These chimps were having so much fun this afternoon! Foxie was spinning, throwing dolls, and running around with Caregiver Katelyn. Missy was wanting to be tickled by caregivers and ripping up boots. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really get any photos. Tomorrow there will be a video of Missy, but rest a sure I have lots of photos to share!
One of my favorite stories about Jody involves a baby mouse and a top hat. A blue velvet top hat, to be precise. And on a side note, who doesn’t need a blue velvet top hat and why don’t I have one?! But I digress.
A couple years ago, when Jody began exhibiting more of her seemingly natural “den mother” inclinations, I found her lying on her stomach in the greenhouse gently grooming the tiniest of baby mice with her lips. My heart sunk. But again and again, Jody would set the mouse down gently and watch them with seeming concern and curiosity, only to pick them up and touch them with her lips again when they squeaked.
As you may have seen us mention on the blog before, chimpanzees are territorial beings by nature and extremely intolerant toward any other animals being in their home space. Any time any animal is in the chimps’ enclosure we do our best when possible to invite the chimps into another area (i.e., attempt to bribe them with a small treat like gum, for example) in the hopes of being able to close off the area the animal is in and safely enter on a rescue mission. It should also be noted that once something has caught the attention chimps, they are not typically ones to forget about it and walk away. Sadly, I knew this baby mouse was probably not going to make it on their own, but I still wanted to spare it further stress. So we offered the chimps a treat in the front rooms and I was happy to see everyone leave the greenhouse and rush inside. But what did Jody do? Well, she scooped that baby mouse up, grabbed a nearby blue velvet top hat, gently placed the baby inside and carried hat and all into the front rooms to collect her treat.
Once in the front rooms, Jody set the hat on the ground next to her and whenever one of the other chimps would push it aside, she calmly reached out and pulled it back next to her. I waited for Jody to decide that mouse had to go. But she never did. She just sat quietly and continued to guard her mouse and her hat. While the chimps enjoyed their treats, and we watched our rescue plans growing dimmer by the minute, dear, sweet, Annie approached Jody, curious to see what all this top hat business was about. When she looked inside the hat, I suppose she didn’t expect to see a mouse and that woman screamed at the top of her lungs (thank goodness it wasn’t a snake) and tossed the hat and poor mouse across the room in a fright. And Jody silently went to collect them.
I wish I could say that the end went well for that precious wee mouse. And I wish I could say what Jody had been thinking. We were able to finally retrieve the mouse and relocate him or her to a calmer final resting place in the garden. For a story not ending as I would have liked, it remains dear to my heart for some reason. Intriguing, from a behavioral perspective. But mostly, endearing. And somehow, quintessentially Jody.
I captured beautiful Jody enjoying a minute of solitude in the shaded doorway to the greenhouse, inspecting this blue-haired, bunny slipper clad troll doll in much the same way she did that sweet baby mouse. It made me think of that story again. And that blue velvet top hat I still need.
We have talked about this before, but Missy is a great friend to all. She understands that etiquette of play with each of her friends. Every game is different for the chimp. Missy can get anyone to play with her, even the most unlikely playmates aka Negra and Jody. Don’t get me wrong those chimps can play, we have all seen it! I would say it is even pretty normal to see Negra playing with Missy. However, it is fairly uncommon to see Missy and Jody playing. That is why today you are all in for a treat! J.B. got some great shots of Jody really letting go and having fun with Missy. Jody can be described from time to time as a serious chimp or the den mother and those are all true. Still, even serious humans or non-humans have to cut loose at some point.
It was a hot one today! I thought I would share an extra photo of Burrito shoveling watermelon shaved ice in his mouth today because, well, why not?!
Food peering can be defined as one chimpanzee staring closely at the other chimpanzee’s face and/or directly at their food. (Also known as “if I stare long enough, maybe that person will share.”) Sometimes this behavior works and a chimp will share, depending on the value of the item and who the chimp is. However, the owner will often keep on eating and decline to share despite having another chimp peering at their the face. This behavior might seem uncomfortable and probably because it would be for us humans. But these guys do not seem to mind most of the time!
Also bonus photos!
Today was sponsored by Shauna and Jake Holliday for their beloved dog, Taylor:
“In loving memory of our English Bulldog Taylor who we recently lost. She would have been 10 on this day. We showered this tender hearted girl with love and care for her entire life and we would like to share with the chimpanzees on her special day.”
Shauna and Jake, thank you so much for allowing the chimpanzees to share in such a special day for you. We are so very sorry for the loss of your beloved friend and family member. We are sending all the good thoughts to you today, hoping that Taylor’s legacy brings you comfort and joy, as you all have helped bring the chimpanzees.
Summertime mornings on Young’s Hill:
Foxie and Strawberry Shortcake…
…joined by Burrito
Jody patrolling the hill…
Missy, being her cool self…
…until bestie, Annie, shows up for a game of wrestle and chase on the high beam…
In other news, the chimps have bellies full of berries today (see Anna’s post from yesterday). But that’s what summertime is about, right? Jamie tossed me a bowl today and politely “requested” that I immediately fill it up with raspberries and currants for everyone. Well, for her really. I just gave her her own bowl and made sure the others had some as well. And we humans may have snuck a few ourselves, but do not tell the boss lady.
And thanks to the generosity of one of our lovely supporters (thank you!!), I received a new pair of muck boots today and naturally, they did not for one second go unnoticed by Jamie. She was smitten by the brand-new-shininess of them and gave a head nod of approval at the green kelp design on the lining. Though they’re a fantastic Salmon Sisters design for XTRATUF, Jamie and I both agreed they should henceforth be referred to as the Chimp Sisters boots. Well, probably if you asked Jamie she would just say HER boots. 😉