than not, she has a more passive relationship with all of the blankets we give out:
Burrito is also more on the passive side of the spectrum when it comes to nesting, though he does like to snuggle up, particularly when someone else has done the work of making the nest:
Let us not forget, blankets are not just for nesting, but can also be great props when playing too:
I hope this inspires you to get snuggled up in your own nest tonight, or maybe play a game of ghost with a friend?
A few days ago we discovered the remains of a slumber party in the loft of the playroom (see photo below):
While it’s great to get photos of the chimpanzees doing things, it’s also fun to come across the evidence of their activities when we safely enter the area where they were.
The slumber party remains inspired me to take a look for some other nest photos, and below are a few favorites. But first a photo of Jody from a few weeks ago creating yet another nest masterpiece. I love the way Jody rolls the blankets to make a tight nest:
Here’s another photo of some sort of slumber party action:
This nest was found in Negra’s winter spot in the loft, so it might be hers, though it looks a bit neat for her style, so I’m going to guess it was a Missy construction. I like the unusually high sides:
What is happening here? Another multi-nest, or the start of a single enormous bed?
I’m a fan of hay and straw incorporated into nests, like this day-nest found on top of the platform in the greenhouse:
and then there’s the nests that have toys and other favorite things included:
This one’s from just the other day. If you’re familiar with the chimps, I give you only one guess as to who made this bed:
The enrichment at the sanctuary changes daily, and we try to come up with different things to entertain the chimpanzees. As I was picking up trolls that had clearly been bitten into (some were ripped almost in half!) I was thinking that there must have been some sort of troll forage. Jackie confirmed that they did indeed have frozen watermelon in troll dolls as a forage the day before. I started wondering what the average person must think when they hear that caregivers fill troll dolls with frozen watermelon as a fun project. It must sound so strange! But the chimpanzees really love stuff like that, and we try to take advantage of the kind of enrichment we have (and we have TONS of trolls since they are a Foxie favorite) and make it even more enriching.
Today we set up a blanket fort—we tied blankets together and made a really low ceiling for the chimps to walk under. It was sort of like the day we draped some blankets over the barrels, but this was bigger and more spread out. And it was enriching for the chimps, so I think we succeeded in our goal!
The blanket fort lasted a pretty long time, however I just saw Jody taking it down in order to nest with the blankets. She seemed pretty content with all the blankets she managed to collect since they were tied together.