Another garter snake saga, in which everyone learns a very important lesson: Foxie will take care of it, but you would do well to give her a wide berth.
The intensity of a snake alarm call is usually proportional to the snake’s size and proximity to the chimps. Basic alarm calls mean a snake has been spotted. Screams mean it is an imminent threat. But you have to recalibrate your understanding of snake calls when Annie is involved because to her, every snake is an imminent threat.
Even if it is a tiny garter snake, taking a nap on a grape vine well outside of the chimps’ greenhouse enclosure.
Everyone has a role to play when a snake is discovered on the hill. Watch this video to see how the gang dealt with today’s intruder.
Annie as THE SPOTTER
Jamie and Foxie as THE HUNTERS
Burrito and Missy as EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Jody as JUST OUT FOR A SNACK
Negra as SLEPT THROUGH THE WHOLE THING
and The Snake as THE SNAKE THAT GOT AWAY
As you may have read on the blog, the chimps recently encountered a snake in one of the bamboo groves. The snake was clearly still on their minds on they ventured out onto the hill this morning.
They had all night to think about how scary it was and to dwell on the fact that it had eluded capture. It could still be out there.
Jamie immediately led a patrol to the area where the snake was last seen.
Foxie, Missy, Annie, Burrito, and Jody all followed but began to peel off one by one as the approached the bamboo grove.
It would be up to Jamie. Alone but undeterred, she climbed onto a structure to scan the grass for any sign of the intruder.
She moved from one vantage point to the next without setting foot on the ground below.
She watched patiently from the safety of her fire hose perch.
She searched for any sign of movement in the grass.
For all she knew, it could be right underneath her.
At last, she gave the all clear. But that didn’t mean that she was going to push her luck. There are plenty of other places to hang out besides that particular bamboo grove.
Which may very well still be hiding a snake.
The chimps follow one simple rule: ALL SNAKES, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, POSE AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT AND MUST BE REMOVED BY ANY AND ALL MEANS AVAILABLE. Sometimes this means enlisting the help of their caregivers.
(In case you are wondering, the sanctuary is surrounded by 1,500 feet of rattlesnake barrier, but smaller, less harmful snakes live within the chimps’ two-acre enclosure and occasionally get into the indoor enclosures).
In this video, you can see and hear Annie alarm calling, while she and Burrito stay safely out of harm’s way. Jody, Foxie, and Jamie mustered the courage to force the snake out from its hiding spot and hand it over to the proper authorities, who in this case was Co-Director Diana.
Anna and volunteer Becca got some great footage of the chimps going on the offensive against a snake yesterday. Don’t mess with Foxie!
It was almost a year without Christmas.
OK, that’s not true – but Christmas was nearly delayed by a few days. The Cascade Mountains here in Washington received more snow in the last week than in all of last winter. Interstate 90, the only direct route between the sanctuary and Seattle, was closed for days due to avalanches in the mountain pass, and many of our volunteers were stuck on the other side. Thankfully, the highway was reopened last night and volunteer Patti was able to make it over this morning with the chimps’ Christmas dinner.
I don’t know if that qualifies as a Christmas miracle, but the support we’ve been receiving over the last month has certainly been miraculous. Packages have been arriving for weeks from generous donors, some long time supporters of the Cle Elum Seven and some who just discovered the sanctuary through stories about Foxie and her dolls in the UK, Germany, and Australia. You can guess what our newest supporters sent for Foxie! And our dedicated volunteers have been braving some treacherous conditions on the pass to reach the sanctuary. We are so grateful to everyone that helped make this a special holiday season for the chimps.
This Christmas was filled with great food, lots of boots and dolls, and a few surprises as well. Check out the video to see for yourself!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.