The staff have a lot do to each morning before they are ready to serve the chimps their breakfast. What’s a chimp to do in the meantime?
Missy and Annie covered nearly every inch of Young’s Hill today during a spirited game of chase.
After being chased across the field, Annie took to the climbing structure, and Missy followed.
Another dash across the field.
And then another climbing structure.
Annie tried to get away to the shaky bridge but Missy got her by the foot.
But then it all ended in classic Missy style as she crashed end-over-end onto the bridge…with a smile.
A couple weeks ago, Debbie posted about the difference between chimpanzee fear grimaces and chimpanzee smiles. This afternoon, Missy and Annie decided to demonstrate the many things that might elicit a smile, otherwise known as a play face.
For example, you might smile if your friend leaped out of the grass and tried to wrestle you to the ground.
Or, you might smile if you were the one doing the leaping.
You might smile if your friend was tickling your toes.
And you might smile if you tickled her right back.
You might smile if your friend chased you across a fire hose bridge.
You might also smile if you were the one doing the chasing. Especially if you went too fast…
…hung upside down…
…and kept right on chasing.
You might even walk away smiling after a move like that.
Missy and Annie have been playing on the hill a lot lately, but this morning Missy found a new partner to play with. She always looks so surprised and overjoyed to be playing with someone else.
The chimps had only eaten part of their breakfast at this point, and Jody was determined to make it back to the greenhouse to get her chow bags, so she continued to play with Missy as she walked backwards down the hill.
As they approached the greenhouse, Jody spun Missy around and then proceeded to push her backwards like a shopping cart through the door and into the greenhouse. Missy thought that was hilarious.
This has been a long, snowy couple of months. But at last, the sun is out and the snow is gone…at least for now. The chimps have been celebrating this week by running, spinning, leaping, and climbing all over Young’s Hill.
OK, not everyone ran. Jody walked. But it was a brisk walk.
Foxie brought along a troll. Dora had to wait inside.
Burrito was all over the place, which is still so exciting to see. He soaked in some sun in Negra’s Cabin.
And climbed from platform to platform.
Negra even spent some time outside in the sun this morning but you’ll have to take my word for it. We don’t often get photos of Negra when she’s out because she doesn’t seem to tolerate the paparazzi the way the others do.
Missy and Annie chased each other over every inch of the hill, smiling the entire time.
I don’t know why Jamie doesn’t engage in this kind of rambunctious play outside. For whatever reason, she prefers to have the staff and volunteers chase her around the hill when she wants to blow off some steam. Volunteer Seana was happy to oblige, but she ended up with more a workout than she was expecting. Jamie first chased her clockwise around the 2-acre enclosure.
Then when they got back to the bottom, Jamie turned around and ran the whole thing in reverse. This pattern continued until Seana and Jamie were exhausted.
Burrito, Foxie, and a whole lot of tickling…
Every once and a while, Negra musters enough energy to play with us and the other chimpanzees. This morning, she was giving kisses, tickling, and encouraging us to dance. And the other day, I caught her playing with Missy. I want to give Missy the benefit of the doubt, but I’m pretty sure she was tickling Negra just to get her blankets.
Either way, it’s nice to see Negra smiling.